Carrer del Gremi de Sucrers i Candelers 20, Nave 4, Poligono Son Castello, Palma 07009, Balearic Islands, Spain
I had the pleasure of meeting Byron Holland, founder and co-owner of Mallorca Distillery, together with master distiller, James Gibbons, at the distillery on a sunny Friday in September. The Mallorca Distillery is located just outside Palma and can be reached via a short ride on the Metro from the main station at Plaza España.
Byron hails from Newcastle, England, but fell in love with Palma whilst working in the yachting industry. He and his partner, Amber, were lucky enough to circumnavigate the globe, taking in some amazing places including the Caribbean, South Pacific, the Galapagos Islands and Tahiti. After working in the yachting industry for 3 years, he moved back to Newcastle, but before long, was on the move again – this time to Edinburgh in Scotland, where he bought a Belgium beer brasserie. He lived in Edinburgh for 2 years and ran the restaurant for about a year before selling it, only to return to his beloved Palma.
Byron saw the opportunity for a premium product to be produced on the island from locally sourced ingredients and began work on his business plan for Palma Gin in January 2017. He was introduced to James by the Carling Partnership, via LinkedIn, and James accepted the position as master distiller in January 2018. James had previously been working at Copper Rivet Distillery in South-East England, where he learned his skills from the master distiller there. Having accepted the position at the Mallorca Distillery, James started his handover at Copper Rivet in January and arrived in Palma in April. James had never been to Mallorca but loves the Mediterranean, having spent a fair amount of time in the South of France.
The Distillery officially opened in August 2018 and I was delighted to have a chance to sample the results of their first bottlings.
The design of the bottle was inspired by the traditional Mallorcan tiles created by family run company, Huguet, who are located in Campos on the island. The gold window reflects the stunning stained glass rose window of La Seu - Palma Cathedral. Byron worked with an American designer to create the bottle which process itself took around 10 months to perfect.
Palma Gin contains 14 botanicals, 7 of which are sourced locally, in an effort to reflect what Mallorca can offer. Byron is currently in discussions with a local farmer as, in time, he would like everything to be grown locally, which is possible on this beautiful island. Botanicals include orange and lemon peel, almond flowers, lavender, local juniper berries, tomato branches and orange leaves. The recipe was developed in conjunction with Henric Molin of Spirit of Hven who is based in Sweden. Henric spent time with the guys at the distillery in July and August to help them perfect the final product.
Byron was introduced to Henric through Allen Associates, a firm he had worked with to set up the distillery. Having found premises he was happy with, Byron worked with Allen Associates to design the layout and equipment.
The first distillation of Palma Gin took place in August and sounds a little chaotic to say the least. James told me that they were still distilling at 1am in the morning, the generator gave out at one point and the still over-boiled! Fortunately, the second distillation was a little smoother. He said that they might experiment with the gin produced from the over-boil by ageing it in sweet wine barrels. Sounds intriguing!
Palma Gin is distilled in a 500 litre copper pot still called Luna. The main botanicals are macerated for 18-20 hours and the more delicate botanicals are suspended in a basket in the neck of the still for vapours to pass through. Total distillation time is around 6-7 hours and each distillation produces around 850 bottles. They have so far released 2 batches and the Gin is blended after distillation for consistency. When I visited, they had around 600 bottles and 1000 miniatures in stock.
Byron’s next product will be vodka which is scheduled for Spring 2019. This will be in a similar bottle but with different colour tiles. He is looking at using local seawater which will be filtered to remove the bacteria and desalinated. He may then explore developing rum, liqueurs or even vermouth.
You can visit the Mallorca Distillery for a tour and tasting, and even make your own gin to take away with you. James has a huge range of botanicals from which you can choose and is always on hand should you need some help with your recipe!
The Palma Gin signature serve is with fresh orange peel and Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic Water. The orange peel really enhances the ripe citrus flavours in the Gin and the almond flowers invoke delicate floral aromas. Palma Gin is delicate and smooth, refreshing and citrusy. Just perfect! Cheers guys!
Copyright of suerayuncorked.com - September 2018
Mallorca Distillery - September 21, 2018