Gin has seen a significant resurgence over the last few years, with it quickly becoming the most popular spirit with UK consumers, according to market research groups. Recent sales data shows a massive increase in the number of gin brands available across the country, with more great tasting pioneering artisan tipples to try than ever before. We take a look at some of the best scottish gin brands.
While scotland is more widely known for one of it’s other famous alcoholic exports – the popularity of gin around the world has seen a growth in the number of scottish distilleries making their way into the headlines, and into the baskets of more buyers than ever before. When it comes to the top scottish gins to try in your next cocktail, there’s a lot of fantastic flavoured and more classic botanical gins to try, so we’ve put together a list of our top ten scottish gins for you to try at home.
Gin sales in the UK have been in growth for over eight years, 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. This continued growth has seen a boom in the number of small distillery businesses cropping up to take a slice of the market, with gin entrepreneurs investing in the creation of exciting new artisanal and small batch gins.
Gin is a fairly complex drink, with an even more complex history. Traditionally made by combining a neutral, flavourless spirit with an array of botanicals – predominantly juniper – which release their aromatics during the distillation process. New gins go a step further by creating signature scents and flavour variations, that inspire gin drinkers, both new and old.
Selecting well-balanced botanicals is the work of careful artistry, which takes time to master, and many scottish gin brands have risen to the top of the ‘must drink’ lists due to their natural flavour infusions, and inspirational flavour combinations based on the vibrant and sometimes wild environments that scotland is so well known for. The rise in scottish gin brands, has lead to the establishment of the Scottish Gin Society – who now collaborate with gin lovers, makers, movers and shakers to bring you updates on the explosion of scottish gins as well as the best in scottish gin news, events and more.
With so many great gins now on offer, our advice is to broaden your horizons and taste something new – and while we’re biased being base in the heart of scotland, we think these top gin brands all have something to offer when it comes to mid-range luxury.
Isle of Harris Gin
Arguably one of the fastest growing scottish gin brands, and consistently topping the polls when it comes to taste, our first gin to watch 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 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 drink, and it’s no surprise that it’s become so popular. Developing a smooth and refreshing gin – its recommended to enjoy the Isle of Harris Gin flavour over ice, with a few drops of sugar kelp aromatic water to enhance the natural flavours.
First launched back in 2015 – Harris Gin have been building their brand, and the gin is now available across the country with the iconic bottle design, representative of the natural elements and the hebridean community’s close connection to the sea, becoming synonymous. Harris Gin is available for £40 per bottle – and available direct from the website, as well as part of isle of harris gin gift sets.
Edinburgh Gin – Seaside
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, bladderwrack seaweed and scurvy grass – Seaside Gin is fresh and lightly floral, with a pleasantly crisp, slightly sweet finish. It’s easy to add this to our top scottish gin brands list, due to their constant development of new and exciting flavoured gins. Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin is available for £32.50 per bottle.
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. 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 2017 – 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.
Developed by Andy McGeoch, the aim for Glaswegin was to create a gin that was unique and enjoyable to drink – that at its heart, didn’t require any fancy garnishes. Infused with eight botanical ingredients, including milk thistle and italian juniper – Glaswegin is full of fruity flavour, and a smoothness that makes this gin stand out from the crowd. Glaswegin is a Scottish gin, inspired by the no-nonsense style of the city of Glasgow and its people, best served with a fuss-free tonic. Glaswegin is available for £39 per bottle – but be quick, this gin is often a complete sell out!
Eden Mill – Oak
Based in St Andrews – Eden Mill took over a historic former whisky distillery and paper mill back in 2012. Their location offers up a number of exciting botanicals to infuse in the distillation process, with the dedicated team of distillers at the forefront of experimental wood ageing and distillation methods to bring out more of the outstanding flavours found in locally sourced products, as well as ingredients from across the globe.
Eden Mill Original was one of the brands first award winning gins, with a distinct berry flavour, gained from the locally grown sea buckthorn berries. The Eden Mill team have been innovative and creative with their follow up expressions – so it’s no surprise that at least one of their wonderful creations made it onto our list of the best scottish gin brands.
We’ve selected the Eden Mill Oak Gin as our gin to highlight in this list. As Scotland’s original single-site brewery and distillery, Eden Mill were perfectly placed to try an oak chip aged gin. Marrying their brewing and distilling expertise, and introducing their oak beer barrels to the distillery’s gin production, Oak Gin is a wonderfully rich gin. The overall result is a deep oak spiced gin with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a touch of fudge. Oak Gin delivers a warm finish – lovely as a sipping gin. We think it’s also perfect for switching up the classic espresso martini.
Eden Mill also offer a bespoke gin making experience, where you can craft you own infusion and flavour profile, you can find out more about the blendworks expereince, as well as buying Eden Mill Oak Gin for £26 per bottle.
Scotland is home to some of the most stunning landscapes, and the Isle of Arran is no different. A gin that calls this island its home is bound to represent the beauty of the scottish coast, and considering the ingredients for Arran Gin are locally sourced, and combined with sustainable botanics, it makes for a truly special gin.
Arran’s Meadowsweet, Noble Fir, Sea Lettuce and Common Hogweed Seed all make for a powerful flavour profile. The taste profile of Arran Gin evokes the adventure of the island itself: from coastline to hilltop on the nose followed by floral and honey sweetness. The overall mix of spice and citrus are perfect for the blend. It’s a creamy gin, with a long, smooth finish. The flavour of this gin alone make it a top scottish gin – the sustainability factor is another great reason to love Arran Gin. First launched back in 2018 – Arran Gin is available to buy direct for £38.99 per bottle.
Asian influenced, but finding a spiritual home in Arbroath – Lunun Gin is a wonderful fusion when it comes to flavour. Featuring six key botanicals including kaffir lime leaf, kombu kelp, sichuan pepper, ginger, lemongrass and sea buckthorn, Lunun Gin is inspired by the travels of former Masterchef: The Professionals finalist, Dean Banks.
Lunun Gin is created in a single-fold distillation process that makes for an incredibly smooth premium taste. Launching in 2019 – and remaining youthful in its approach, it is no nonsense, just taste. Lunun Gin is described as having notes of citrus and spice on the nose with a balanced and smooth yet warming spice and subtle heat on the finish. Inspired by one of the most peaceful beaches in Arbroath, Lunun Bay, this gin is certainly one to try, available direct for £35 per bottle.
McQueen Gin – Highland Dry / Black Cherry & Vanilla
When it comes to this innovative distillery, it was a tough choice to only select one gin to add to our list of the best scottish gin brands. Dale and Vicky McQueen founded the company back in 2015 – and the distillery is in the heart of Scotand’s oldest national park, just a few miles from the picturesque town of Callender.
When it comes to McQueen Gin – flavour and differentiation are key. The range produced by the company now include five world first flavour combinations, as well as unique and unmistakably scottish traditional gins. The McQueens have been at the forefront of the scottish gin boom – and their passion to create something new is keeping them top of our lists, and the reason why we’ve chosen two of their gins to feature here.
Firstly, McQueen Gin’s Highland Dry is a distinctive dry gin, with the characteristics that have become synonymous with the brand. Juniper-led with a clean and distinct woodland aroma, Highland Dry has subtle and clean citrus freshness, and is best served simply over ice, with a premium tonic, and a wedge of lime.
Our second choice from McQueen Gin is the Black Cherry and Vanilla Gin. Dark and mysterious, and bringing us the flavour of a beautiful black forest gateaux in gin form. The black cherries give a rich deep flavour which is complimented perfectly with a subtle blanket of smooth vanilla. We have to say, this was a personal favourite for the winter time – it’s beautifully festive, and the gin makes the perfect Black Cherry Martini.
Both the Highland Dry and Black Cherry & Vanilla gins are available from the Trossachs Distillery, for £23 each.
With a stillhouse based in the heart of leith’s historic docks, 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 from all corners of the world, Leith Gin is a stunning combination. Exotic citrus 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.
Sea Glass Gin
As we’ve already covered with some of the best scottish gin brands in this list, the islands and coastline of the country are a constant source of inspiration when it comes to crafting beautiful gins in scotland. Sea Glass Gin is another brilliant example of exactly that sentiment. This award winning signature gin comes from the Deerness Distillery in Orkney, founded by Stuart and Adelle Brown.
Carefully crafted with a range of coastal botanicals, Sea Glass Gin will evoke your senses with each sip. Taking you on a pleasurable sensory journey through warm spices, hints of citrus and of course, juniper, Sea Glass Gin is a true reflection of the Orkney Islands’ ever changing seascape with its rich botanicals and fresh taste. First released in 2017 – Sea Glass Gin has gone on to win numerous awards, and remains on our list of the best gins in terms of taste. We also think that the unique and stylish bottle design makes this one stand out on the shelves – and perfect for those instagram shots too. Find out more about the Deerness Distillery below, and shop for Sea Glass Gin, which is available for £36 per bottle.
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