Stocking more than 1,000 products in his whisky shop in the north-east town of Inverurie, Mike Stuart has finally bit the bullet and launched his own spirits brand.
The entrepreneur, who launched Inverurie Whisky Shop on Burn Lane back in 2015, has spent years researching and training in the drinks industry.
Revealing his own brand, Foghouse, Mike is kicking off his series of spirits with one of the nation’s favourites – gin.
In time, the portfolio will include a single cask whisky range and rum.
Mike, 38, has taken his expert experience and knowledge of the industry and has collaborated with the team at Lost Loch Spirits in Aboyne to create the small batch gin in micro copper stills. He has been working on the product since 2019.
Made in batches of 400, Mike has produced 1,200 bottles for launch (three batches).
Inspired by Mediterranean flavours, the handcrafted expression combines nine botanicals including wormwood which is prized for its distinctive aroma.
The company’s name derives from foghouses found across many of Scotland’s estates.
These manmade shelters are found on hillsides where the Lairds of the past would entertain guests and escape the ordinary.
Foghouse at Bennachie
The name of his brand is inspired by the foghouse at Bennachie, which is well hidden, boasts an archway made of stone and is located near a waterfall.
Mike said: “We wanted to create something that would really stand out from the crowd not just in flavour profile but with the bottle itself.
“We discovered the most beautiful foghouse at Bennachie that overlooks a waterfall. It’s tricky to locate but worth it when you find it.
“It inspired us to craft flavours that would be instrumental in evoking a memory and transporting you to a special place, as a reminder of what makes you happy. We call it a little bit of escapism in a glass.
“We’ve employed a team of experts behind Foghouse to really promote this new gin. As a result, we’ve already had interest from pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants that want to stock it.
“The plan is to cement the gin into the market and start working on creating the rest of the range next.”
The 70cl bottle is priced at £38.99 and can be purchased on the firm’s website.
The recommended serve for the gin is tonic water and garnished with a sprig of rosemary and twist of orange to accentuate the Mediterranean notes. The gin delivers notes of rosemary and olive balanced with coriander and cubeb spice.