J. Gow NMO 2020 our first unaged release and the first wild yeast release from the distillery.
Orkney doesn’t have a climate for growing sugar cane, but we wanted to use something local and unique. What better than a native yeast harvested from wild Northern marsh orchids that grow right beside the distillery.
Various mini ferments were setup with petals or swabs taken from the flowers.
Successful ferments (and those that didn’t smell awful) were then isolated and scaled up from 50ml starter fermentations, all the way up to grow enough yeast to then ferment 2000L.
It even involved counting active yeasts cells under a microscope. To calculate how many litres of yeast were required to ferment a full size batch. It was a long process.
Fermentation eventually took place in March 2021 and lasted 31 days, our longest fermentation yet. The yeast itself smelled completely different to the commercial yeasts we use for our main products. This alongside the extra long fermentation created a high ester, fruity, naturally sweet spirit.
We decided not to age in oak but to let the flavours created by the wild yeast speak for itself. It was rested for several months in a stainless steel tank and slowly cut down to an ABV of 58.8% (as we are at 58.8° North here on Lamb Holm).
This is the first release in our wild yeast series. We isolated a different strain from orchids again in 2021. Which was very mango forward, but much heavier this has been filled into ex moscatel octave casks for a future release. We’ll try to do an annual experimental batch with wild yeasts isolated from the island. We’ve also banked each of these strains and frozen them, so we should be able to replicate them again at any time.
*Due to it being non chill filtered and the heavier flavour of this rum some flocculation may appear in the bottle at colder temperatures. These are flavour particles and heavier oils coming out of solution and nothing to worry about. Bringing the bottle back up to room temperature and giving it a gentle shake should disperse most particles present.