The Arbikie distillery has been working very hard since I first wrote about them in 2016.
The Stirling family run the Arbikie Highland Estate on the Angus coast, growing everything they need to make their spirits on their own land.
In a world where sustainability and carbon footprints are becoming essential considerations when choosing products, Arbikie produce their own ingredients on their doorstep. There’s no shipping grains from distant fields in diesel lorries on crowded motorways here. It’s literally field to bottle stuff.
The very definition of using local produce, Arbikie could use this as their unique selling point and probably do quite well. But that’s not their style. They’ve been experimenting and developing new flavours in their spirit range since day one. (I vividly remember the night we first tried the Smoky Chilli Vodka.) It therefore seems like the perfect time to revisit Arbikie and discover what they have been up to.
Arbikie’s Haar Vodka is a wheat vodka. (They also make Tattie Bogle Vodka – a potato based spirit.) They state that:
This evocative Vodka is creamy with hints of vanilla, spice and caramel. Add to this the infused flavour of the place from where it originated, and we’ve created a truly unique vodka experience.
Made from the wheat on the Arbikie estate and named after the sea mist, this is the very taste of the land. It’s a softer wheat (Zulu wheat, if you’re interested) which has resulted in a creamy taste with a vanilla edge. A smooth 43%. Drink it with something simple so you get to taste all the wonderful flavours.
This is right up my proverbial alley. Spices and honey in an earthy, smooth gin. It oozes quality. Imagine curled up in the corner of a warm living room during the a cold Autumn evening. It has a warmth to it that you’d normally associated with a malt whisky. Simply delicious.
As with all their drinks, Arbikie has a page with cocktail recipe suggestions for their range. I’ll have an AK’s and Ginger please.
Nàdar Gin & Vodka
The Nàdar (nature in Gaelic) selection has a very simple pledge. It’s climate positive. But how?
Did you know that you make make spirits out of the humble garden pea? Or that peas don’t need nitrogen fertiliser which avoids more carbon dioxide emissions? The process used by Arbikie results in improved soil quality as well. It’s really a head-scratcher as to why this process hasn’t been used before now.
Nàdar Gin has now been followed by Nàdar Vodka, both of which are testament to Arbikie Head Distiller Kirsty Black‘s skills.
The Nàdar Gin has a subtle citrus tang and fruity tones. At 43%, it’s only downside is that it’s a little too easy to drink!
Arbikie Nàdar Vodka is an equally beautiful spirit. It has a surprisingly floral aroma, and a smooth rounded taste. It’s an extremely pleasant experience.
Arbikie Strawberry Vodka
This is extraordinary for a few different reasons. Chemical-free locally grown strawberries are used. Arbikie tells us that strawberry tastes are not the same every year so, rather like grapes, there’s a different in taste depending on what it was made. Also, it’s a potent 50% ABV and a 500ml bottle. Finally, it’s a limited edition special. All of this combines to make something quite exceptional.
This is based on the estate’s wheat, not potato, vodka, meaning that it inherits that smoothness and hint of caramal. That’s all dancing around the main aroma and taste, though, which is the huge strawberry blast which hits hard – not too hard. It’s incredible that the vodka manages to retain such a freshness of the fruit given the process it goes through.
Personally, I wouldn’t even add a mixer to this. You can make all sorts of cocktails with it, but I’d happily sip it with ice. This is luxury, and I’d like to appreciate every drop.
Arbikie has a special wee place in my heart. I’m always delighted when I go to a bar or restaurant and see their spirits available. It’s very easy to root for them given the quality of their drink and their admirable eco-philosophies. We could all do with a little more Arbikie.
This is a very special prize. We have one limited edition bottle of Arbikie Strawberry Vodka to give away to a lucky winner! Simply enter using the widget below. Closing date is December 11th 2021 at midnight. Terms and Conditions below. GOOD LUCK!