Own a piece of whisky history at Lindores Abbey

IT’S surely one of the prettiest distilleries in Scotland and now Lindores Abbey in North-east Fife is serving up an opportunity that whisky-lovers and collectors alike will be tickled to find in their Christmas stocking.

The Scottish Farmer:

Membership of the distillery’s 1494 Society includes a complimentary 70cl bottle – one of only 1494 from the first distillery bottling of Lindores Abbey Single Malt Whisky – as well as free entry for life to the distillery along with a 10% discount in the online shop and at the five-star VisitScotland visitor centre.

Lifetime membership also includes a bottle of the first limited edition bottling of Aqua Vitae, the spirit made with 100% Fife barley at Lindores from where the journey of single malt whisky first began in 1494. Members also benefit from priority access to all future numbered bottlings, a donation to the preservation of the abbey ruins, and a tree planted in their name in its orchards.

Helen McKenzie Smith, owner of Lindores Abbey with her husband, Drew, explained: “It really is a unique gift and with our first whisky launching on December 20, it’s something really special. Only members will get one of the first bottles, so it’s a perfect gift for the whisky aficionado.”

The Scottish Farmer:

Lindores Abbey’s back story will also appeal to history enthusiasts. The earliest written reference to Scotch whisky – or aqua vitae as it was known then – appeared in the Exchequer Roll in 1494 and names Lindores Abbey monk, Brother John Cor, who was commissioned by King James IV to turn 'eight bolls of malt' into aqua vitae.

It was founded in 1191 by David Earl, of Huntingdon, on land overlooking the River Tay given to him by his brother, King William I. It was visited by kings and queens, warriors and statesmen. William Wallace took refuge there with 300 of his men after their victory over the English.

Built on the site of the Lindores' dairy farm steading, Drew’s great-grandfather bought in 1913, the Lindores Abbey Distillery and Visitor Centre has been crafted from original Abbey stone. Helen and Drew opened the distillery in Newburgh to the public in 2017 after 20-plus years of planning and research.

Membership of the 1494 Society costs £500 – but be quick because they’re selling fast! Find out more at www.lindoresabbeydistillery.com

Savour the flavours of Perthshire

FOR a spirit with a genuine point of difference it’s well worth checking out Highland Boundary, in Perthshire, where some truly unique drinks are produced at Marian Bruce and Simon Montador’s on-farm distillery, near Alyth.

The farm sits on the hillside where the Scottish Highland Boundary crosses separating the Highlands and Lowlands – hence the name of the distillery which uses only wild Scottish botanicals, including birch, larch, elderflower, honeysuckle flowers, rosehips and berries, in its new generation of Scottish spirits inspired by Scandinavia.

The Scottish Farmer:

All the botanicals are picked by hand, said Marian, emphasising the seasonality and sustainability of the products. “We’re completely unique,” she pointed out. “We have a real point of difference and offer flavours of the wild – we don’t import any of our botanicals and pick them ourselves from within two miles of the distillery.”

The distillery was founded in 2016 with the first product – Birch and Elderflower Wild Scottish Spirit – launched in 2018. Also available is Larch and Honeysuckle Wild Scottish Spirit and Birch and Sloe Wild Scottish Liqueur. Highland Boundary’s eye-catching packaging features a wolf in a nod to its 'wild' credentials.

Order the full range, including gorgeous gift boxes that will make a perfect Christmas present, and find cocktail and serving ideas, online at www.highlandboundary.com

A cocktail recipe to try: Warm Berry Wonder

The Scottish Farmer:


• 50mls Birch and Sloe Wild Scottish Liqueur

• 50mls elderflower syrup

• 150mls cranberry juice

• Slice of apple for garnish

• Lemon wedge to sugar rim the glass

• Powdered sugar

Want something to heat you up and give you a warm glow? This gloriously red and berry-packed warm winter cocktail is just the ticket.

Add the liqueur, elderflower syrup and cranberry juice in to a saucepan and warm slowly trying to avoid boiling. Run the lemon wedge lightly around the rim of a serving glass and coat the rim with powdered sugar.

Once the ingredients in the pan have heated through for a few minutes, to allow flavours to develop, pour carefully in to the glass, add the apple slice as garnish and serve.

From Angus with love

TATTIES from Angus may well be on your plate on Christmas Day, but you’ll be washing down those roasties with a glass of Ogilvy Scottish Potato Vodka if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle under the tree.

The Scottish Farmer:

Produced at Hatton of Ogilvy, near Glamis Castle, in the heart of Angus, Scotland’s first potato vodka uses dependable Maris Pipers to create a smooth and creamy spirit that exudes character in much the same way as a single malt Scotch whisky. As Caroline Bruce-Jarron explained, it’s all about quality and provenance.

“We produce about 600 bottles per batch so it’s very much a vodka that’s created with care and attention to quality,” said Caroline, who founded the company with her husband, Graeme, a fourth-generation farmer.

He wanted to do something with the 'wonky spuds' that the supermarkets didn’t want and this led him to Heriot-Watt University, famous for its world-renowned International Centre for Brewing and Distilling.

The Scottish Farmer:

Experiments at the centre, in Edinburgh, confirmed that the farm’s spuds were suitable for making vodka and the wheels were set in motion with founding distiller Abhi Banik creating a recipe for a vodka that would give the Russians a run for their money.

Today, the vodka sells in farms shops, delis, independent bottle shops, and bars and restaurants as well in the distillery’s online shop. “We’re small-scale producers of a quality vodka product with great provenance and an interesting backstory,” added Caroline.

The company’s website refers to an 'authentic tale of craft and graft, spuds and science, small-scale quality and big ideas' – find out more about award-winning Ogilvy Scottish Potato Vodka, which costs £35 for a 70cl bottle, at www.ogilvyspirits.com