The Botanist Foundation

15 October 2016

The Botanist Foundation, a Community Interest Company (CIC) was officially introduced at the launch of 'The State of Nature' report in Edinburgh on September 14th.

'House of Bruichladdich' Communications Manager Carl Reavey presented ideas underpinning the CIC to an invited audience comprising members of the Scottish Parliament and senior figures from environmental charities and NGOs.

Reavey outlined how the concept of an Islay terroir, of our sense of place, is fundamental to The Botanist. Wild plants comprise an indispensable part of the suite of 22 botanicals that are foraged from a variety of Islay habitats to be used in our distillations. These botanicals are hand-picked and dried or tinctured on the island in accordance with the plants’ natural seasonal cycle.

It was stressed that without wild plants, there is no future for ‘The Botanist’.  The future of The Botanist as a brand is dependent on a sustainable supply of Islay’s wild and foraged botanicals.

It is understood that these botanicals do not exist in isolation, but exist as part of a complex range of plant communities. Our vision is of a positive, sustainable future where our activities support the diversity of Islay’s wild plants in their appropriate environmental context.  Only by protecting this will we support and improve our livelihoods and well-being.

While this makes good business sense, the company also appreciates the moral requirement to preserve the natural environment and to enhance the quality of life for the people of Islay on whose skills and community it depends.

Projects that the foundation is currently involved in include improving the biodiversity on the distillery sites on Islay, supporting the Islay Natural History Trust with its compilation of a Biological Records Database, and offering an annual bursary to a pupil from Islay High School. Botanists Dr. Richard and Mavis Gulliver are actively involved in a Plantlife-sponsored programme to reintroduce the rare prostrate juniper into suitable habitat on the island. Further projects are expected.

Also at the Edinburgh launch were CEO Simon Coughlin and Jan Reavey from Bruichladdich, who served complimentary Botanist and tonics with a foraged twist to the delegates, who included Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in the Scottish Government.