VIDEO: Crowman makes Borders' first gin in 180 years
Bedecked in a black cloak, wide-brimmed hat and a fearsome black rubber crow's beak, the Crowman delves into his ancient Gladstone bag.
Meant to resemble a historic plague doctor, the slightly troubling figure brings out one of three top-quality gins brought to the market by a Kelso company which has won the race to be the first to distill gin in the Borders for 180 years.
And, despite the outlandish marketing ploy, directors of the Kelso Gin Company – Rob Armstrong and Simon Rutherford – insist their products have more to offer than a quirky selling point.
According to the man in the mask – and the distilling genius behind the gins – Andrew Crow, it all comes down to how it is produced – by using only the “heart” of the gin.
Andrew told us: “We work with organic grain spirit and do everything by hand.
“The slower the process, the more copper it touches, the better, the smoother the drink.
“We were at the pub in Ancrum yesterday, and they haven’t sold another gin, once they stocked the Crowman.”
However, with such a slow process, the amount of gin the company can produce is limited.
“It takes us 24 hours to produce 60 bottles, so we are looking to purchase two more stills so we can get the three flavours going at once.”
Mr Armstrong said: “We triple-distill, and we don’t put the head and tails – the impure cast-off – back through the process.
“You get a smooth, creamy gin, which you can drink on its own like a malt whisky.
“Most other gin companies reuse the head and tails for so-called botanical gins. They are unpleasant to smell, and have more of an ethanol flavour. It has come as a bit of a surprise to us that we have created something so lovely.”
The gins – at £39.50 per bottle – can be bought online or from several outlets locally.
Visit www.thekelsogincompany.com for more details.