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Don’t know your ‘heads’ from your ‘tails’? Here’s a quick guide to some of the terms you might come across when reading about our gin.



Gin just wouldn’t be gin without them. These are all the tasty flavours and aromas found in our Misty Isle Gin such as fresh juniper berries, coriander, grains of paradise, orris root, liquorice root, black cubebs, lemon peel and cassia bark to name but a few and also a particular one which is top secret and is only found on the Isle of Skye.

Got you intrigued, don’t we?


The main ingredient in Gin. It is rich in oil and flavour, which is released when distilled with ethanol.

Interesting fact: (well maybe only to us) Juniper berries are not actually berries. Although it may look like a blueberry or a garden pea, depending on how mature it is, Juniper is actually a seed cone.


The soaking of botanicals and fruits in heads before distillation, which allows the flavour and colour to be absorbed by the gin.

Gin Basket

This is where all the yummy ingredients sit in the still. It allows you to convert a moonshine still into a still capable of making gin.


The first 5% of a gin run will consist of the foreshots. Foreshots contain methanol which is an extremely volatile and toxic alcohol. This will explain their solvent smell.

We isolate the foreshots thoroughly and throw them out. You’ve heard of getting blind drunk? Well, this stuff will actually do it! Consuming methanol can cause an array of issues including blindness. So don’t drink it!



The next 30% of a gin run is known as the heads, which you isolate and take off. Similar to the foreshots, the heads contain some of the shite you don’t want, but also some of the alright shite that can be used in the next batch.

Drinking your heads won’t make you blind but it will leave you with the worst hangover of your life.


The product. The good shite. The hearts are the most desirable part of the distillation process, which make up around 60% of a gin run. This is what you bottle and sell, it’s where you enjoy all the tasty homegrown flavours found in our Misty Isle Gin.


The last 5% is the leftovers from the distilling process which are known as the tails. Similar to foreshots and heads, this contains the undesirable shite you simply can’t work with and throw out.


Not a small lump that develops on the skin of the hands and feet but actually the liquid that comes out of the mashing process before it’s fermented. That probably doesn’t make it sound any better, does it?


A beer-like mix of alcohol and water in the pot – the wash is the finished fermented liquid that is then used for distillation, with each distillation process purifying the gin until you get your desired taste, strength and colour.



What we call the delicious alcohol when it’s in its gaseous form.

Cutting back

This is when we dilute the spirit down with our crystal clear Highland water to deliver the desired alcohol percentage and what gives our gin its smooth, refreshing taste.


Or Rectify is the redistilling of alcohol to make gin.

Head of the Still

“Where the magic happens”, that’s bollocks, but it is where the copper contact happens that purifies the spirit into a smooth, delicious gin.


Filled with water, the condenser in the still helps cool the alcohol vapours turning them back into a liquid.


Pot of the still

Basically, the body of the still that holds the alcohol wash. Pot stills are traditionally used for producing specific types of spirits, including single-malt Whisky and our Misty Isle Vodka.

The worm

Not the back-breaking dance move made famous from 80’s music videos and uncomfortable family weddings but actually a long metal spiral coil that’s used to condense the alcohol vapours.


No, we don’t walk around with one of these on our shoulders as we plunder the botanicals for our gin. A parrot is the little spout from the condenser where the finished gin comes out.

So there you have it! An honest and easy-to-understand run-through of some of the industry terms used in distilling gin and how we literally pour our “hearts” and souls into every bottle of Misty Isle Gin.
Slàinte (That’s cheers in Gaelic)