Eden Mill First Bottling

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A bit of (old) news for you all; Eden Mill released their first official whisky a couple of months ago to much trumpeting and fanfare. The first ten bottles were auctioned through Whisky Auctioneer and bottle number one sold for a staggering £7,100. Seven grand for a three year old whisky. What the fuck is the world coming to? It’s difficult not to fixate on the price – the remaining bottles are available for a princely £500 a pop from the website.

However, we should move on. Eden Mill is Scotland’s first combined brewery and distillery, but the history of the site goes way back to 1810 and the establishment of the Seggie distillery by the Haig family. It produced whisky for 50 years until it was converted into a papermill – by this time the Haig’s were focussing primarily on grain production at Cameronbridge. Thus, the Guard Bridge Paper Mill was born which continued to trade until as recently as 2008 when the then-owners, Curtis Fine Papers, went into administration.

After lying empty for two years, the site was purchased by the University of St Andrews and in 2012 Fife businessman Paul Miller opened Eden Brewery. With beer production going well, he invested in a small still and began producing gin, as well as new make spirit, in 2014. Fast forward a little over three years and the name has changed to Eden Mill and that spirit has become whisky.

Commenting on the release of the First Bottling, Miller said: “The Limited Release offers whisky connoisseurs the chance to secure historic bottles containing the first drops of spirit distilled in St Andrews since the Seggie Distillery closed in 1860. The whisky is a marriage of spirit matured in American and French Virgin Oak quarter casks and an ex Pedro Ximénez sherry hogshead since 2014, and we’re hugely proud of it. The liquid has been captured in bespoke bottles designed in Italy and blown in Croatia, and oak boxes handcrafted and engraved in Scotland with each bottle and box individually numbered.”

A marriage of American virgin oak quarter casks, French virgin oak quarter casks and a PX sherry hoggy. Quite the recipe. Here goes…

Eden Mill
First Bottling
300 bottles
47% ABV
£500 here

Nose: Rather resinous to start with. Some pine sap, and balsa wood. Then mixed flowers, blood orange, lemon rind, white grapes and some other slightly tarty fruits. There’s a creaminess ot it too though – Victoria Sponge cake perhaps. Then a little sawdust. All quite virgin oak-driven on the nose.

Palate: Quite viscous, with cinder toffee and Werther’s Originals. Then some apple and pear skins add a touch of freshness. Oh, and there’s the PX influence! In come some richer fruits; cranberries, cherry cake, malt loaf, cinnamon and nutmeg and a drying nuttiness.

Finish: Dried fruit mix with some chocolate and a hint of prune juice.

Overall: Not at all what I was expecting, even though I wasn’t really sure what to expect! It’s full of flavour but the integration isn’t quite there, which shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as it’s only a smidgen over 3 years old. There’s a bit of immaturity there, and a lot of flavour is cask-driven. Having said that, there are no detectable off notes, just some young notes, which means I’m very interested to see how this spirit develops over time in ‘normal’ sized casks (barrels/hogsheads/butts etc) rather than quarter casks. It’s certainly got a lot of potential, but £500 for this juice is wild, even if it is their first whisky, and even if it is rather enjoyable.

 

 

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