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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.

Aqua Vitae is available in 70cl, 20cl (which can be personalised) and 5cl miniature bottles which will allow you to try our Lindores spirit before you purchase a bottle.

Aqua Vitae
Aqua Vitae
Aqua Vitae
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
Aqua Vitae
Aqua Vitae

If I could give this 6 stars I would


“Amazing!!! Unlike anything I’ve tried before and I look at myself as a bit of a drinks buff. I saw the bottle on the back bar in The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and it caught my eye as looked beautiful. The bartender was very knowledgeable about the product and explained it was called Aqua Vitae meaning ‘water of life’ in Latin and was from a new whisky distillery in Fife called Lindores Abbey. He went on to tell me about the fascinating history surrounding both the Abbey and the spirit , I love a drink with a bit of heritage and a good story behind it, this was ticking all the right boxes for me and I hadn’t even tried it yet.

I asked for a dram and to my surprise I was asked if I’d like to have it with a mixer. The bartender explained it was a malt spirit with added botanicals and spices and could be enjoyed either like a whisky or a gin. This caught the interest of my wife, not normally a malt lover, so I had one on the rocks and she went with the recommendation with ginger ale and orange peel.

Both drinks were stunning and I could imagine enjoying both as a winter dram and a summer cocktail. It’s a bit more sweet and herbaceous than a whisky but more depth of character than a gin.

We are now onto our 3rd bottle purchase so thought it about time I left a review. Couldn’t recommend it enough, great in cocktails all year round. Great to see someone exploring something other than Gin. Top marks Lindores.”

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.

1494 Membership Pack
1494 Membership Pack

Become a Member of the 1494 Preservation Society

By becoming a member of our 1494 Preservation Society, you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of Aqua Vitae from our first batch.

Preservation Society members will also be given an exclusive bottle of our first release of Lindores Abbey Scotch Whisky and then early access to all numbered future bottlings and distillery news, plus invites to our annual Preservation Society ‘Burning of the Bear’ ceremony and free entry to the distillery and visitor centre for life, discounts on venue hire and in the store, and a tree planted in your name in our orchard.

Become a 1494 Member

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