The Old Curiosity Distillery

The Secret Herb Garden

Old Pentland Rd, Edinburgh

History - Back in 2011 when Hamish Martin and his now wife went on their first date they both realised very quickly that they could combine two of their dreams. Hamish, a former wine merchant and a herbal enthusiast, dreamt of having his very own herb garden and Liberty, a lover of all things vintage, wanted her own cafe/ shop with real character and charm. Very quickly this dream became a reality with the couple buying a 7.5-acre derelict plot of land on the outskirts of Edin-burgh, and transforming it with Liberty into a now award-winning herb nursery, local arts centre, distillery, shop and cafe. It wasn't until 2016 that the distillery came into the picture when mixolo-gist and bar owner Steve Ross joined the team to help develop the concept of creating gins from the incredible garden itself. Three years on they have created three gins that are now available in Harrods, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols, Majestic and other retailers all across the UK.

The Gin – The range comprises three flavours, including Apothecary Rose, Lavender and Echinacea, and Chamomile and Cornflower. The “colour changing” element to their gins is one of their unique selling points for the brand. When the gins mix with tonic water the Lavender and Echinacea changes from purple to vibrant pink, Apothecary Rose changes from light gold to pink and Chamo-mile and Cornflower moves from a pale blue to pale pink. You may find this a bit quirky, but it's all natural and people love it!. As with their ethos each gin is made using botanicals which are all grown, hand-picked, dried and infused by the passionate and dedicated Secret Herb Garden team.

Why Visit? – After a lot of dedication from the team, they are now ready to welcome visitors to enjoy a gin tour of this incredible place. The botanical tours are Saturday and Sunday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. From 1st June – 21st September, tours will also be available at 1pm on a Thursday and Friday as the garden will be in full bloom. You can go on-line and get your tickets from The Old Cu-riosity website at a cost of £15 per person. For this you will get to see the gin-making process, from the picking of the botanicals and then seeing them being distilled, alongside a tour of the garden and a private tasting in their new Gin Lounge. Personally, I would just pay the £15 for the sensory explosion your nose will experience on this tour. This is an incredible place ran by incredibly pas-sionate people who love what they do. I would highly recommend making an effort next time you are in the capital to take the trip to experience this fantastic place.

Interesting fact – To further his passion for all things floral and herbal, Hamish studied for a Diploma in Herbology at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in 2013 and after securing a 7.5-acre plot of land at the foot of the Pentlands. The Secret Herb Garden now has over 700 naturally grown varie-ties of herbs.