Although it's more famous for whisky, Scotland has produced some amazing gins over the years. These 7 superb Scottish Gins are a few of our favourites.
Britain has a fairly solid history with gin, we’ve loved and loathed it, banned it and rioted over it and we’re now leading the worldwide revival in gin appreciation. Gin is undoubtedly a British thing but it’s normally considered an English thing and, thanks to the term ‘London Dry’, it’s almost synonymous with England’s capital. But a London Dry doesn’t have to be made in London and most of it isn't.
Britain's gin exports make up a whopping 70% of the international gin market, making us the largest gin producing nation in the world. But did you know 70% of all British gin is made in Scotland? Which makes it the world's leading producer of gin!
A good proportion of Scottish gin is made in Fife for Gordon’s, and other large gin brands like Tanqueray are also based in the country. Scotland is also host to an amazing range of craft distilleries; from repurposed hen houses to whisky distilleries branching out and determined gin lovers creating their own, perfect tipple, there are a multitude of intriguing Scottish gins.
Based in Caithness and distilled with locally sourced botanicals that have all the character of the Highlands and the Scottish shore, Rock Rose is comprehensively Scottish. The use of so many local ingredients, grown in such a harsh environment, presents a challenge for Rock Rose. Each year their ingredients will subtly change to reflect the wild climate. That means, this is a vintage gin, with each year's bottling tasting slightly different, but equally delicious.
A fabulously zesty, dry gin, incredibly varied on the nose, aromatic yet with strong juniper coming through. Floral and fruity, this spirit presents among the best of modern gins.
The Saxa Vord distillery is the most northerly distillery in the United Kingdom, and by quite some distance. The remote and rugged location informs both the gin and the passionate people that make it; it certainly isn't easy making gin with one of the smallest commercial stills in the UK in a location where nearly everything has to be brought in by boat.
That effort has paid off though with a sterling spirit that picked up a Silver medal at the 2015 San Francisco Spirit Awards. Made with locally harvested apple mint, Shetland Reel has a lightness on the nose with juniper, coriander and gentle citrus peel that lead onto a crisp and flavoursome palate. With a rich mouthfeel, Shetland Reel Gin finishes on an aromatic, herbal note.
Based on an original recipe that has been kept secret since 1947. Pickering’s is strongly aromatic in the mouth with lots of pine and citrus. There are hints of liquorice and cinnamon, slightly nutty notes and a sweet lavender-like softness. Refreshingly crisp and dry with a long spicy residual flavour.
Styling themselves as modern wizards of distilling, Edinburgh Gin love playing with flavours to create a wonderland of gin. Though their namesake Edinburgh gin is delicious, we think the real wizardry is found in their range of gin liqueurs, perfectly constructed drinks ideal for using in cocktails. Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur is a Gin Festival HQ favourite with an intoxicating warmth reminiscent of cosy nights by the fire and hearty winter puddings.
The rather charming lady that stares at you from a bottle of Daffy’s Gin is Daffy, The Goddess of Gin and inspiration for this amazing spirit. Unlike the other gins on this list, they're not trying to be particularly Scottish, but instead looked to the world to create a gin worthy of a goddess. The base spirit is from France, the mint from lebanon, the juniepr and coriander from the Balkans and the citrus from Spain. Gold Medal Winner of the 2015 International Wine and Spirit competition and it’s easy to see why. Daffy's is a strong bodied gin with hints of toffee, summer fruits and some light mint.
Winners of the “Scotland's Craft Spirit of the Year” 2015 award and probably Scotland’s smallest distillery, Strathearn originally produced artisan single cask whiskies but have since branched out to make some distinctive gins. Strathearn Oaked Highland Gin combines the two. You may have come across barrel aged gins, this is similar, but rather than making gin and leaving it in a barrel to absorb the woody aromas, instead, oak wood chips from former whisky barrels are added to the gin and left to infuse. The base gin is bright and citrusy with the oak chips adding a subtle smokiness and a vanilla finish.
Carefully handcrafted in the Scottish Highlands, Caorunn mixes the rugged charm of Speyside with the urban sophistication of modern Scotland. Caorunn is made with a mixture of traditional gin botanicals and locally foraged ingredients, including rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion and coul blush apple. The Highland botanicals really capture a feeling of place, taking the essence of the highlands and imbuing it into a gin.
Caorunn is made using a copper berry chamber where botanicals are laid out on trays and boiling alcohol is allowed to steam through the botanicals and pick up their flavour. Formerly a very common way to make gin, Caorunn is currently the only gin made with a copper berry chamber still. The end result is a clean, crisp and aromatic taste adventure! Fresh with a floral aroma that turns into a long, dry finish.
We were really lucky to get the chance to Interview Liz Baker, from Wilkin & Sons, famous for their jam and now creating some gorgeous gin liqueurs.
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