Distillery Visit: Kingsbarns & Darnley’s Gin

Had a lovely day trip to Fife to check out Kingsbarns & Darnleys Gin Distillery. A perfect combination of gin and whisky!

Since I’ve been very curious about gin and its production lately I was very excited to get to combine a visit to Kingsbarns with also learning about Darnleys Gin.

The journey took us across one of the three bridges crossing the Forth and then along the coast all the way to our destination. If you easily get travel sick like me, then this road might not be your best friend. It’s nice to drive alongside the water though and quite a scenic route. 

I had of course packed some breakfast in the form of orange juice, a KitKat and an avocado, ham and cheese baguette. 

When we arrived I wasn’t feeling that great because of my travel sickness but the crisp autumn air definitely helped. 

Kingsbarns whisky distillery

We started off with the Darnley’s Gin tour, which had its own little cottage next to the main building. Above the grass in the background (below) you can see the ocean. Such a lovely location. 

darnleys gin

We got to hear about the history, production and of course the very important botanicals of gin. They had all the botanicals that Darnley’s Gin uses in little jars so you could see and smell them which I think is a great way of understanding more about what the botanicals actually are. 

darnleys gin

They also had a map to show us where all their botanicals come from. As you can see it’s from all over the world. We also got to see that the distiller actually also picked botanicals from the area and let them dry in the still room. 

And here she is: Dorothy. She is named after two ladies from the town of Kingsbarns who often come to visit and they are both called Dorothy. 

gin distillery

They also have a tour where you make your own gin, which sounds really fascinating so I might have to come back for that. I think that would be an experience where you really get to learn about the impact of flavour in distilled spirits.

darnleys gin

I’m always curious about what different botanicals would result in as flavours in distilled spirit so found these board very interesting. 

The distillery is located a bit in the middle of nowhere, but if you drive it’s easy to get here and you can also take the bus from St Andrews. 

distillery

Had some lunch before it was time to dig in to the whisky tour. Spiced carrot soup and sandwiches is the perfect distillery food and it was really nice. 

On the whisky tour we got to see an illicit still, which of course was very popular back in the day with a lot of farmer. In the cask theres a worm tub in which the vapours will condensate back in to a liquid when the cask is full of water to cool it down. 

whisky

There was also a map which shows you the location of Kingsbarns Distillery. 

Kingsbarns whisky distillery

The most interesting part of the tour was learning about the doocot, which has inspired the pattern on the Kingsbarns From dream to dram bottle. A nice touch was the dove noises that surround you in the room when the guide tells you all about them as well and also about the cask which was the first one that they ever filled at Kingsbarns in March 2015.

Kingsbarns

Another fun things was these smelling horns that all have a smell of something you could associate with whisky. This really shows that whisky can be very complex and different as well as how difficult it is to actually pinpoint and name what you are smelling. 

We of course also got to hear about the yeast, the barley and the water source. Kingsbarns want to use local barley only and the water source is many meters straight below the building. 

whisky

Then we got to have a look at the mash tun, wash backs and their set of stills. 

whisky distillery

And then it was time for the tasting of both gins and whisky!

Kingsbarns

My favorite gin was probably the Darnley’s Original as it had a lovely citrus note to it. And whisky wise I thought the Dream to Dram was delicious with its notes of banana and caramel malt.

Kingsbarns

We got to have a look at a lot of different products that Wemyss Malts offer and taste some of them as well. They certainly have a lot of variety of different flavours so it would probably be difficult to not find at least one that appeals to you.

Here below you can see the Dream to Dram – the first release of Kingsbarns whisky which has been matured for at least 3 years in 1st fill ex-bourbon casks and 1st fill STR barriques. It is a non age statement but considering they filled the first cask in 2015 you could imagine that it’s not that old. However they have managed to achieve an amazingly smooth, delicious and juicy flavour in the short amount of time!

whisky distillery

Before heading home I picked up The Curious Bartenders Gin Palace which has a lot of information about the history and production of gin so I can’t wait to read it!

Almost no travel sickness on the way back, perhaps a wee bit of whisky was the cure…

Kingsbarns whisky distillery

Curious to read more about my distillery trips?

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Moa Nilsson

Äventyrlig svenska med en förkärlek för slott, snö och vintageaktiga upplevelser.

Scandinavian Abroad
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