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November 27, 2018

Way back in 2012, flatmates Ian Stirling and Paddy Fletcher had a bright idea that would help them escape their London lives. They would return to their native Edinburgh and build a whisky distillery in the Scottish capital.

Six long years and more than a few hiccups later, their pipedream is beginning to become reality and their first spirit is about to go on sale.

Like most new whisky distillers, the childhood chums are selling gin in order to generate cash flow while the whisky side of the business comes on line.

Construction of the whisky distillery is due to start in March next year and, all being well, the plant will open on the water's edge by Ocean Terminal and HMS Britannia in October 2020.

Until then, their newly launched Lind & Lime Gin brand is produced by a certain James Porteous from the Stillhouse on Tower Street in Leith.

Many gin enthusiasts will know James from the Achroous Gin produced by his own Leith-based Electric Spirit Co. Somehow, while upping production of his own gin, James has found time to help Ian and Paddy produce Lind & Lime.

After sampling it last night, this blogger reckons that it is rather good. 

Among others, the botanicals used to make Lind & Lime Gin include lots of lime and pink peppercorns.

The fresh citrus of the lime is balanced by the spice of the peppercorns in this crisp gin. You don't need to add sliced lime to make a dazzling G 'n' T and, moreover, it comes in a beautiful bottle.

You can find stockists here.

Leith has a long history of producing glass bottles.

Leith has a long history of producing glass bottles.

The Lind part of the name refers to Dr Lind, the 18th century, Leith-based medic whose research into the effects of citrus in preventing scurvy led to the Royal Navy provisioning their ships with lime juice.

The association with Dr Lind is not the only point of contact with Port of Leith Distillery and the area's past.

Leith has long been a hub for the Scottish drinks industry and, over the last couple of hundred years, the neighbourhood has played an important part in the whisky trade.

The distillery's website has researched a number of related stories if you are interested.

Port of Leith Distillery aims to revive Leith's former reputation for whisky by operating in a number of innovative ways.

Scotland's first vertical distillery

An artist's view of how the Port of Leith Distillery will look next to Ocean Terminal and HMS Britannia.

An artist's view of how the Port of Leith Distillery will look next to Ocean Terminal and HMS Britannia.

Most obviously, their distillery, when finished, will be Scotland's first vertical distillery with the mash tuns, fermentation tanks and still sitting on top of each other.

Ian and Paddy hope that the distillery will not only house a popular visitor centre but will also become a research and development centre for the whisky industry.

As you might imagine, they are working closely with the brewing and distilling experts at nearby Heriot Watt.

Interestingly - and possibly uniquely? - they already sell bottles of the Oloroso sherry which will be used to season their whisky casks. Sourced from Bodegas Baron in Sanlucar De Barameda, this rich, dark sherry adds a nutty complexity to cocktails.

We should also mention that Port of Leith Distillery hopes to stand out by the amount of focus they will bring to bear on the fermentation and brewing stages of whisky production.

Put rather more concisely, there are four or five interesting strands to what this nascent spirits company is doing.

We wish them every success and we're keen to see how it all develops.

Until then, try their Lind & Lime gin.

Oloroso sherry: straight outta Sanlucar De Barameda.

Oloroso sherry: straight outta Sanlucar De Barameda.