The Story Of Giants Basalt Rock Gin

The Gin with the ‘Giants Spirt’ – The Story Of Giants Basalt Rock Gin

Inspired by the dramatic local natural landscape, the Basalt Distillery is the home to Giants Basalt Rock Gin. Located just a stone throw from the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, this brand-new distillery represents a departure from traditional craft distilling, emphasising the latest sustainable processes, cutting-edge distilling technology, and an unrivalled focus on precision.

Having met while studying for a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering in Edinburgh, James Richardson and Martha Garbe are the founders and distillers behind Giants Basalt Rock Gin. Applying the same meticulous scientific approach to distilling, they step away from the hand-made, craft approach. It’s something new, built on precision and accuracy as a way of creating the most incredible flavours and high-quality spirits.

With the spirit of innovation driving everything they do; James and Martha chose to complete a university course set by the still manufacturer iStill to learn about their state-of-the-art distilling equipment made from stainless steel and not the traditional copper. With a focus on precision-distilling, the features of the iStill allow them to exactly replicate the liquid every single time they distil – a level of accuracy unheard of among craft distillers. Temperature, pressure and vapour speeds are just some of the distilling elements they must precisely control when creating a unique, complex, three-dimensional ultra-premium gin.

The founders wanted to develop a unique gin with powerful flavours – a bold, strong gin full of heat and spice to truly represent a ‘Giants’ spirit. Giants Basalt Rock Gin was created and given a name inspired by the basalt rock that filters the water from their own 600ft well. Key botanicals selected from the coastal regions of Northern Ireland include Kombu Royale, which gives a salty forward flavour followed by hints of mint, and sea buckthorn with a sour forward flavour and a slight fruity sweetness supporting flavour. The third key botanical is from further afield – Tailed peppers, or piper cubeba – which brings peppery spices and a slight bitterness. The addition of buckwheat harmonises the complex flavour profile of Giants Basalt Rock Gin whilst thickening the spirit to give a pleasant mellow mouthfeel. All these botanicals contribute to the complex, bold, three-dimensional flavour profile that our high 50.1% ABV carries and brings on heat and a kick.

With a focus on innovation, more products are already in the pipeline at the distillery that was only established in 2021.

What Column to Choose?


Next to our proprietary and amazing iStill Hybrid Column, 2020 saw the introduction of the iStill Potstill Column and the iStill Plated Column. Why did we introduce them and what column should you choose? Let’s dive in deeper!

iStill Potstill Column

We introduced the iStill Potstill Column to reach more established distillers, that outfitted their distilleries with potstills. For them, the iStill Potstill Column is an amazing step forward. It offers an order of magnitude more control and helps create better quality potdistilled product in a reproducible manner.

The potstill is well suited for flavor rich spirits and for those that love the extra labor of double or even triple distillation runs. Whisky, Cognac, heavy rums.

For new craft distillers that want to venture into gin (or other GNS based distilled spirits), the potstill forms a low price-point, entry level iStill, since these product need only one distillation. Be aware that the Potstill Column does not give the same amount of control over heads and heads compaction as the iStill Hybrid Column does.

iStill Plated Column

We introduced the iStill Plated Column to reach more established distillers, that outfitted their distilleries with plated stills. For them, the iStill Plated Column is an amazing step forward. It offers an order of magnitude more control and helps create better quality spirits faster and in a more reproducible manner.

The plates in this type of column function as tails traps. This makes the iStill Plated Column a good alternative for those spirit categories that can do without tails smearing, such as fruit brandy, and some families of Irish whiskey and Bourbon.

iStill Hybrid Column

This is the original and proprietary iStill Column. The one column to rule them all. The most versatile column on offer to craft distillers today.

The iStill Hybrid column can be operated as a potstill, giving you all the flavor a more traditional potstill would give you, but with the benefit of doing so in just a single distillation run. All the benefits, none of the drawbacks. It excels at whisky, cognac, gin, rum, and vodka.

iStill’s Hybrid Column can also work as a plated or column still, where a more pure products are conceived. Like vodka or GNS.

This is the column that fits all craft distillers. It can make each and every spirit category, is tremendously efficient, and gives total control over vapor speeds, cuts, and product quality.

iStill Columns and their benefits …

iStill Disruption: Fire your Recipe Developer!


Here’s the second post in a short series of how iStill, with its amazing technology, is empowering the craft distilling industry. Every post highlights one topic or field that we are disrupting. We’ll explain what is different, how the change envisioned is empowering the industry, and what your specific benefits are.

Today? Today we discuss how iStill made it possible for you to fire your recipe developer and – instead – own recipe development yourself. Your recipes are your future money makers. You want them in-house not outsourced!

The old way

Traditionally, a business owner, that wants to start a craft distillery, needs to hire a recipe developer. The recipe developer designs the gin, vodka, rum, or whiskey you want to produce. What herbs will you use? What grains should you purchase? What standard operating procedure do you follow? Where are your cut points? What flavor profile do you aim for? What flavor intensity do you want to achieve?

And, to obtain answers to the questions asked in the above paragraph, how will your mashing and fermenting procedures look like? How do you extract flavors from herbs and berries? What equipment do you need in order to support the processes the recipe developer thinks you need? Will you age your products? If so, how? At what ABV?

The list of questions is almost endless. Distilling has always been considered something almost “magical”, with only a merry few being introduced to its secrets. Those are the master distillers and recipe developers we should all be after. That’s where the secret knowledge resides, that we want access to!

Of old, recipe development has been expensive and out of the business owner’s direct control. Here’s how iStill, with it’s disruptive approach, empowers you to become the master of your distillery’s future …

The new way

Our founder and CEO Odin designed the Holy Trinity of Distillation. It is a comprehensive model of how flavors are formed, concentrated, and selected in craft distilled products. The impact of understanding this model is so profound, that, the moment you learn how to work with it, you are able to create your own recipes. Better recipes than most other “recipe developers” out there, that pretent to possess “secret” knowledge, can deliver because they base their work on unproven, unscientific anecdotes, rather than the science the iStill University trains you in.

We support our theory of distillation with a set of amazing courses, that transform you into a recipe developer. Why? Craft distilling is all about flavor. Thus, the craft distiller should possess intimate knowledge on how flavors are formed, and how they can be concentrated and highlighted in your drinks. It is what makes you stand out. It is what will make you successful.

We support your training and recipe development with the amazing iStill Mini. It is small enough to help you learn from making a mistake or two. It is controlled to the extend that you can do your recipe development on ‘m. Before you scale up to the bigger production iStills.

What future do you choose?

As a craft distillery owner, you want to own your future. Maximizing growth opportunities while at the same time limiting risks, dependencies, and costs are essential in order to achieve the future that you envision.

Traditional ways hook you and set you up for failure. What if the recipe developer leaves? What if you disagree with his approach or the outcomes presented? What if you want to develop your craft distilled spirits in another direction? Who is in charge now? You? Not anymore, it seems.

iStill provides an alternative. Rather than spending 20k on a recipe developer, you can now spend half that amount of money with us. You get proper training. You get the R&D iStill Mini. You’ll learn how to make better spirits than the competition. You are back in charge of your distillery and your future. Isn’t that the future that empowers you? Isn’t that the direction all of us should take?

What future do you choose?

Reminder & Amendment: iStill Covid Discount Policy!


As the Covid Pandemic keeps bothering large sections of the world and its economies, the craft distilling industry does not stay unaffected. How do you sell spirits to restaurants that aren’t open? How do you create revenue when you cannot do distillery tours. Many find it hard to start or invest in these uncertain times.

As the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of distillation technology and equipment, we want to support craft distillers in these often challenging times. Based on the great turnover we have seen during the pandemic, with distillers flocking to our advanced and hyper-efficient solutions, we are able to create a Covid Discount Policy.

Covid Discount Policy

The iStill 500, 2000, and 5000 hybrids, fully automated, stainless steel, now come with a discount. As follows:

  • The iStill 500 Hybrid Automated gets a EUR 5.000,- Covid-related discount;
  • The iStill 2000 Hybrid Automated gets a EUR 10.000,- Covid-related discount;
  • The iStill 5000 Hybrid Automated gets a EUR 15.000,- Covid-related discount.

The Rules of the Game

The discounts are only given on the above models. The discount is added (or subtracted, actually) from the Purchase Agreement. The Purchase Agreement, with the Covid Discount, will only be given out once. If there is no urgency at your end to sign the Purchase Agreement, well, then it is probably not urgent that we help out with a discount to start with. In other words: you will be offered this discount only once.

The discount only applies to orders being made in the remainder of 2021. The Purchase Agreement must be signed in 2021 and the first invoice, for the downpayment, must be paid before the end of this year.

Ordering process

Do you want to order an iStill with the Covid Discount? Please reach out to


Due to the success of our Covid Discount Policy, and given how busy we are, for this discount to be applicable, the associated signed purchase agreement needs to be in at iStill HQ no later than December 16th 2021.