This post is part of a collaboration with The Teasmith Gin and Balmoral Estate. To quote the local lingo, “this is a good ‘een.”
Her Majesty and I both love the landscapes of Royal Deeside. The Queen takes up Summer residence in the beautiful Balmoral Castle whereas I take up year-round residence in a Citroen Relay (long wheelbase). We are all queens in our own right. But, we both holiday in Royal Deeside, and we are both inspired by the haunting and spectacular Scottish scenery and abundant wildlife.
A Right Royal Spirit
I’ve done a fabulous wee tour of Balmoral Castle, but The Queen is yet to do a tour of Van Heilan. Although in saying that, I’ve been all over Scotland now with her gin so I guess that kinda counts eh? Anyway, I digress. When we were sent a bottle of the bonnie Ballochbuie gin, we were still very much knee-deep in the van conversion. Every day that bottle looked at me. And every day I made the sensible decision to keep my head down, avoid frivolities and push on with our new home.
Our first night in Van Heilan was spent up on Cairngorm Mountain, which seems fitting for a Balmoral tipple. I’m not sure whether it was the Douglas Fir pine needles, juniper, 8 botanicals, and the addition of Scottish heather honey. Or if it was the months of our hard work finally coming together. Or perhaps it was the insane view from our Harris Tweed adorned bed, but that Ballochbuie gin hit right.
The Balmoral Castle’s new gin takes its name from Ballochbuie, a 2,500 acre woodland around 5 miles from Balmoral Castle, near Invercauld Bridge. The spirit has also been distilled with botanicals hand-picked from the forest. It is best served with tonic, a slice of grapefruit, and a sprig of Rosemary.
I’m holding on to my bottle because it goes really well with Van Heilan’s decor and it makes for a nice celebratory tipple on special occasions.
The Linn O’ Dee
If you happen to be visiting Royal Deeside, I highly recommend a wander around Braemar, lunch at The Fife Arms, and for one of the wildest landscapes in Scotland, The Linn O’Dee. We visited the Linn O’ Dee in our van mostly so I could have a wee dook in the river. The gorge and the way that the River Dee squeezes through it on its journey through Aberdeenshire is really something. We also saw a wee red squirrel at the banks of the river during our swim. This is a memory I’ll nae chuck out for a while. We finished off the evening in true style, with a wee toast to Scottish adventures featuring, you guessed it, Ballochbuie Gin. We’ll be back. Order your bottle from the Balmoral gift shop.