While none are yet as well-known as the famous Menorcan gin Xorriguer, there are a few gin producers on Mallorca that are really starting to make a name for themselves.
And from August, gin lovers have another one to look forward to from the Mallorca Distillery, which will add to the collection of Mallorcan gins a unique and high-quality offering. Already the design of the bottle is rather special and an indication of what is important to Byron and Amber throughout the development process. The mosaic pattern on the bottle is inspired by a traditional company from Campos that has been making handmade ceramics for more than 80 years.
For Byron and Amber, who are both from Newcastle, the main criteria for their first gin was that the ingredients were local and of the highest ecological standards. They both spent many years working on yachts and travelled all around the world. At each stop, they made notes on what they remembered most, a dinner or a drink, for example. “Every culture and place has its own unique characteristics and this is exactly what impressed us most. It was clear from the beginning that our gin should taste like the essence of Mallorca,” says Amber explaining her fascination for foreign places.
When their yacht stopped in Mallorca, they fell in love with the island, its diversity, the sea, the mountains and, of course, Palma, which for them has all the charm of a big international city despite its size. After they spent a few years in Edinburgh running a restaurant that specialised in Belgium beer (including cooking with it) they decided to come to Mallorca and fulfil their dream of opening their own distillery.
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While the journey wasn’t always smooth sailing, after sampling hundreds of gins and visiting several gin festivals, they took the bold step. Their experiences from the world of luxury catering, of being on board the yachts, taught them that every detail counts. This together with their passion for creating an outstanding and unique gin gave them the confidence to succeed.
Together with master distiller James Gibbons, they spent more than half a year working on ‘Palma Gin’ which, with citrus fruits, Mallorcan juniper, almond blossom, lavender and tomato stalks, is a tribute to the Mediterranean and Mallorca. “We collect the juniper and almond blossom that grows wild in specially authorised places in the forest. In the future we want to get all our ingredients from only one Mallorcan farmer with whom we are already working closely with,” says Byron. “In production we have, of course, already considered export,” continues Amber. “The image of the almond blossom is so closely associated with Mallorca and we wanted to incorporate this into the gin.”
The spirit of the gin is a high quality, organically cultivated wheat distillate imported from Sweden. With 46.6 %, ‘Palma Gin’ is slightly stronger than most and there’s clever reasoning behind this. If you drink a gin and tonic with ice on a hot Mallorcan day, the drink soon becomes diluted due to the ice, the alcohol content is reduced and, as a result, the aromas are no longer as intense. This, too, makes ‘Palma Gin’ a true Mallorcan summer experience.
After the gin, Amber and Byron have plans next year that include the production of a vodka with one or two Mallorcan aromas. They are already thinking of their next gin varieties. Their distillery is open to the public and, if you do visit, you should make the most of the opportunity to make your own gin. So, if you just happen to have finished your gin and tonic and now want to sample the refreshing aromas of Mallorca, why not plan a visit to the Mallorca Distillery!
Photos by Estefanía Durán