Pretty in Pink - Discover our Elder Shee Rose artwork

01 July 2022

Pretty in Pink - Discover our Elder Shee Rose artwork

The myth behind the label

We caught up with Manx artist Julia Ashby Smyth – the amazing talent behind our Fynoderee labels – to discover the inspiration behind the artwork for Elder Shee Rose, our new Manx Rosag Gin.

Fynoderee Manx Rosag Gin – Elder Shee Rose is now available to buy in our online shop. 

With every new Fynoderee spirit, there’s always an extra enchantment. Julia Ashby Smyth is a wonderfully talented Manx artist who specialises in detailed and delightful evocations of our Island’s folklore.

A unique creative force, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with Julia from the birth of The Fynoderee Distillery, and her remarkable illustrations have adorned our bottles and brought our beloved family of fae-folk to life ever since.

Following the release of our latest creation, Elder Shee Rose – Manx Rosag Gin, we caught up with Julia to talk about the inspiration behind the blushing label.

     Pencil base, start of colour:

Pencil Base

“When we first started conjuring ideas together, Tiffany and Paul were keen on making sure Elder Shee Rose could sit alongside its ‘sister gin’, Elder Shee.”

“So we planned on having the colours of the two bottles blend into one another, while remaining distinctively different: the vivid verdant greens, gradually popping with floral pinks; roses rambling through the Elder Tree.”

     Colour tests and pencils:

Colour Tests

 Colour Visual

Julia's Pencils

“The rare Burnet Rose that can be seen up on the Ayres was a particular muse. Although normally white, it sometimes has a beautiful pink hue which would fit beautifully with the peachy hues and sunset depth of the label. It also works as a nod to a little extra Manxness!”

      Half done board:

Half Done Board

    Colour visual with roses:


“While swallows fill the sky in the Elder Shee artwork, in Rose I wanted to bring in the sand martins against a white sun in a sunset sky. The sand martins and house martins arrive a couple of weeks before the swallows, so they are most definitely a part of the ornithological prelude to summer. I always like going up to the Ayres to watch their aerial acrobatics.”

“An image of the moon is a regular feature of Fynoderee bottle artwork, but including the sun instead felt right for a vibrant, summery spirit.”

“It’s a marriage of Manx myth and our Island’s stunning environment in the summer months: roses, the be-guiling transition from afternoon to early evening, the relaxing gentle waft of deeply scented blooms, the graceful swooping and excited chatter of martins, and a possible 'naughtiness of faeries' peeping from deep within the foliage. All bathed in a pink sunset to accompany a pink gin.”

“Our Island’s unique mix of Celtic and Viking heritage obviously plays an enormous role in all elements of Fynoderee’s look and feel. ‘Rosag’ (pronounced Roshag) is Manx Gaelic for Rose, so the new spirit is called a Manx Rosag Gin rather than a Manx Dry Gin. On the rune stone, which often features in the labels, I used the Ogham runes to spell ‘Rosag’ (similarly, the Elder Shee label has runes which spell out ’Elder’).”

   Sand martins in a pink sunset sky, with Ogham runes and summer blooms:

Elder Shee Rose Close Up

“’Shee' in Manx has a dual meaning, of both 'mythical being' and 'tranquility, peace, harmony'. Seeing as we have an Elder 'Shee', it would seem only proper to have a Rosag 'Shee' – although possibly more correctly ‘Shee-ny-Rosag’ or similar.”

“If I was a faery living in a rose bush, I would expect my wings to help camouflage my existence, so I created rose petal wings and used the bright green of the stem and foliage to colour Shee-ny-Rosag. Demure yet sleazy – anyone who has watched the original Total Recall movie will know what I mean!”

     Base colours and starting Shee-ny-Rosag:

Starting Shee-ny-Rosay

      Julia colouring Shee-ny-Rosag:

Shee-ny-Rosag Faerie

     Finished Shee-ny-Rosag and incomplete left side:

Finished Faerey

    Shee-ny-Rosag on the final label:

Pink Faerie

“And finally, naturally, ‘Slim’ the hare also makes an appearance, as it does in many of the designs – living its life through the bottle labels. On this particularly blissful blushing day, Slim and family accompany the Fynoderee for a jaunt up the hills, fitting delightfully in the lower 'bump' of the label.”

     Naked 'Slim' and 'Fyn':

Uncoloured Fynodereee

    Coloured hare family and The Fynoderee himself:

Coloured Fynoderee

    The finished label:

Fynoderee and Hares - Elder Shee Rose Label

Fynoderee Manx Rosag Gin – Elder Shee Rose is now available to buy in our online shop. 


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