I can write about North Point Distillery. I actually first came across them for their Pilot Young Rum, which was featured in a Craft Rum Box some time back and Co-Founder and Commercial Manager Alex was an absolute superstar in telling me their entire story, no holes barred, for a feature in the magazine. This was back in March this year, and their progress since then has been nothing short of awe inspiring.
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Pilot Young Rum, just to touch on it, is a beautiful thing. A nod to the Scottish boat Pilots from the 1700s, who guided rum laden ships tired from the Americas, through the treacherous waters of the Pentland Firth to dock. It is said that on occasion pilots would disappear to the seas and return a rum merchant themselves. The liquid that North Point put together to embody the connection between the lands either side of the sea is is a real treasure. It’s a beautiful rum, distilled in Scotland and kissed by whisky cask. Light and sweet with a subtle smoke.
Not long after that, they released Skerra Bay Spiced Rum, a limited edition rum that they quickly adopted into their main family due to it’s popularity. This time, it was featured in the Spiced Rum Box and once again I got to have a nice long conversation about how they made it. It really stood out to me as a spiced rum that had been spiced through distillation rather than maceration. And it’s solid, at a rather generous 43%. Amongst the 22 spices, there are cocoa nibs and orange, giving the most delicate chocolate orange character. And, a little sweetness as there is some maceration of fairtrade vanilla. Because of the way it’s made, the rum has all the complexity of spice, with the clean mouthfeel and punchy weight of distilled rum. I’m seeing more distilleries doing this now, but North Point was the first on my radar.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today. I’m actually just catching up with the rebrand of their gin, Crosskirk Bay Gin. They have kindly [gifted] a bottle to me to share with you lovely folk. TI discovered the gin through our conversations about rum, and I’m very glad I did! Crosskirk Bay was presented as a slightly different product to the rums, a different family in a different bottle. However, it’s been faring well in competitions and like their spiced rum, it’s been brought into the family with a rebrand, and a new bottle.
Crosskirk Bay is a gorgeous gin and one that is very in keeping of a style I find often in Scottish Rums, with hints of herbal, savoury and coastal notes. It’s a London Dry, and made with Italian Juniper. Locally foraged Scots Pine adds to the dryness, but then there is the lift of citrus with fresh grapefruit and lemon peel. This is smoothed over by delicious lemon verbena, a bit of a buzz botanical in the gin world in the last couple of years. There is also a lovely spiced element that comes from pink peppercorn, Szechuan peppercorn, cassia, cinnamon and cardamom. The herbal element comes from Icelandic moss, with coastal sea buckthorn and Caithness rowan berry to give a touch of fruit. I’m hoping that this list of botanicals can convey some of the complexity experienced when drinking it.
It’s a wonderfully complex gin, which is gloriously fresh and it deserves a serve to match. I tend to drink mine with sparkling water and a slice of lemon but hey, you do you! It’s clearly going to work well with tonics. There’s flavourful and has a good bit of welly behind it, so it works brilliantly with a little dilution. The rebrand is evocative of the character in side the bottle, because the design really captures the local area, with all those fresh greens and blues, and the extremely tactile bottle finish. I can smell the salt of the sea and here the swash of the waves. There is certainly a synergy in all the elements.
The new packaging is in keeping with the rums, a gorgeous bespoke bottle that pays homage to the Scottish Northern Coast and the historic settlement of Crosskirk in West Caithness. North Point are big on sustainability, winning in the Gin Guide Environmental and Sustainability category in the Gin Guide Awards last year. The design is spray painted on the bottle with organic ink and the bottles are made by Estal glass who have a solid reputation for their wild glass collections which is 100% recycled.
If you’d like to find out more about North Point, their gins and rums and their sustainability efforts then do check out their website. You can also buy the gin there, or through Amazon. I’ve been following them from their early days and am expecting big things from them in the coming years.