An Aberdeenshire husband and wife have won two awards in a world-renowned wine and spirit competition, for their premium gin inspired by Aberdeenshire’s rich history and links to the tea trade.
The Teasmith Gin, created by Nick and Emma Smalley from Udny Green, has been awarded a bronze medal in the ‘Gin contemporary styles’ category and a silver medal in the ‘Gin and Tonic’ category at this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
The awards win comes as the couple plan to increase production levels of the artisan gin, which is distilled in Perthshire’s Strathearn distillery, and expand their distribution and key stockists across the UK.
The Teasmith Gin has also picked up five prizes from the Scottish Design Awards 2017, Scottish Creative Awards 2017 and Graphis 2018 competitions for its design and branding which has been carefully developed by local, internationally acclaimed design studio, FortyTwo Studio.
Following the initial launch of The Teasmith in December 2016, with the first batch of 570 bottles selling out in under a week, co-founder Emma now works fulltime on the product.
The drink uses botanicals intrinsically associated with Aberdeenshire and was Scotland’s first premium gin distilled with hand-picked tea.
Emma Smalley said: “It’s a huge honour for us to win these awards and have this kind of recognition so soon after the launch. There has been a real renaissance in the gin making community, so it’s great to have our product highlighted in such a prestigious competition.
“It’s been a labour of love developing The Teasmith Gin, we spent more than a year learning the art of distilling and went through a meticulous process to select the best ingredients to allow us to perfect our blend, so we’re extremely proud to receive these accolades.”
The couple wanted to create a product which combined their love for the spirit with the heritage of the North-east and through research discovered the nearby Newburgh estuary was once a thriving trading port, with tea being one of its biggest imports.
After identifying their trademark ingredient, Nick and Emma worked with tea consultant Beverly-Claire Wainwright to source a highly unique tea from Sri Lanka.
The black loose leaf Ceylon tea is distilled by itself to capture its unique flavour and is blended with a classic gin recipe featuring juniper, coriander, citrus peels and other carefully selected botanicals which have been double-distilled in traditional copper alembic stills.
Nick added: “Creating a gin has been an aspiration of ours since we first made sloe gin miniatures as favours for our wedding guests 4 years ago, and it’s been a privilege to work together developing a product and brand that we both believe in and are proud to sell and enjoy ourselves.
“We’re had really strong feedback from our customers and stockists who are as equally passionate about gin as we are, so we’re confident that there’s an appetite for more Teasmith Gin products and we’re now working to develop different variations on the blend.”
Founded in 1969, the IWSC is considered the most prestigious competition of its kind in the world, with the awards among some of the highest honours in the industry.
The judging includes a blind tasting by expert panels, selected from over 400 fully experienced and qualified industry judges. Products which receive the top medals are then subject to technical analysis before results are released.