Old traditions die hard. Here at Bloodline Spirits we are following in the footsteps of our forebear Andrew Usher and his descendants. Andrew Usher ll was born in 1826 and perfected the blending of ‘Usher’s Whisky’, producing the famous Usher’s Green Stripe and Old Vatted Glenlivet (also known as OVG); he is often referred to as the “father of whisky blending”.
Andrew’s brother, John, joined the company which continued to expand, with Usher’s beer also becoming a best-seller.
Concerned that the newly formed Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) was gaining a monopoly of Scotland’s grain whisky production, Andrew Usher became one of three founders of the North British Distillery Company, building a new independent grain whisky distillery in Edinburgh.
The family connections with Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders run deep. Andrew financed several major public buildings and harbour construction projects in the Borders coastal village of St Abbs, where he had a home.
He was a lover of the arts and gifted Edinburgh the sum of £100,000 to erect a great hall for music, theatre and performances to be held. Although Andrew sadly died before its completion in 1914, the impressive Usher Hall remains one of Edinburgh’s main venues for the arts today.
John meanwhile helped establish and fund the building for the John Usher Institute of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh. For this generosity, he was made a baronet in 1899.
The family continued to make vast donations to local hospitals and charities. Sir John’s son, Robert, the second baronet, purchased Hallrule House near Jedburgh, so named from the River Rule that runs through the estate. The name lives on in our Rule Gin.
When Sir Robert died in 1933, the house passed to his son John Turnbull Usher, the third baronet. Sir John had two girls. The convention of the day held that boys, not girls could inherit. So, on Sir John’s death in 1951, Hallrule passed to his brother, Stuart, now the fourth baronet. Sir Stuart himself had two sons, but neither Peter nor Robert married or had children.
The success, power and wealth that the Ushers accumulated, was lost when Sir Peter then Sir Robert died, just four years apart in the early 1990s. With two sets of death duties to settle in quick succession, and with no one to directly take over the last heir’s rights, the family’s estates were sold off and the great Usher family name drew to a close.
Now, with the world in a new era of distilling, spirits of all genres are making acomeback. From the female line, we decided it was time to rejoin the industry and bring to you our spirit … Rule Gin.
Using the finest ingredients, distilled using our family knowledge, we have handcrafted our gin within the heart of the Tweed Valley, in our home town of Peebles. Rule Gin is both modern and traditional, rolled into one. Smooth, fresh and delicate, we wanted ourspirit to be the one people come back to again and again.