Adults Only (18+)

Holy Grass Vodka From Dunnet Bay Distillers Review


Reviewed by Colin Hewitt

One of the many things I relish when asked to review items is being introduced to companies and products I’m totally unfamiliar with. The Dunnet Bay Distillery and Holy Grass Vodka is one such case.

I must admit I find vodka slightly dull. I considered it the unsung beige relative of the ever-popular and highly fashionable gin. It’s always there, lurking in the drinks cabinet, relying on an exciting mixer to make it enjoyable. However, after receiving a bottle of Holy Grass Vodka (70cl, 41.5% abv), my opinion was shattered.

Only established in 2014, the family-run distillery located in Dunnet Bay in Caithness, the most northerly county in Scotland, has already accumulated many awards and accolades.

After unwrapping and removing it from its box, the first thing that struck me was how gorgeously tactile the wax-sealed bottle was. It’s reminiscent of traditional stoneware ale bottles. Naturally cold to the touch, its weight and feel exude gravitas. But you can’t judge everything with your eyes. The most important question is, what does it taste like?

‘Unique Flavour’ is an over-used term in culinary and alcohol marketing. However, in this case, it is fully justified. Anthoxanthum nitens (thank you, Google) is also known as Vanilla Sweet Grass. When crushed, it releases a vanilla scent. However, it’s much easier to remember alternative name is Holy Grass, which dates back to its use in church festivals. The grass would be scattered over church floors to release a vanilla scent when the congregation walked over them. A note is printed on the bottle stating that Holy Grass Vodka is a tribute to the self-taught botanist Robert Dick. He was the first person to discover Northern Holy Grass growing in Thurso also in Caithness.

This is an extremely smooth product, so smooth I could easily drink a measure neat with a couple of ice cubes; I couldn’t say that about too many vodka brands. A constant but delicate sweet vanilla flavour mixed with other fragrant botanicals, possibly hints of apple and chamomile. I also tried it with a dash of Sanpellegrino lemonade and some crushed ice, making a very drinkable and refreshing summer cocktail.

For more cocktail ideas, look at Dunnet Bay’s comprehensive website.

Scottish Gin & Vodka, Handcrafted With Highland Botanicals

On it, you will not only find many serving suggestions for Holy Grass Vodka but full details about Dunnet Bay’s entire range of products. These include Rock Rose Gin, gift hampers, and the highly intriguing Liquid Garnishes. I’ve never seen anything like them, tiny bottles of flavour that will, without doubt, be future celebration gifts for some of my gin-loving friends. In particular, the Cold Brew Coffee Holy Grass Vodka caught my eye. I think I will be dropping some less than subtle hints closer to my birthday.

Dunnet Bay also offer environmentally friendly refill pouches for most of their Gin and Vodkas, glassware, gift certificates, and many other gift ideas. The most original is a small hand pump which enables you to up-cycle your empty bottles into soap dispensers (in my opinion, a genius idea).

The company have a highly commendable and realistic Environmental and Sustainability Policy – it’s obvious they’re passionate about their products and their impact on the environment. The ‘Our Story’ section of their website is a lovely read. Although he’s referred to as an apprentice, I suspect that Mr Mackintosh is the true driving force behind the company, so much so he even has his own chocolate lollipops!

I’ll be following Dunnet Bay’s future progress with great interest – I’m highly intrigued to discover what innovative produce are waiting in the pipeline.

I’m sure this product would be most welcome as a unique Father’s Day gift.

Rating: A highly deserved 5 out of 5

RRP: £34.00

This product can be purchased directly from the Dunnet Bay Distillery here.

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