Feragaia Distilled Scottish Alcohol-Free Spirit, Fife, Scotland (Alcohol 0%, Residual Sugar 0 g/l) Available through Drink Better’s website $42 (500ml bottle)

Well, isn’t this an utter delight? A distilled alcohol-free spirit, from Scotland no less.

I interviewed the two young chaps behind Feragaia a few weeks back, publishing the interview here last week, and this led me to revisit my bottle… and I’m so glad that I did.

First off, let’s get one thing straight: This is not a substitute for that most well known of Scottish spirits, by any means; Feragaia is a unique beverage that I feel sits in a realm of its very own. 

So how does this puzzling distilled (and yet alcohol-free) spirit smell and taste? Well, it’s a sophisticated and complex beast, with considerable depth of flavour, that’s for sure.

Its name roughly translates to “wild earth”, with Fera in Latin meaning “wild”, and “Gaia” in Greek meaning “earth”, and there is certainly a wild and earthy taste profile happening here. It pushes all the right buttons for me, and reminds me somewhat of the floral, fruit, and spice characteristics of those old-fashioned Scottish aromatic hard sweets/candies known as Oddfellows, so there’s definitely something of the nostalgic reminiscence going on here. Now, I remember that not everyone was too fond of Oddfellows, they were rather polarising as some found them to be a little too medicinal in nature, and that may very well be the case for less adventurous palates when it comes to Feragaia.

Pouring an appealing amber hue, Feragaia doesn’t produce many tears (read: adhesion to the inside of glass) when swirled due to the lower glycerol content (often indicative of alcohol and/or sugar levels, so that makes sense), although there is some vegetable glycerine at play here, and that does give some textural roundness in the mouth.

The aromatics are layered and deep, with high floral/citrus notes and lower cedar/sandalwood/scorched gorse bush notes coming to the fore. On the palate it sits pleasantly lightly, but the complexities really come through as it hits one’s retronasal receptors.

There’s a smokey warmth on the very back of the palate here, no doubt assisted by the inclusion of Ancho chile and cayenne pepper.

Although it was most pleasurable mixed with ginger ale, and also sat well with good tonic water and orange zest, I have to say that I rather enjoyed sipping it neat.

All in all, Fragaia is at a different level when it comes to complex non-alcoholic beverages. Highly recommended.

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

Feragaia is represented in Canada by Drink Better.

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