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Byron Holland - Managing Director at Mallorca Distillery

A British craft distiller in love with Mallorca

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| Ana Hernández, Mallorca Editor | Published

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Byron Holland - Managing Director at Mallorca Distillery

Mallorca Distillery was founded two years ago by a couple of Brits who decided to make the island their home in 2015. Located in the heart of Palma, this is the first small-scale distillery in Mallorca, producing locally inspired gin and vodka.

The island's spirit has been infused in all of their creations, from the local botanicals used in the distillation process to the design of their logo or the intricate decoration of their bottles, inspired by the traditional 'suelo hidráulico' tiles. This all reflects the love of Byron and Amber for their new home, as well as their wish to give back to the island.

We had the chance to talk to Byron and ask him about Mallorca Distillery, the products they make and their connection to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca.

Mallorca's first small-scale craft distillery

Tell us a little bit about Mallorca Distillery, how it started out and where you're based.
Situated in the heart of Mallorca's capital city, this urban distillery is the first small-scale craft distillery in Palma. With a bespoke 500-litre copper pot still, Mallorca Distillery produces local premium craft spirits with care, gifting a taste of the island in every bottle.

The small craft distillery showcases the creative endeavours of Founders Amber and Byron, focusing initially on launching two premium products, Palma Gin and Palma Vodka, that really capture the beauty of the island. Mallorca Distillery’s small scale production also gives Head Distiller, James Gibbons, the opportunity to personally oversee each production, ensuring intricate care and attention during every distillation, with an unparalleled focus on quality.

Mallorca Distillery has a commitment to the island and its environment. Ingredients are locally and ethically foraged throughout the year, allowing the natural flavours of the island to be represented in each bottle. The unique Mallorcan botanicals capture the spirit of Mallorca with every distillation, gifting a taste of this beautiful island.

Being able to create organic spirits plays a vital role in the distillery’s ethos. From starting with an organic base spirit to helping support the island’s organic farmers, each week the team sources fresh botanicals to create the unparalleled taste and quality you find in each bottle.

The distillery is located in Poligono Son Castello.

Why open a small craft distillery in Mallorca?
Well, in summary, my beautiful wife Amber and I fell in love with this incredible island over eight years ago, and we officially moved here over three years ago. We were both very excited to build a life for ourselves and our family here, and to be able to give something back to this wonderful island.

When we arrived, we noticed how popular gin and tonics had become, served in Spanish copa glasses. We were excited to try the local gins but we found that there were very few and that there were no premium spirits hand-made locally. We knew that this could be what we could offer the island, our new home.

Before coming here, we lived in Edinburgh, where we had a Belgian craft beer bistro. It was there that we saw the artisanal distillery revolution at first hand, with products such as Edinburgh Gin and The Botanist. So, as soon as we returned to the island, we knew that Palma Gin would come to be born.

Gin & vodka infused with Mediterranean flavours

Tell us a bit about your signature spirit, Palma Gin. How is it produced? What makes it so deeply rooted in Mallorcan tradition? Why the name?
After the design, comes the flavour of our products. We wanted our gin to give a taste of the island to anyone who drinks it. With this in mind, we started to look for products and plants that grow naturally here and we worked very hard to create a gin which, in our opinion, represents Mallorca and its delicate flowers, citrus fruit, and its soil.

Palma gin includes seven local botanicals: almond flowers, orange leaves, tomato branches, orange and lemon peels, and junipers. These botanicals together with our other seven organic botanicals are what makes this gin both unique and delicious.

Using locally sourced, organic produce also afforded us the opportunity to work with local farmers. At the moment we’re working with an organic farmer who will soon be able to provide us with almost all of the products we need for our gin right here on the island. This is more of a longer-term goal but we have the intention of building a company which can really give back to the island, by helping local farmers in this way, and also lending a hand when they need help at harvest time.

You have created a limited-edition Winter Gin – what's in it? Are you planning on creating any other limited-edition spirits?
Our winter-warming, oak-aged gin is a twist on our Palma gin recipe. Once distilled, the gin is then aged in oak barrels which previously stored wine from the local Manto Negro grapes in Binissalem. As a winter special, we have also added some festive spices including vanilla, cinnamon and cloves – the perfect treat to enjoy on a cold winter evening.

In autumn, we will be launching another oak-aged gin as a limited edition. However, if it goes well we could keep this as one of our base products. Other than that, we will be launching limited edition spirits and liquors in the future.

We've also heard that you're making a brand new Palma Vodka. What's different about it? When will it be available?
It is available now! Using organic wheat spirit, we blend Mallorcan water from the Tramuntana mountains with a touch of salt from the Flor de Sal pans in Es Trenc to create our unique tasting Organic Vodka.

The unique flavour profile comes from the Flor de Sal salt, which captures the subtle essence of the Mediterranean Sea. The result is a well-rounded, slightly sweet vodka with a perfectly balanced finish, gifting a taste of the island in every bottle. Palma Organic Vodka is a unique premium product, made from the island, for the island.  

Your bottles feature a gorgeous design, what's the inspiration?
Our goal was to take all the island had to offer and in some way capture this in the feeling, look and flavour of all of our products. We want our products to really represent the historic and vibrant city of Palma and the beautiful island of Mallorca.

Take the design of the bottle, for example, we went to a family-run Mallorcan business in Campos, Huguet, where they’ve been making tiles on the island for over 80 years. It was a key inspiration for the starting point for our stunning tile design. Then, the logo is inspired by the rose window in the cathedral, La Seu, the most iconic place in Palma. The bottles are all printed with organic ink, where we also tell you a little more about our gin on the back, in Mallorcan, Spanish, and English – respecting local languages is something we feel to be important.

Where can we find Mallorca Distillery's products? Any bars or shops?
We are in some boutique hotels, bars and restaurants in Mallorca including La Residencia and Club del Gourmet in El Corte Inglés.

More than just a distillery

You've also opened the doors of your distillery to the public. Can you tell us a bit about the tours you organise and the Build Your Own Gin experience?
There are several tours available. The most popular is our Distillery Tour which takes approximately one hour. You will be greeted with a refreshing Palma Gin & Tonic whilst being taken through a brief history of gin and how it has become so popular today. We will then teach you about Palma Ginebra, the unique and special botanicals we use and the process of distilling it in our handcrafted copper still. Of course, there will be a tasting of our products involved along the way. We hold tours daily from Tuesday to Friday at 12:00, and on Saturdays at 11:00 for a maximum of eight people (we also have corporate groups available for a  maximum of 25 people).

Also very popular is our Make Your Own Gin Experience, which takes approximately three hours. On arrival, you will be greeted by your Gin Smith and given a refreshing Palma Gin & Tonic as we explain to the group the (responsible) debauchery of the next few hours. For the first hour of your session, your Gin Smith will take you on a journey through the history of gin and how Mallorca Distillery and Palma Ginebra have been created including a distillery tour.

You will then receive a detailed explanation of the processes involved in creating gin and an in-depth knowledge of how different botanicals affect the flavours in your gin. You will be given the opportunity to taste a huge array of different distillates and see which botanicals you would like to use in order to create the unique flavour of your own Gin.

Once you have carefully chosen your botanicals, your Gin Smith will assist you in blending your unique recipe and bottling your very own Mallorcan Gin to take home. We will also keep a record of your unique recipe so additional bottles of your special gin can be purchased online once you run out.

We hold classes daily from Monday to Friday at 15:00 and on Saturdays at 13:00, we need a minimum of two and a maximum of eight people to run this experience.

Top tips for our readers

What is your favourite area on the island?
The west coast of the island. When me and Amber used to work on the private yachts, cruising on the west coast on a beautiful calm day is breathtaking. All the hidden coves you can anchor in and go for a swim, as well as some beautiful villages all along the coast.

A great bar for a drink?
We love taking people to Es Baluard for a Gin & Tonic or a cocktail. The bar at the museum is located on top of the historic wall, with views to the cathedral and the castle with amazing sunsets.

What is your favourite time of year on the island?
Spring is the perfect time to go out and experience what Mallorca has to offer. Temperatures are ideal for one of the many amazing hikes or scenic drives on the island and it is just before all the holidaymakers arrive.

Finally, can you give us a tip to escape the crowds in the summer?
One of the many hidden coves Mallorca has to offer is usually a good place to get away from the crowds in the summer. If you are lucky, you can have your very own private beach/cove for the day.

More inspiration...

You can purchase their flavourful, Mediterranean-inspired concoctions – their signature Palma Gin, their new Palma Organic Vodka and their special-edition Palma Winter Gin – online. Or, if you find yourself in Mallorca, pop in for a tour of the distillery or try your hand at creating your very own gin.

Visit Mallorca Distillery