Natural landscapes, home-grown botanicals and some of the freshest flavours in the world. We know what’s driving the demand for some of the Best Scottish Gin – and we’re back with our updated favourites for 2023.
The Scottish gin market continues to grow, with small batch and large scale distilleries across the country vying for a piece of the booming industry. Every year, exciting new gin brands emerge, with long time favourites continuing to top the rankings when it comes to awards too.
In Scotland, there’s more gin brands to choose from than ever before, and once again, we’ve taken a look some of the best to put together our definitive list. With some familiar names making their way back onto the Best Scottish Gin list for the third year running, we’ve also recommended some brand new gin on our list of the Best Scottish Gin for 2023 from award winners to artisan producers.
We have to admit, we’re gin lovers – and there’s been plenty of opportunities to taste our favourite tipple over the last twelve months. If you’re looking for a new favourite to add to your drinks cabinet, then this is the list for you. We’ve put together a list of our top ten gins from Scotland for you to try – highlighting unique taste, perfect flavours and sustainable production too! Keep reading to see which gin comes out on top this year.
While Scotland continues to be synonymous with another liquid export – the popularity of gin around the world has been growing rapidly over the last few years, and this small country is punching well above its weight on the world stage. When it comes to the generation of new Scottish gin producers, the early successes of some of the gins on our list have helped to pave the way for a vast new market opening up. We’ve been sharing our top gins from Scotland for the last few years, and you can see who made our list previously below.
The Scottish Gin Story
Gin has become a bit of a no-brainer for many distilleries with global sales volumes now in excess of one billion litres, and an industry said to be worth over £9000m. With a wealth of naturally available botanicals, the possibilities for gin flavours in Scotland are endless and it’s no surprise that there’s people making it big as the latest gin-fluencers of the market.
Thanks to some clever marketing by brands that are increasingly appealing to millennials by positioning the drink as artisanal and sophisticated, consumers have been encouraged to trade up when it comes to their gin. According to consumer data experts, Mintel – Brits aged under 35 are now the most likely to drink gin. Bringing in the dawn of a new gin-naissance, with two in five people aged 18-34 having enjoyed gin in the last year.
Gin sales in the UK have been in growth for nearly a decade, with the spirit topping the sales charts across the country, with official sales figures showing a doubling in volume purchased in the last couple of years. Gin entrepreneurs have capitalised on this growth, and what was once a back garden passion project is now big business. Unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions last year meant that bar sales had a little slump, but at-home drink sales increased.
When it comes to creating the perfect taste, the process of selecting well-balanced botanicals is the work of careful artistry and many gin producers have risen to the top of the gin awards lists due to their unique flavour infusions driven by the vibrant and beautiful natural landscape the country has to offer.
We continue to follow and support the Scottish Gin Society – who collaborate with gin lovers, makers, movers and shakers to bring updates on all things relating to gin from Scotland as well as the best in gin news, features and more. You’ll find our personal top picks for gin this year below.
Great Glen Gin
Making it’s way onto our top gin list for 2022, Great Glen is one of Scotland’s newest and smallest craft gin distilleries. It’s quickly become one of our favourites for it’s unique botanical mix and stunning branding. Sourcing a range of natural local ingredients for their distilling process, the Great Glen Distillery have some of the most striking and wild landscapes to inspire them to create a beautifully crafted gin.
Taking both the name and essence of the Great Glen in Scotland’s Highlands, the gin is a true product of its place of birth. Balancing the flavour of ten botanicals including the sweet herbal honeysuckle notes from heather, and tartness from red sorrel and frankincense – this gin is a perfect serve over ice and enjoyed in majestic surroundings. Great Glen Gin is a premium product, and available direct for £38 per bottle, but absolutely worth the price.
Pentland Hills Gin
Pentland Hills Gin is the definition of a hidden gem that you should hurry to try. Produced in one of the nation’s smallest gin distilleries, this gin is hand crafted in limited quantities. It’s unique, sustainable and packed full of flavour-packed botanicals, it’s a gin with real pedigree!
Created by Phil and Tabatha Cox, and supported by their chief labrador in charge, Panza – Pentland Hills Gin is produced out of their ginatorium – a converted stables on the south-western boundary of the Pentland Hills Regional Park and first came to the market back in 2018.
Taking inspiration from the landscape of the central belt, and the hills which give the gin its name, you’ll find a distinctly floral and citrus taste with this gin, with a smoothness and fresh mint tingle which combines to create a great tasting gin. With nine individual botanicals in Pentland Hills Gin, there’s a versatility with this small batch gin, and it’s perfect served over ice, with a crisp tonic, a slice of grapefruit and some bruised mint leaves. Pentland Hills Gin is available direct from Tarbraxus Distillery for £37.99 – and you can get a refill too to help with their sustainable production goals.
Isle of Harris Gin
Arguably one of the most recognisable Scottish gin brands of recent years – Isle of Harris Gin makes another appearance on our list of the best scottish gin brands. Consistently topping the polls and picking up another set of gold awards in 2022. This gin knows exactly what it can deliver when it comes to taste. The Isle of Harris Gin from the Harris Distillery in the heart of the Outer Hebrides is made using a perfect balance of nine botanicals, including sugar kelp.
Harris Gin is a fantastic example of the quality and taste inspired by the natural, and sometimes wild landscape that we’re lucky to have in Scotland. The small team of dedicated islanders who craft the gin are incredibly proud of the finished product, and it’s no surprise that it’s become so popular across the globe.
The Harris Distillery have developed a smooth and refreshing gin – recommended to be enjoyed over ice, with a few drops of sugar kelp aromatic water to enhance the natural flavours. Isle of Harris Gin can be bought direct for around £40 per bottle.
Barra Atlantic Gin
With botanicals hand foraged from another hebridean island – Isle of Barra’s Atlantic Gin is an adventurous spirit, taking inspiration from the stunning coastal environment, with family at the fore. The gin captures the essence of Barra with the sea that surrounds the creators and their rich maritime history.
Each botanical plays an important part in the gin, which creates a unique and distinctive flavour that embodies the fearless island spirit. The signature botanical is foraged from the local shores, and carrageen seaweed provides a bold sea-salt flavour, with a subtle menthol smoothness, it’s a dry, rich gin. With lemon and orange peel, Isle of Barra gin pairs beautifully with citrus notes, over ice and served simply with a good quality tonic.
First produced by husband and wife team, Michael and Katie Morrison in 2017 – Isle of Barra’s Atlantic Gin has recently picked up a number of taste awards, including being shortlisted in the scottish gin awards in 2019 – and now being stocked nationwide in Waitrose. You can buy Isle of Barra Atlantic Gin direct from the island distillery for £32.
Added to our list as a bonus last year, Inverclyde Gin secures a dedicated space on the best scottish gin list this time round. Distilled at the start-up drinks lab in Port Glasgow – Inverclyde Gin is the most nautical navy strength gin to make our list. Infused with a delicate balance of seven botanicals – this gin has a distinctly coastal aroma.
With juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, orange, samphire and sea buckthorn – Inverclyde Gin is acutely representative of Scotland’s shipyards. Made by, and for locals – the gin is a local collaboration giving money back to local good causes – It’s a message in a bottle to the people of the Inverclyde region.
Inverclyde gin is available direct for £34.99 – with the business supporting a lot of local community initiatives and giving back to the people in the region. It’s a real local community success story!
Esker Gold Gin
Steven and Lynne Duthie have been producing Esker Gin from Royal Deeside’s first gin distillery after taking a deep interest in learning more about the distilling process and finding out how flavours work together. Taking its name from a ridge created by a glacier – the Esker Distillery sits right in the heart of the Royal Deeside countryside.
Following on from their highly successful first and original Esker Gin – Esker Gold takes silver birch and turns it into gold. This gin is unique, and really adds something special – originally included in our list for the first time last year, we’ve given the gin a rightful place on the 2023 best gin list too. It’s still one of the best value for money gins on our list, with bottles of Esker Spirits Gold Gin costing just £25.
Taking sap from silver birch trees on the Kincardine Estate, and combining with a blend of honey and spices – Esker Gold Gin has a citrus aroma and a subtle spicy sweetness. Perfectly paired with a light ginger ale, and served over ice. What makes this premium gin even more special? It was recently award a gold medal for its unique formula – and it’s absolutely delicious!
With a stillhouse based in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic docks in Leith, the creations of this brand are inspired by the cobbled streets that echo the centuries of rich maritime history. Leith Gin is carefully crafted using botanicals from all four corners of the globe, with it’s exotic balance of citrus and juniper a delightful yet classic flavour. Leith Gin’s ten botanicals are exactly what you would expect from a nautical gin.
Taking it’s mix from the various flavours and ingredients that the docks would have seen passing through with explorers returning with new culture, and foreign tastes from far off lands, Leith Gin is a stunning flavour combination. Exotic spice aromas mix with salt, alongside a taste of zesty citrus flavours too. This gin is perfect for a classic gin and tonic, and harks back to a time of maritime exploration. Leith Gin is available to buy direct for £29.95 per bottle.
Eden Mill Forager Gin
Eden Mill distillery was established in 2012 on the banks of the Eden Estuary in St Andrews and was the first distillery to make spirits in the region in over 150 years. Today, Eden Mill has a wonderful premium gin portfolio, including flavoured premium gins like the one we’ve selected for our best gins for 2023 list, Eden Mill Forager Gin.
Taking inspiration from countryside hedgerows, this very rich and juicy gin focuses on red berry notes, and has a beautifully sweet jam like taste. Making use of raspberry, strawberry, gooseberry and blackberry, Eden Mill’s Forager Gin is perfectly combined with lemonade on a warm summer day. It’s the flavours of picnics in the park, summer evenings in the sun, and childhood memories of picking berries straight from the ground. As well as a simple serve, the gin is perfect in a classic bramble cocktail.
Similar to other seasonal offerings from the St. Andrews based distillery, this variety from Eden Mill is limited, so you had better hurry if you want to try this tipple. You can buy direct for £25 per bottle, or check out the other premium range gins available.
The Gin Cooperative
Focusing on mediterranean spices and botanicals, as well as wormwood which gives a stunning aroma when used in distillation, Foghouse Gin is escapism in a bottle. Founded in 2021, the gin brand was created by Mike Stuart, and produced in small batch format in Royal Deeside, hitting the market with a distinctive, charismatic first product.
Foghouse Gin allows you to escape the ordinary, taking its name from the buildings found on large estates across the country, where lairds would build sanctuaries to find peace and take in a news perspective of their land. Now, Foghouse Gin is all about taking those moments to relax, enjoy and be transported to a different place.
Featuring olive, rosemary, juniper and coriander, this gin gives a nutty and woody taste, with the herbs bringing a mellow and aromatic undertone. Served perfectly with ginger ale, or a lightly spiced tonic, Foghouse Gin is available for £38.99 – and has already secured a number of industry awards this year. It’s a must have on our list of the best scottish gin brands for 2023.
Isle of Raasay Gin
The third hebridean gin to make our top gin list for 2023 comes from the rural landscape and geological variety of the Isle of Raasay. Produced in partnership with a local botanist, the Isle of Raasay Distillery now hand-pick the finest juniper found on the island, just off the coast of Skye.
Using ten botanicals in their production process, from citrus peel to four types of root – it’s fresh and aromatic in taste. It’s a dry and zesty gin, with a refreshing finish. Served perfectly with a classic tonic, or combined with other zesty flavours in their signature sunset spritz. Isle of Raasay gin is available for £40 per bottle, lovingly crafted by the team.
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