University toasts 525th birthday with commemorative local gin

Award-winning local distillers Porter's Gin and the University of Aberdeen have joined forces to produce a limited-edition gin to celebrate the University's 525th birthday.

Created using botanicals from the University’s Cruickshank Botanical Gardens, and with only 525 bottles available, this exclusive tipple may soon prove to be a collector’s item. 

Proceeds made from sales of the commemorative gin will go towards the 525 Bursary Fund, set up as part of the University’s birthday celebrations to support students who are in financial difficulty. 

Celebrations throughout the year have included a host of 525 themed events, an ambitious campaign to recognise 525 exceptional University alumni, the introduction of the 525 Bursary Fund, and now the launch of this unique local gin. 

Mark Paterson, Curator at the University’s Cruickshank Botanic Garden describes how they chose the botanicals: “The concept behind the creation of the gin recipe was to work with the range of flora grown at Cruickshank Botanic Garden and identify and distil a key botanical that was in use during each of the seven centuries since 1495. We have included pear from the 15th century, myrtle from the 16th, apple from the 17th, heather from the 18th, dandelion from the 19th, sage from the 20th and nettle from the 21st century.” 

Porter’s Gin was founded by University of Aberdeen graduates Ben Iravani and Josh Rennie along with their friend Alex Lawrence and it has quickly become a global success story.  Ben Iravani explains: “Josh and I met while studying at the University in 2003 and have lots of fun memories from our time at Aberdeen, so we are delighted to work with them and to be able to help provide support to students by contributing to the 525 Bursary Fund. 

“When we developed the 525 Gin we wanted to work with Mark Paterson at Cruickshank to produce an exceptional gin that reflects the history of the University and we are all extremely proud of the final product. The University has such a rich history of botany and we're really happy to have been able to work on this project to bring to life a product which celebrates this legacy. 

"Balancing botanicals to create a refined, new gin recipe isn't an easy task, but it's what we do at Porter's! We use our own custom-built vacuum still which distils botanicals at a low temperature so we can retain the flavours that can be lost when distilling at higher temperatures.” 

The 42% ABV gin was priced at £39 and limited to three bottles per person, with all 525 numbered bottles sold on Friday, December 11.

Professor George Boyne, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Aberdeen adds: “We are all extremely proud of our history here at the University of Aberdeen and our 525 celebrations reflect both that pride and our vision for the future.  The launch of our Aberdeen 2040 strategy at the beginning of our 525th year set out our commitment towards sustaining our contribution to the success of Aberdeen and the surrounding region so we are delighted to work with Porter’s on this inspiring project.  

“The measure of a university includes looking at the success of its alumni, and the team at Porter’s Gin is an excellent example of one of the many success stories that have grown from the University of Aberdeen community.” 

Rob Donelson, Executive Director of Advancement at the University adds: “We are always very proud of our alumni and the many contributions they make to their careers and to society. The 525 Gin project is a novel and spirited way to celebrate this milestone anniversary in the University’s history, a university well worth toasting.”