About a third of the way between Dundee and Aberdeen, on the east coast of Angus, the three brothers Stirling run the Arbikie Highland Estate.
Where the land meets the sea, an ancient barn is now used to turn the land into spirit. Arbikie grow all the ingredients on the estate. In 2014, they launched their Premium Arbikie Vodka made with the potatoes from their land.
More recently, they’ve expanded their output to include Arbikie Whisky, Chilli Vodka and two types of Gin.
Arbikie Highland Estate Potato Vodka
GQ magazine listed Arbikie’s Vodka (70cl, 43.0%) as one of the best in the world, and they were right. Forget about the harshness that you get with your big name vodkas. This experience is strictly smooth.
The only other time I’ve experienced vodka this smooth and creamy is Polish Bison Grass vodka. It’s impressive to note that Arbikie have matched this quality so soon after launch.
It’s almost unfair that a country which is the master of whisky shows equal skill in other spirits. This vodka is one that can be enjoyed with an ice cube or drop of water in the same way as it’s grain cousin. Premium indeed.
Arbikie Kirsty’s Gin
Named after Arbikie’s Master Distiller, Kirsty Black, Kirsty’s Gin is also made using the estate’s potatos. From then on, there’s a blend of Juniper, Kelp, Carline Thistle and Blaeberry to give the distinct flavour.
Like the vodka, it’s gluten-free and made entirely on site, making it Scotland’s first estate gin. A ‘super-premium’ gin, it matches the vodka for quality while carrying a slightly spicy and rounded flavour. If you add tonic & a slice of lemon you’ll enjoy it, but a drop of water instead will let you enjoy the subtle flavours a lot more.
Arbikie Highland Estate Smoky Chilli Vodka
Scotland’s first Chilli farm, Chillilicious, provides the chipotle that has it’s flavours infused into Arbikie’s Smoky Chilli Vodka (70cl, 43.0%).
Arbikie state that it “is envisaged that the vodka will be perfect in a Bloody Mary or for the more adventurous a Beetroot Bloody Mary”. That’s certainly a lot wiser than drinking it straight, like I did. Instantly, beads of sweat formed on my forehead and my mouth cursed at me. It’s not unbearably hot, but it would definitely be better enjoyed as part of a well crafted cocktail. I’d recommend it for a Moscow Mule with a massive kick or blended with ice, strawberries and rhubarb (seriously, try it).
For this relatively new distillery, Arbikie is making some serious claims about quality and subsequently managing to deliver on those promises.
You can order the above, and more, direct from Arbikie at their shop, (both vodkas are £38, gin £35) but a quick google shows it’s available from a wide variety of online spirit retailers.