The UK’s national gin obsession continues to grow. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the spirit rise to become the UK’s top tipple according to consumer research – and there’s been a boom when it comes to great gins produced in Scotland!
With more exciting Scottish gin brands to choose from than ever before – we take a look at some of the best Scottish gins for the year, from the award winners to artisan brands and some of our personal favourites. Last year, we reviewed the Best Scottish Gins for 2021 – and below we look at the best gins from Scotland in 2022.
While Scotland continues to be more widely known for it’s exports of whisky – the popularity of gin around the world has been growing rapidly over the last few years. When it comes to the generation of new Scottish gin brands, the early successes of some of the gins on our list have helped to pave the way for a vast new market opening up.
With more buyers than ever before, it’s a no-brainer for many distilleries to try their hand at gin production – and with a wealth of naturally available botanicals – the possibilities for gin flavours in Scotland are endless.
We have to admit, we’re gin lovers – and it’s definitely become the staple drink for social get togethers and lockdown weekends over the last twelve months. It has been a great time to try new Scottish gin and find new favourites too. We’ve put together a list of our top ten Scottish gins for you to try – bringing back some of our best Scottish selections from last year too!
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.
Traditionally made by combining a neutral, flavourless spirit with an array of botanicals which release their aromatics during the distillation process, new gin producers can go a step further and create signature scents and flavour variations that inspire gin drinkers, both new and old.
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 the Scottish Gin Society – who collaborate with gin lovers, makers, movers and shakers to bring updates on the explosion of Scottish gins as well as the best in Scottish gin news, features and more.
Isle of Harris Gin
Arguably one of the fastest growing, and most recognisable Scottish gin brands of recent years – the number one spot of our top Scottish gin brands list for this year continues to be Isle of Harris Gin. Consistently topping the polls when it comes to taste, this gin comes from the heart of the Outer Hebrides. The Isle of Harris Gin from the Harris Distillery 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.
Great Glen Gin
One of Scotland’s newest and smallest craft gin distilleries – Great Glen makes our list of the top gin brands for 2022 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 £39 per bottle, but absolutely worth the price.
We look forward to seeing the success of Great Glen as they continue to grow over the next twelve months – we’re sure they will be picking up numerous best gin awards this year!
The Isle of Tiree is part of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides – a set of remote, but breathtakingly stunning islands off the west coast. Tyree – the historical spelling of the island give the gin its name, with the natural landscape giving it a truly unique flavour. Reflecting the coastal surroundings – the gin has a distinctly sweet and floral smell – with grassy and salty notes balancing this out perfectly.
Along with the core botanicals, the low lying coastal machair land brings natural, locally sourced ingredients such as Eyebright, Ladies Bedstraw, Water Mint and Angelica. These combine to give a true taste of Tiree. Produced by the Tiree Whisky Company – production of this gin started back in 2019 – and they have continued to grow their brand with a number of appearances at national events – as well as picking up a few special mentions in food and drink awards too. Similar to it’s island neighbours on the Isle of Harris, the distillery also uses naturally harvested kelp for their gin – and produce a premium product available for £34.99 per bottle.
Edinburgh Gin – Seaside Gin
Based in the capital, Edinburgh Gin have been crafting their range of innovative, award winning gins since 2010. Head distiller at the distillery, David Wilkinson, leads the team in developing a distinguished family of contemporary gins. David progressed and traversed from a whisky connoisseur, to achieving an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.
Seaside Gin from Edinburgh Gin is inspired by the vibrant east coast beaches, with natural coastal botanicals that bring a gin that is defined by juniper, soft salinity and sweet notes. Combining ground ivy, bladder wrack seaweed and scurvy grass – Seaside Gin is fresh and lightly floral, with a pleasantly crisp, slightly sweet finish. We’re keeping Edinburgh Gin on our top Scottish gin list due to their constant development of new and exciting flavoured gins. Seaside Gin has become a staple in our household – and we’re sure the next creation will be enjoyed just as much!
Looking for a crisp citrus gin to add to your collection? Based in Scotland’s capital – and with a vibrant backstory – Smugglers Gin is one to add to your must try list right away. Produced by Smugglers Spirits – who focus on beautifully handcrafted and delicious small-batch spirits, Smugglers Gin is a fresh take and already racking up the international awards.
During the prohibition in Edinburgh during the 1700s – the streets were alive with smugglers who risked everything for a sip. The smugglers were the heroes of the city – and the producers of Smugglers Gin have that in their brand DNA as well. The gin is energetic, citrus filled and deliciously soft on the palate. Combining Scots Lovage, Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena with other hand-picked botanicals, Smugglers Gin is small-batch produced, and best enjoyed with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a classic tonic.
Sustainably crafted, and with innovation at the heart – you can pick up Smugglers Gin direct for £37.95 a bottle, or head to the Edinburgh Cask Smugglers bar in the city centre to try some of their other serves and delicious food too! The gin also recently picked up a silver award in the Navy Gin category at the World Gin Awards.
The Teasmith Gin
Since 2016, Nick and Emma Smalley have been crafting the unique Teasmith Gin in Aberdeenshire. Following a discovery that their local area was once linked with the tea trade out of Sri Lanka – the couple decided to create Scotland’s first gin distilled with hand-picked tea. Combined with other aromatic botanicals that can be easily found in Southern Asia – Teasmith Gin is as unique as it is refreshing.
Made by gin lovers, for gin lovers – the team behind this specially crafted gin are proud to have created such a distinctive blend, and are hugely passionate about creating an authentic spirit, using the best ingredients. Perfect in a classic gin and tonic, Teasmith Gin is light, crisp and refreshing, with citrus notes that are subtly rounded off with warming spice.
Making our list of top Scottish gins for the second year running, you can buy the original Teasmith Gin, alongside the Brioch Single Estate blend, made using Scottish grown tea leaves for £38.95 per bottle.
Understated yet undeniably stylish – Glaswegin is Scottish to the core. Representing Glasgow’s unique character, this gin is industrial, inventive and innovative in flavour, with quintessential no-frills honesty. Launching back in December 2018 – Glaswegin has been a runaway success when it comes to the number of awards it has picked up in its short life, making its way easily onto our list of the best Scottish gins.
Produced with a range of eight botanicals including locally grown milk thistle, as well as Italian juniper and pink peppercorns – this gin is a great representation of Glasgow’s metropolitan atmosphere and historical spice trade. It’s a classic gin with a modern twist, and we really love it! You can pick up a bottle of Glaswegin for £39.
Granite North Gin
Granite North is new to our list of the best gin brands in the country – but has been available since 2017. Unfortunately, since this post was initially published – Granite North has ceased production of their gin.
Founder, Sandy Matheson embarked on a mission to create a gin that captures the spirit of the Scottish mountains. After almost eighty test distillations – the unique blend of botanicals that make up Granite North was finalised, and this hand-crafted gin has been growing in popularity ever since.
Taking its name from the hardy rock that is synonymous with the North East of Scotland – Granite North Gin has gone on to win numerous awards. Bright and fresh – and reflecting a sense of the forest floors and wild mountains -botanicals such as juniper, grapefruit, lemon, grand fir needles and bay leaves combine to give a crisp and smooth gin.
From the very start, high quality and no compromise were at the forefront and the main driver for all decisions made in developing Granite North Gin. With this in mind, Granite North was distilled in Sandy’s Aberdeen kitchen to start with, before moving to a dedicated facility in Aberdeen last year. You can purchase Granite North Gin for £39 a bottle.
Makar Gin – Cherry
Produced by a contemporary urban distillers in the heart of Glasgow – Makar Gins are a great range by The Glasgow Distillery Company, who were awarded Scottish Whisky Distillery of the Year 2020. Their original Makar Gin is a juniper-led handcrafted small batch gin – with quality at the very heart. With their name derived from the scots word for poet – it symbolises their attention to their craft and the devotion to a truly beautiful product.
The Makar Cherry Gin makes our list this year as one of our favourite flavoured gins. Naturally flavoured by soaking ripe cherries with pink peppercorns in the Makar Original Gin – this gin combines all of the best parts of the award winning gin, with delicious sweetness and subtle spice. Winner of the World Gin Awards – Best Flavoured Gin – we can easily see why this Glasgow Distillery Company gin is becoming a favourite!
Esker Gold Gin
Steven and Lynne Duthie have been producing Esker Gin from Royal Deeside’s first gin distillery after 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 to our list of the best Scottish gins in 2022. 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!
Although we’ve already shared our top ten Scottish gins for this year, we thought we’d add in a bonus to the list. 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.
Small batch produced – this is the perfect Scottish gin to give as a gift – and is available direct for £34.99 or as part of a monthly subscription called the steamers club.
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