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North Uist Distillery has scored an impressive double at the annual Great Taste Awards, announced yesterday (Tuesday 21 September).

Judges in the prestigious annual award competition have assigned a gold star to their Downpour Scottish Dry Gin and a two-star, top quality rating for the Downpour Sloe and Bramble Cask-aged Gin.

Described as the Oscars for the food and drink industry, the Great Taste Awards are organised by the Guild of Fine Food and are the world’s largest, longest-standing and most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

North Uist distillery was founded in 2019, and produced their first ever gin on 25 April that year.

In July 2020 the company moved into new premises at Nunton Steadings in Benbecula, and in the same month they won a gold award for both their spirits in the Spirits Business Gin Masters contest.

Downpour Sloe and Bramble is produced as a seasonal edition, featuring sloe berries and Uist brambles, added to Downpour Scottish Dry Gin and aged in bourbon casks to deliver complex rich and fruity flavours. 

The gold-star Downpour Scottish Dry Gin carries botanicals and bold flavours of citrus, spice and wild Hebridean heather.

Other island awards include Macleod & Macleod’s Stornoway Black Pudding which has received an ‘exquisite’ three-star Great Taste Award, while Charles Macleod butchers (Charlie Barleys) has scored a two-star award, their ninth honour for the famous marags; and Flavour, based at Talla na Mara in West Harris, has been awarded a gold star for its artisan chocolate, the 47% Belgian ruby chocolate diamond filled with passionfruit and a hint of chilli.

Picture shows North Uist Distillery founders Kate Macdonald and Jonny Ingledew with their new still in June this year.