We live in an age of whisky enlightenment, gone are the days of the closed door male-dominated club. Whisky is speaking to a whole new and diverse audience that respects traditions but is keen to embrace new, innovative and sustainable approaches.
It’s this spirit of adventure that Rob and Gabrielle to the rediscovery of this lost ancient and mysterious liquid. Birchwater had been harvested in Scotland since Neolithic times and disappeared with the advent of the Highland clearances, which saw entire generations cleared from the land, taking their culture and traditions with them.
Historic links to the origins of whisky itself inspired our adventure in creating a dedicated whisky accompaniment. Trying it for the first time was the founders’ ‘eureka moment’ and proof they had discovered something truly special that embodies this exciting new era.
Birken is the old Scots word for birch and in Scotland birch tapping has been carried out traditionally and sustainably for over 5,000 years. Sacred in Celtic mythology, the birch was revered for its purity and life-giving properties.
The trees they select for tapping are between 200 and 300 years old and are uniquely found in Highland Perthshire.
For just three weeks in March, they expertly tap birch trees in some of Scotland’s most ancient forests. The birchwater is entirely natural with no additives; it has an elegant smooth sweetness and a fresh subtle saline quality which is mineral in finish.
The signature smoothing effect dials back any harsh characteristics within a whisky, allowing delicate taste nuances to leap forward. Birchwater does not disrupt or taint whisky in any way – rather it serves to compliment, amplify and illuminate.
The addition of birchwater not only opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for whisky lovers, but also for those who have been put off by the whisky’s perceived harshness.
A core part of their ethos is helping to restore the Highland birch woods. Rob, the founder of Birkentree, is a professional forester with many decades of experience in managing woodlands. He oversees a range of woodlands and estates including the ancient birch woods in which they harvest their birchwater.
Rob and Gabrielle are privileged to work with and preserve these ancient trees for generations to come.