It was 2008 when Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox, descendants of the Dukes of Gordon, took over the running of Gordon Castle and decided to restore the walled garden to its former glory.
Used for many years as a commercial raspberry garden, before which it had been lying derelict, the decision was the beginning of a long and on-going adventure which, along the way, has allowed the estate to diversify its activities and bring a touch of Scottish tranquility to the world.
Built in the 1470s and enlarged in the 1770s by the Duke of Gordon, Gordon Castle was one of Scotland’s largest houses and the spiritual home of the House of Gordon, one of Scotland’s oldest families. The estate is located in the Spey valley in Moray and includes a stretch of the Spey River, its salmon-rich waters running through the estate.
It is the home and inspiration for Gordon Castle Scotland, an exclusive lifestyle brand launched in 2014 with lines ranging from small-batch premium gin, bath and beauty, food and drink, Scottish tweed, fine bone china and engraved glass, all inspired by the eight-acre walled gardens. When restored, it will be oneof Europe’s largest kitchen gardens, encompassing a café, shop and visitor attraction, all built around 259 espaliered fruit trees growing across 2,550 feet of 16-foot high walls.
Nothing in the garden goes to waste: the lavender and mint beds produce botanicals for the clean, crisp gin; the chamomile is the basis of the loose-leaf tea and fresh chillies go into the homemade chutney. In the summer, all the café’s salads and vegetables are homegrown.
The brand has gone from strength to strength and currently has over 250 product lines, each of which brings a little of the garden’s serenity to people all over the world. Gordon Castle Gin is a multi-award-winning spirit, sold at a thousand outlets throughout Europe, including Marks & Spencer, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.
The bath and beauty collection is as pure as it is effective, proving Angus’ statement that ‘provenance doesn’t get any purer’. From salt scrub to hair care, body lotion and hand wash, every item is fragranced with essential oils captured from the garden’s herbs and flowers. And they are absolutely natural, with no added artificial fragrances, colours, parabens, glycols, sulphates, phthalates or petrochemicals, and are never tested on animals.
Gordon Castle’s genius has been to innovate by drawing on its rich Scottish history, land and flora, and to collaborate with other British brands – such as Halcyon Days for fine bone china and Johnstons of Elgin for Gordon Castle tweed – where every single product has provenance back to the walled garden. As Angus says: ‘It’s so important to safeguard the future of traditional Scottish estates and, for us, using the walled garden as the inspiration for the Gordon Castle Scotland brand seemed a natural progression. Here’s to the future as we strive for world-wide recognition for the products, brand and estate.’ We will drink to that – with Gordon Castle gin, of course.
GORDON CASTLE SCOTLAND FOCHABERS, MORAY, SCOTLAND IV32 7PQ +44 (0)1343 612315