Everything! No, there are 3 main ways, the method, the taste and the ethos.
Method: We use a modern version of the ancient graduation tower method, dating back to the sixteenth century. Inspired by structures in Poland and Germany, Gregorie, an architect, revitalised this age-old technique for the 21st century. By using the incredible natural forces of the West Coast of Scotland, (principally the wind, but also sun when it comes out) Blackthorn captures all that we were looking for. Every crystal comes from pure seawater, gathered locally and evaporated on the only working Thorn Tower in the world. This incredible structure harnesses the power wind and sun to dry off 90% of that water. In the Pan House, our Salters then use their unique skills and patience to retain as many of the natural minerals as possible and gently draw off the beautiful Blackthorn crystals. There are no chemicals or industrial processes used; no bleaching, seeding or adding.
Flavour: Blackthorn’s flavour profile has all the characteristics we look for in a salt - it gives an echo of the sea, but there is also a depth and mellowness (provided by those precious minerals and bark tannins) which respects and elevates flavours allowing them to resonate satisfactorily and leaving a lingering taste of morishness.In particular, we work hard to capture around 6x more calcium (enhancing sweeter characteristics), potassium and magnesium (for the sour and bitter) to work alongside the sodium chloride (salty) and the tannins (savoury umami) so that our salt is not simply salty per se, but works to elevate each of the 5 basic tastes.
Ethos: Whilst it is hard to be perfect and we are always seeking improvements, we test all of our business decisions against implications for sustainability and check whether we can innovate further to ensure we are being the best that we can be. Being very much a family business, we are also aware of the long term, our place in the world and in the local environment, the privilege that we have being able to work in the way that we can and the legacy that we leave behind. With this in mind, we are committed to supporting schools and colleges where we are able and often welcome groups of students/ children to come and learn about the Blackthorn way, whether from a culinary, business, sustainable or innovative angle.