The Shetland Distillery Co reveals 2018's Up Helly Aa gin

The Shetland Distillery Company has launched a new variant of its Up Helly Aa Shetland Reel gin, which it said is the result of a unique ageing process.

The Navy Strength gin (57% abv) has been aged in an ex-sherry cask, which has had one filling of a single malt Scotch whisky in if before being shipped to Unst for the gin ageing. The result is a one-off gin that the producer believes will be “keenly sought after”.

As with the previous two variants of this year, the launch has been timed to hit shelves in time for the annual Lerwick fire festival.

The producer also recently relaunched its full range of core gins with new packaging, which is also being applied to the Up Helly Aa variant.

The new packaging for the Up Helly Aa 2018 Shetland Reel gin includes a transparent back label complete with an interpretation of the Guizer Jarl, who is the leader of the Jarl Squad (the Jarl’s Squad are Vikings for the day).

This year’s Lerwick Up Helly Aa Guizer Jarl, Stewart Jamieson, said the new gin had become part of the annual tradition.

Shetland Distillery Company director Debbie Strang, said: “After the extraordinary success of our first two Up Helly Aa gins in 2016 and 2017, we are pleased to be following up with what is a unique and new-look 2018 version.

“We are delighted with the support we have received over the last three years from guizers jarl and the committee.

The gin will be available in 70cl and 20cl bottles, priced at £45 and £20 respectively, and go on sale online shortly. It is described as having a juniper-led now with a slight sweetness from the cask. Citrus peel and sweetness from the sherry come through at first and this is then balanced by tannins from the wood and savoury notes from the gin, according to the producer. 

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