25 May 2022

Kilkenny’s Highbank Orchards and Mount Juliet Estate collaborate on limited edition gin

Made to mark the venue's hosting of the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Kilkenny’s Highbank Orchards and Mount Juliet Estate collaborate on limited edition gin

A bottle of the new limited edition bespoke Moongate Irish gin being held in the hand of its creator, Rod Calder-Potts Credit: Ruth Calder-Potts

Kilkenny’s fifth generation family-run organic apple farm, Highbank Orchards, has just finished production on a bespoke limited edition gin in collaboration with Mount Juliet Estate, to mark the five star hotel's hosting of the 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The event, which will run on the luxury resort’s championship golf course from 1st to 4th July 2021, also coincides with the course's 30th anniversary celebrations.

The single estate certified organic Moongate Irish Gin, named after the famous and symbolic ‘moongate’ found in the hotel’s picturesque walled garden, has been created by Highbank Orchard’s Owner and Distiller, Rod Calder-Potts, in close collaboration with John Kelly, Head Chef in Mount Juliet Estate’s Michelin Star Lady Helen Restaurant.

A huge amount of thought, consideration and attention to detail has gone into the distilling of the bespoke commissioned gin.

The handing over of the three hundred limited edition bottles to Mount Juliet Estate in the lead up to the tournament is the culmination of a full twelve months’ work for the Highbank team.

The distinctive Moongate Gin is produced in what is believed to be Ireland’s smallest Still House, ‘Dodonus’ - added to the ancient Highbank Estate Dairy in 2014 - featuring eighteen selected botanicals, each one representing a different hole on the Jack Nicklaus signature design championship golf course.

Prices for the limited edition bottles of Moongate Irish Gin, which are expected to be highly sought after, start at €85 each and can be purchased exclusively from Mount Juliet Estate by calling (056) 777 3000.

Commenting on the process of creating the bespoke commissioned gin, Highbank Orchards’ Owner & Distiller, Rod Calder-Potts, said: “It has been a real privilege to cooperate with Mount Juliet Estate, especially their hugely talented Head Chef, John Kelly. His well trained palate and his ability to build up flavours in harmony with one other is truly remarkable.

"This and other bespoke projects like it give us the scope to be really innovative and push the boundaries. Unlike large distilleries, we distil in small batches using our own organic raw materials, which vary from season to season, making the limited edition Moongate production a very special gin indeed.”

Mark Dunne, General Manager of Mount Juliet Estate, who commissioned the production, said “We are delighted to have collaborated closely with local artisans, Highbank Orchards, on this project and produced what is an exceptional gin, befitting of our hosting of the upcoming 2021 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and one that has such a unique connection with our terroir.”

On tasting the limited edition single estate certified organic Moongate Irish Gin, John Kelly, Head Chef of the  Lady Helen Restaurant at Mount Juliet Estate commented: “It’s super, I love it! It has been a wonderful journey of exploration over the last 12 months working with Rod.

"A very symbiotic and natural process which has come together really nicely and given us a completely authentic product that has a real connection to Mount Juliet Estate. It’s beautifully balanced and the liquorice and aniseed flavours notes give it a real umami flavour. It’s fantastic served over ice with a rhubarb tonic water. I’m sure our guests and gin fanatics will come to love it as much as we do.”

Located just outside Kilkenny City, Highbank Organic Farm is uniquely suited to producing delicious apples because of the fertile limestone soil that nurtures its apple trees.

All of the apples used to create the single estate Irish organic bespoke gin have been grown across the farm’s twenty acres of orchards, where Calder-Potts family first planted apple orchards in 1969.

The farm, which has been completely pesticide, herbicide and chemical free since 1986 - long before there was consumer demand for organic products - is set to produce as much as 140,000 litres of apple juice in 2021 from the eleven different varieties of apples it currently grows when the time comes to start harvesting them in August.

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