In conversation with Anna Šebelová from Timberyard

In conversation with Anna Šebelová from Timberyard

After sampling one of Anna’s wonderful cocktails at Montrose, the sister restaurant of Timberyard in our home town, we commissioned her to create a special drink to serve at our launch of Perfumer H’s Dandelion fragrance, using NC’Nean Organic Whisky, from the Drimnin Estate, West Highland Peninsula.

Drinks event with Timberyard and Nc
Drinks offering for Perfumer H Dandelion perfume launch with Anna Šebelová from Timberyard. Anna created a syrup for mixing with Nc'Nean Organic Whisky.

Anna draws her inspiration from childhood memories, spending time in her mother’s garden, foraging in the forest, harvesting honey from their bees, preparing and conserving food for the long winter months. Those traditions and local knowledge of where ingredients can be found and harvested at the height of their individual season, equip Anna with an incredible sensibility to conserve and create beautiful and multi facetted flavours. She captures the essence of the ingredients and blends the most inspiring recipes.

Only recently she realised that the little shed at Timberyard, where she works and stores her ingredients, is a recreation of her grandmother’s cellar; a place were she could find the most delicious treasures, a memory, a space to connect with traditions.

Shed at Timberyard
The little Shed at Timberyard.
Red currant leave foraged Cairngorms, Anna Šebelová
Foraged currant flowers from the Cairngorms National Park.

We spoke to Anna about the process and inspiration behind creating the drink for the event:

“Creating a drink for the Perfumer H event came so naturally to me. I feel Lyn Harris works in a very similar way to myself. She preserves memories for herself but also to share with other people through her perfumes. Very similar to what I am trying to do with my drinks. 

The dandelion drink is based on flowering currant which is in season just now. When reading the notes about the perfume, the basil leaf caught my eye. It has so much freshness to it. I wanted to use something which would bring that freshness but also grows locally. 

A couple of weeks ago in the Highlands I drove past this huge bush of flowering currant and the aroma just hit me. (To the degree that I nearly crashed the car because I wanted to stop so badly to go and get it!) It's so luscious, green and it just screams spring. A perfect starting point. The rest of the ingredients are purely there to balance, compliment and highlight the combination of whisky & flowering currant. Dandelion root for a touch of bitterness, leaves of dandelion for a herbal note (they were both foraged around Edinburgh last year and dried), noble fir which smells a bit like pink grapefruit (we go to get fir at the Hermitage near Dunkeld) and one of our Timberyard staples - Sicilian lemon oleo saccharum. Bitter sweet lemon syrup which is made with leftover lemon peel. The peels are simply covered in sugar and left for a few months, and all the oils and juices from the peel get released and create the most delicious lemon syrup which is used throughout the year.

Blended Syrup
Blended syrup with Soda and mixed with Nc'Nean Organic Whisky.

A simple produce and process like conserving the oleo saccharum represents a lot of what I do at Timberyard. Every tiny piece of produce is used and preserved in ways which make it more delicious and most importantly make it last for long periods of time, past its seasonal best. A few years ago I took part in a sustainability course with Douglas McMaster who runs Silo, a zero waste restaurant in London. 

"Putting limits on yourself and your work forces you to be creative. Waste is a failure of imagination." Douglas McMaster - This inspires me to this day.”

Lunch prepared by Andrew Radford
Alfresco lunch, kindly prepared by Andrew Radford.
Detail from Herbgarden  at Timberyard
Detail from the herb garden at Timberyard.