It seems that every new premium spirit requires a fancy story to sell a romance – and hopefully, more than just a couple of bottles.
But this sort of thing gets old real quick. Thankfully every now and then someone pops up with something a little more down to earth. Like, literally. Arbikie calls itself the first single-estate distillery and comes dangerously close to overselling the live-off-the-land hipsterism.
However, Arbikie can easily back up on their claims, even though they don’t have a strong lineage in the distilling business. They are in fact, a family-owned business who have strong roots in matters of the soil. Founded by three brothers from the Stirling family who have been farming for four generations and who have decided to venture into the business of distilling, the distillery is located on a 2,000-acre farm that is known as the Arbikie Highland Estate, residing in the Angus region of Scotland.
Arbilkie takes pride in what they call a ‘field-to-bottle’ approach, where they grow grain, harvest, distil, and bottle – all on site. As such, Arbikie is able to produce a wide variety of spirits, namely vodka, gin and even whisky, which should go on sale once they reach legal age or when they feel that it is ready to be sold as a whisky that best represents the Arbikie style. Arbikie also produces a number of uniquely-flavoured gins and vodkas, such as the all-natural Arbikie Smoky Chilli Vodka, made with chipotle chillis grown in Scotland’s first chilli farm, Chillilicious. The chipotle chillies are soaked in potato vodka until they attain that perfect marriage of spice and vodka sweetness.
As it is, they have an already-diverse range of products; apart from the aforementioned Smoky Chilli Vodka, there’s also Kirsty’s Gin, which is named after Kirsty Black, the master distiller at Arbikie, and features her personal selection of local botanicals. AK’s Gin, which is a tribute to Alexander Kirkwood Stirling, father to the founders, uses fresh honey and wheat harvested from Arbikie in combination with black pepper, mace and cardamom.
Arbikie has done well given its short time in the business. It was recently awarded the Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, and also picked up a win at the World Martini Championships in London with AK’s Gin. In the meantime, Kirsty’s Gin had won gold at the World Awards in San Francisco, while Arbikie Vodka was named ‘Best Vodka’ at the Paris Spirits Innovation Awards in 2015.
The proof, of course, is in the pudding, and the Arbikie’s range of spirits are remarkably clean and tasty – much like tasting a nice slab of butter. In today’s world where you can find plenty of fancy ingredients and botanicals, the simplicity of the Arbikie makes for a nice change and gives you the opportunity to taste the quality of the spirit, which is great as a sipper – yes, even the Smoky Chilli Vodka, if you’re adventurous enough, that is.
To give Arbikie a tryout, you might want to head down to The Brightside on Duxton Hill – which we heartily endorse – which is among the first outlets in Singapore to serve the Arbikie range. You can also find them at Artemis Grill, COMMAS, Smoke and Mirrors, and CÉ LA VI.