Free 10cl bottle of Colonsay Gin provided to sample for this review. Opinions entirely that of From the Gin Shelf

Free 10cl bottle of Colonsay Gin provided to sample for this review. Opinions entirely that of From the Gin Shelf

by | 25 Nov 2018

Colonsay Gin Review

The island of Colonsay, off the west coast of Scotland, is home to less than 150 inhabitants. Two of these islanders are husband and wife, Finlay and Eileen Geekie – founders of Wild Thyme Spirits. In 2016 the couple moved from their Oxfordshire home of over 30 years to the remote Hebridean isle, and their dream of returning home to live on a Scottish island was realised.

Island distilled

Like fellow Scottish gin Kirkjuvagr, which we recently reviewed, production of their new Colonsay Gin was originally by Strathearn Distillery in Perth, launching in early 2017.

Now they’ve achieved another part of their vision with distilling moved in-house to the island in the summer of 2018. To celebrate, Wild Thyme Spirits launched a limited edition batch of their London Dry gin – Wild Thyme 909. Each of the 909 bottles are individually hand-numbered and (at the time of writing) can be bought online, with the nice touch of being able to select your desired number of the remaining bottles.

Wild Thyme Spirits also provide a getaway to the remote island. The Gin Lover’s Retreat offers a weekend break for four people. As well as their own gin, there are also 200 gins from around the world to choose from!


While many other brands around them were looking for new and unusual botanicals, Wild Thyme Spirits purposefully took the traditional route to create their London Dry.

“Respecting tradition” states their website, with angelica root, calamus root and coriander joining the juniper to make a classic lineup for the foundations.

While other botanicals are present, these are guarded by ALVA – a Brownie (or spirit) who landed on Colonsay when her Viking boat crashed into rocks on the island. Taking shelter on Tigh na Uruisg {tee-na-oor-isk}, or Home of the Spirit, she remains here to this day. Using her supernatural powers, ALVA guards the recipe for Colonsay Gin and with an “alchemist’s touch she transforms humble botanicals into gin.”


While many of the botanicals are a guarded secret by ALVA, Colonsay Gin includes juniper, angelica root, coriander and calamus root

Colonsay gin perfect serve

  1. Add plenty of ice to a glass
  2. Add 50ml of Gin
  3. Mix with a Fever Tree Indian tonic to taste (roughly 2/3 parts tonic: gin)
  4. Garnish with a twist of orange peel
  5. Stir gently and serve

To taste

So, what does Colonsay Gin taste like? The nose is as you’d expect from reading Wild Thyme’s process – heavily juniper-forward, with a subtle sweetness in the background. On the palate, the juniper again shoots straight to the fore, with an earthy sweetness providing balance. The finish packs some peppery heat, while citrus lingers in the background.

With tonic

With classic tonic, those flavours are still there, but with a heavier helping of bitter earthiness. The heat on the finish is dulled, making for a more refreshing drink with a G&T.

Part of Wild Thyme’s reasoning for following the traditional London Dry route is that the array of different tonics allows consumers to experiment to find a serve that meets their tastes. Given I prefer a bit more sweetness in my, mixing with Fever Tree Elderflower hit the mark for my palate.


Now, let’s talk about that label! Specialising in creating “magical worlds and creatures”, Caroline Vos seems a perfect fit to come up with the concepts for Wild Thyme’s packaging and logo.

From her home in South Africa she’s created a stunning depiction of AVVA on the bottle – it’s quite spectacular and as wild as the island of Colonsay itself. A unique design, which captures the concept of the brand experty, creating a memorable and striking bottle – all the more important in the saturated category Wild Thyme has entered.