whichgin.com has been very lucky to get the chance to visit the wonderful Isle of Man again this spring. We thought we would do the noble thing and take a look at the island and what Isle of Man gin is on offer.
The Isle of Man
For those of you not familiar with the fantastic Isle of Man, it’s an island nestled between mainland Britain and Ireland. It’s most known for two main things: a cat with no tail; and the TT races (breakneck motorbike races around the island’s roads – you can see the black and white racecourse markings as you drive around the island). But there’s far more to the the Isle of Man than that. It’s an island famed for its fresh produce and exceptional range of food and drink. When we found out that there were two gin distilleries on the island, we couldn’t wait to make the three and a half hour ferry trip from England to get there.
Getting to the Isle of Man
Actually, the ferry to the Isle of Man we mention is an experience in itself. The trusty old Ben-My-Chree ferry has been making the trip from Heysham (near Lancaster in England) to Douglas (the capital of the Isle of Man) for years. It’s had a couple of mishaps in bad weather (this Youtube video of the Ben-My-Chree trying to dock in Douglas is an entertaining watch!) but it has a bit of old world charm about it. You sit in red/grey chairs as you watch England disappear (you can see Blackpool Tower in the distance as you depart) and sit surrounded by the three-legged Isle of Man motifs that adorn the boat. There are sailings from Liverpool (England) and Belfast (N.Ireland) to the Isle of Man too, but the Heysham sailing always seems like the true way to go.
The three-legged symbol of the Isle of Man on the ferry. You’ll see this. A lot.
Flying to the Isle of Man can be an experience. The airport at Ronaldsway in the south west of the island is right on the coast (and is cleverly known as Ronaldsway Airport). The aircraft that tackle the Isle of Man route from various points in the UK and Ireland aren’t large. Landing in Ronaldsway in a strong wind can be a touch unnerving. Several whichgin.com’ers have experienced aborted landings over the years and ‘shed a few pounds’ as a result).
Isle of Man gin
As noted, we found out that there are two gin distilleries active on the island. However, there is another distillery that produces ManX Spirit. The tale of ManX Spirit is a whole different story though. It involves a legal debate about when a whisky is not considered a whisky in the UK.
Anyway, back to gin. Fynoderee distills gin in the north of the island, and produces a range of gins. Unfortunately, there are no tours available. In terms of production, there are currently Spring, Summer and Winter editions available. There’s also a special Kerala Chai Edition to try too. The great news is that you can get hold of Fynoderee gin in the Ben-My-Chree’s shop (which is quite small but, given it sells gin, we’ll let it off).
The other Isle of Man distillery we found to visit was in Douglas itself. It’s the Seven Kingdom Distillery, and it’s a craft distillery, bar and restaurant all rolled into one. It produces Douglas Dry Gin. We thought it would be rude to visit the island and not try out both the gin and the restaurant. So we did (you’re welcome!) We were made to feel very welcome and were able to have a nosey at the still. You can sit in the restaurant upstairs overlooking the distillery as you eat.
Inside the Seven Kingdom Distillery, Douglas, Isle of Man
Isle of Man gin reviews
If you don’t ever get the chance to visit the Isle of Man, rest assured that gin is alive and well there! Both Fynoderee Gin and Douglas Dry Gin can be bought across the island in restaurants, shops and pubs. However, as wider distribution is a a touch limited, we’ve undertaken reviews for you. You can:
If you’re lucky enough to have tried these Isle of Man gems yourself, please drop us a line at [email protected] or leave a comment below.
Buying Isle of Man gin
You’ll note from our reviews above that we were big fans of both Fynoderee Gin and Douglas Dry Gin. We stocked up on these Isle of Man gin crackers before we left. And no, you can’t have any! We’ve tried to point you to some potential suppliers in both the UK and North America in our reviews, but you may just have to make the trip. However, it’s always worth trying Master of Malt: