We make the best salt we possibly can, here on the Scottish coast, using only West
Coast seawater. In order to do this, we have revived and perfected the ancient
Graduation Thorn Tower technique: we gather seawater, then trickle it gently down
and through a large tower of thorns – or wall - packed tightly with blackthorn bundles.
Because of the wonders of the post refrigeration age, there are no other thorn towers
in the world that make salt any more.
Unlike any other salt, the Blackthorn Salt flavour profile retains a strong, confident
saline echo of the sea, but the blackthorn wood, whilst not drastically altering function
of the salty flavour, adds a certain depth and mellowness which combines with the
other trace minerals found in the sea. This means the salt also leaves a moreish rolling
sweetness that really refracts the flavours on the plate and enables the ability to relish,
savour and scrutinise every mouthful. Even at a glance you can see that Blackthorn
Crystals have special characteristics - they are a natural soft golden crystal which
shines and sparkles in the changing light – we add nothing at all and do not tamper
with the natural product.
This makes Blackthorn pretty unique and we love hearing what others think and do
with the salt. Although only launched in April, chefs and restaurants – such as the Fife
Arms, Garry McLean and James Golding of The Pig Hotel Group as well as many others
- have already chosen to experiment with Blackthorn, using it to finish off a bespoke
cheese, incorporate into specialist charcutarie, add detailed taste notes to intracte
deserts and cocktails, allowing it to delve deep into the marbleing of aged beef and for
floating on gaspacho as well as using Blackthorn as their overall finishing salt.
Everyday we look for more ways to lessen our environmental footprint and we are
proud that our Thorn Tower method evaporates 90% of the seawater - purely due to
the wind and sun working their magic - and uses 85% less energy than the usual
applied heating methods. When the concentration of the remaining liquid is salty
enough, we gently warm it in the panhouse to draw off the crystals by hand: it is a
patient process - all about making the best we can.
Blackthorn is proud to have brought salt making back home to the West Coast of
Scotland where it was once such a thriving local industry. Our methods and means
may be very different from our forebearers’, but we would like to think they would be
proud and amazed by everything that is Blackthorn Salt today. We also look the future
and are always striving to improve. We are particularly proud of our plastic-free wee
box: the perfect size for dipping your hand in, it also ensures that the precious salt is
kept dust free and stored attractively after opening. Our ethos is always to be the best
we can be, absolutely in terms of taste, but also crystal quality - that ‘crucial crunch
factor’ - and in our attitudes and methods.