Not one but two premium potato vodkas – Ogilvy and Arbikie – are being made in Angus
Back in 2014, the arrival of two premium potato vodkas, one from Ogilvy Spirits based near Glamis, and the other from Arbikie Highland Estate near Inverkeilor, put Angus firmly on the Scottish spirits map.
Both distilleries are farm-to-bottle operations, using their own crops, and distilling and bottling on site. 'We are expanding production just now,' says Caroline Bruce-Jarron, who runs Ogilvy Spirits with husband Graeme Jarron, 'but we're still only using the potatoes not sold as food. We plan on using all our crop eventually – so we've plenty of room for growth.'
Since launch, Arbikie have added two gins and two vodka variations to their range. Their chilli version uses peppers from Chillilicious in Fife, while a strawberry variety uses Arbikie's wheat for the spirit instead of potatoes. Fresh berries from a neighbouring farm are used, which give each season's bottling a distinct flavour as crops vary in taste.
Ogilvy, while not moving into the busy gin scene, recently launched their Perfect Pour range featuring their own potato vodka. Bottled at 20%ABV, these pre-mixed cocktails include apple and elderflower and raspberry and lime, topped up with your own mixer. 'We source local, natural fruit juices, such as raspberry for our Milton Mule version,' explains Bruce-Jarron. 'And we'll also be adding seasonal specials to the range in future.'
Given Scotland's propensity for growing potatoes, it was only a matter of time before they were used for something other than tatties or chips. That both spirits come from Angus farms says as much about the region's spud-friendly climate as the ability of the county's farmers to diversify. And with considerable success – both have regularly won awards and plaudits since together they created a new category of Scottish spirit.