Lindores Abbey Distillery

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Aqua Vitae

Lindores Abbey

Aqua Vitae

Aqua Vitae, a multi award winning handcrafted botanical spirit, is made on site using spices, dried fruit and locally grown green herbs such as Douglas fir and sweet cicely. With citrus notes and full of sweet and spiced flavours, it is delicious as a mixed drink or a cocktail base.

The earliest Aqua Vitae was made at Lindores as long ago as 1494, and we’ve authentically recreated that recipe and reimagined it as an inquisitively versatile spirit. Today, our own spirit is distilled in pot stills and then infused with a blend of spices and herbs, including cleavers, and sweet cicely, which grow in our gardens, amidst the grounds of the ancient Abbey. It is entirely natural, with no added sugars.

FREE Gift Pack now available. Each bottle comes beautifully presented in a Lindores Abbey presentation box with a seasonal  recipe card and information. The wrapper also allows you to write a gift note. Subject to availability.

Xmas Gift Packaging
Xmas Gift Packaging
Award Winning Aqua Vitae
Award Winning Aqua Vitae

Award Winning

In 2020 we were given the Gold Medal in the SIP Awards for the Botanical Category and in 2019 we were delighted to receive a Silver Medal in the Fruit Spirit category at the International Wine and Spirit Competition – IWSC. The  judges commented that our Aqua Vitae is a great composition of flavours, with the lemon verbena keeping the dried-fruit-like raisin and date aromas and the taste balanced and fresh – a nice blend of flavours and textures, with an exciting harmony of flavours and a delicious finish.

We were also awarded a 2 Star Outstanding Award at the Great Taste Awards 2019 by the Guild of Fine Food – the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink. It has been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world and the ‘epicurean equivalent of the Booker prize’. Quite simply the Great Taste logo is the sign you can trust when buying food and drink in your local, quality retailer.

Great-Taste-2019-2StarsSIP AWARDS 2020 GOLD MEDAL



Tasting Notes: Initial light top notes of peach and pear, give way to hints of ginger, clove and cinnamon spice. Rich, caramel sweetness and some lovely light herbal notes on the finish. Complex and rewarding.

We recommend drinking pouring 50ml of Aqua Vitae over ice in a Highball glass, topped with Ginger Ale, and garnish with a twist of Orange.

We have discovered that Aqua Vitae is an incredibly versatile drink  that can be used to make the most amazing summer and winter recipes, so grab some ice, a few ingredients and release your inner mixologist!

Aqua Vitae Perfect Serve
Aqua Vitae Perfect Serve
John Cor
John Cor

Old recipe

The earliest ‘aqua vitae’ that was made at Lindores Abbey as long ago as 1494.  Thought to have helped to ‘sloeth age’ and ‘abandoneth melancholy’, it was a powerful tonic that was drunk by kings and commoners alike.

It was Aqua Vitae that Brother John Cor and the monks were making for King James IV in 1494 here at Lindores Abbey.  It would have been a powerful clear spirit, made using water from the ‘Holy Burn’ and barley from the surrounding fields. The strong spirit would have been infused with plants and herbs that grew wild in the grounds of the Abbey, as well as other plants especially cultivated by the monks.  More exotic herbs and spices brought back from Flanders, where the monks, or their agents, traded salmon and wool with the merchants of Europe, would also have been used. 

The original Aqua Vitae would have been a fiery spirit, used as much as a medicine or tincture, as a libation.


The wonders of Aqua Vitae

In the 13th century one Theoricus wrote a proper treatise  in praise of the wonders of the spirit:

‘…it sloeth age, strengtheneth youth, it helpeth digestion, it cutteth fleume,  it abandoneth melancholy, it relisheth the hart, it lighteneth the mynd, it quickeneth the spirites, it cureth the hydropsie, it healeth the strangury, it pounceth the stone, it expelleth gravell, it puffeth away all ventositie, it kepeth & preserveth the hed from whirlyng, the eyes from dazelyng, the tongue from lispyng, the mouth from mafflyng, the teeth from chatteryng, the throte from rattling, the weasan from stieflyng, the stomacke from wambling, the belly from wirtchyng, the guts from rumbling, the hands from shivering, the sinowe from shrinking, the veynes from crumpling, the bones from akyng, the marrow from soaking.’

High praise indeed!  Easy to see why we decided to recreate this remarkable spirit.

Personalised Aqua Vitae bottle
Personalised Aqua Vitae bottle

Personalised 20cl bottle of Aqua Vitae

For a truly unique gift why not buy a personalised 20cl bottle of Lindores Abbey Aqua Vitae. You can come to the distillery and fill the bottle yourself or let us fill it for you, and send it to you. The bottle can be personalised with the initials of the person the bottle is for, as well as the date the bottle was filled. You can also name the spirit, so be as inventive as you can!

To order: Place the product in your basket and add a note to your order with the following details:

  1. Initials you would like on the bottle: (It is a small label so we can only fit initials or a very small name!)
  2. Date: If you do not specify a special date we will just add the date it was filled.
  3. The name of your Spirit: You can call the Spirit whatever you like,  so maybe Diane’s Delight, or Marks Marvellous Medicine?

20cl bottle.  40% ABV.

Buy a 20cl bottle

Release your inner Mixologist

Apothecary Experiences

If you have always wanted to release your inner mixologist why not join us for an Apothecary Experience in our stunning Apothecary?

You can go on a  flavour journey, exploring all of your taste and smelling senses and create your own truly unique version of Aqua Vitae, using herbs, spices and spirit tinctures.

These sessions last two and a half hours and include a Distillery Tour, as well as a 20cl bottle of your own hand-labelled Aqua Vitae to take away and enjoy at home.

Limited spaces and strictly by prior appointment, these tours are £75.00 per person.

Maximum of eight people per session.

Find out more
Apothecary Experiences
Apothecary Experiences

Become a Member of the Preservation Society

By becoming a member of our Preservation Society, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of Aqua Vitae from our first batch.

Preservation Society members will also have early access to all of our future bottlings and distillery news, plus invites to our annual Preservation Society ‘Burning of the Bear’ ceremony and tickets to the distillery and visitor centre.

Become a Member

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