SCOTS distillers are challenging France’s claim to fame as the supreme producers of brandy by revealing a homegrown version of the spirit.
For centuries the Scottish people have been best-known across the world as the foremost creators of whisky.
The nation’s weather and environment is ideal for producing the barley which forms the basis of of the spirit, which dates back at least as far as 1495.
But thanks to an abundance of apples a Scottish distillery has set its sights on France’s crown as the best producers of brandy in the world.
The Strathearn Distillery – the smallest distillery in the country – in Methven, Perthshire and Thistly Cross Cider of Dunbar have teamed up to produce the drink.
It was released for the first time today in small-cask batches of only 400 bottles.
As a collaboration between the two Scottish companies, Thistly Cross provided the 7% “base cider” to Strathearn Distillery, where it was put through their copper stills.
It was then matured on site for just under a year.
200 of the bottles have been matured in French oak casks – the same used in the production of brandy in France’s renowned Calvados region.
The other half of the bottles have been aged in American oak casks – which will give the finished product a distinctly different flavour.
A further batch is currently in production being matured in bourbon casks.
Tony Reeman-Clark – the founder of Strathearn Distillery – said: “Distilling cider was something I’d always been interested in.
“The plan started to come together when I passed Thistly Cross on a train.
“I hadn’t realised that there was a cider maker in Scotland so, from that point, everything clicked into place.”
Peter Stuart, head cider-maker at Thistly Cross Cider added: “Traditionally, Scotland hasn’t been thought of as a big producer of cider, but we’ve changed that perception in recent years.
“This, along with Scotland’s world-renowned spirits industry spurred us on to try something new.”
The pair hope that the brandy will become popular in Scotland and the UK, as well as the US, where small-batch spirits are currently very fashionable.
They also have high hopes for it in Germany, where the craft spirits movement was born.
It is unclear whether the spirit will be awarded a Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI).
The prestigious status means that only products made in a certain area can be named after the region.
Somerset cider brandy was given the status in 2011, and Calvados brandy has the French-equivalent of the status.