Can you tell us more about your career outside of gin?
I grew up in a family that all had a passion for good, honest homemade food and was always in the kitchen tinkering around! I started my career as a chef when I was just 15 and it’s taken me on an amazing journey all over the world from oceans to mountain tops, all through the UK, Europe and Asia! I’ve had the chance to learn from and work beside some of the world’s best chefs and try to really immerse myself in the local culture wherever I go. I must have seen over forty different countries now but there’s something about East Asia that just spoke to me.
What made you decide to create Lunun Gin?
I had just come off 'Masterchef: The Professionals' and was opening my first restaurant (HAAR in St Andrews) so I was looking for a gin that I could present as the house pour behind the bar. I must have tried dozens and dozens in the process, but nothing quite hit the mark of what I had in mind and so I thought “why not make it myself?”
What is the meaning and story behind your brand name?
I grew up on the East Coast, running around the beach at Lunan Bay, so it’s always held a special place in my heart and some of my best memories are there. Even now I visit as often as I can with my family. It was important to me to incorporate a little piece of this into the branding and so the name was an easy choice for me, and my friend James designed Lunun’s gorgeous label that depicts the bay and the infamous Red Castle.
Can you tell us more about the botanicals in Lunun Gin?
The botanicals in Lunun Gin all reflect the East-Asian flavours I use throughout my restaurants and I wanted them all to work in harmony on the palate. There’s fresh aroma and vibrancy from the ginger, kaffir lime & lemongrass; a little salinity from the kombu kelp; sea buckthorn balances it out with a touch of astringency; and it rounds out with a little Sichuan pepper tingle on the tongue. I wanted Lunun to be versatile and more than just a great tipple, so that people can pair it with food or use it as an ingredient in their cooking and create some really interesting cocktails.
Can you tell us more about the distillery you work with?
We contract distill in my hometown of Arbroath where my childhood friend, Lewis Scothern, has his own distillery. He’s easily one of the best distillers in Scotland and took me through the whole process so that I could make my proprietary recipe that incorporated all of the botanicals that I’m passionate about.
What is your ambition for your brand in the years to come?
Our team have been working hard to help bring Lunun Gin to the masses and have recently completed a course via the Scottish Wholesale Association, so we are all looking forward to forming more relationships with Scottish distributors. Now that Lunun is available UK-wide I’d love to expand into exporting over the next few years!
What are your favourite ways to drink Lunun Gin?
I don’t think you can go wrong with a classic Gin & Tonic or a Gin Martini! Our bar teams and I love to experiment with Lunun in all kinds of new cocktails too: Dulse in Edinburgh always has something unique and wonderful on their cocktail list and Temple Lane in Dundee makes an incredible Gin Berry Sour using our flagship gin and Brambley liqueur.
Desert Island Gins: Which 3 gins would you take with you and why?
It’s a tough one as there are so many great gins out there, but my top 3 (other than Lunun of course!) would have to be:
What's next for you and your gin - any exciting plans?
Since beginning Lunun Gin in 2019 we’ve opened six new bars & restaurants where Lunun is the house pour, with more bars and restaurants on their way! We’re looking forward to continuing the journey, and having just rebranded our liqueur bottle design, we will be introducing a new gin liqueur to the range in 2024. Watch this space!
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