15 of the best gins to try in 2020

By Euan Harris | 16 Jan 2020

I regularly get asked about my favourite gin. In truth, I don’t have one, and the answer is likely to vary depending on the mood I’m in. With so many gins on the market it’s impossible to keep up, but below are 15 I’ve tried and tested with a mix of established and newer brands.

All images copyright of From the Gin Shelf, unless stated.

The Lakes Gin

Bottle gifted previously

Launched in 2014, The Lakes Gin underwent a makeover inside and out in 2019. A reformulation of their flagship gin was accompanied by new branding – the latter being simply stunning!

The liquid itself is a step up on the original as well, vibrant and fresh with bright notes of citrus and juniper – a refreshing G&T.

Read my review of The Lakes Gin.

Country: England
Price: £33
ABV: 46%
Buy online at The Lakes Distillery

Mackintosh Gin

 Sample gifted previously

Having been awarded a silver medal in the best London Dry category at the 2019 Scottish Gin Awards, the stock of Mackintosh Gin is on the up – and for good reason.

Having launched in 2018, the family-run brand has been a hit with experts and bloggers alike with their beautifully balanced gin. They’re great fun on social media too!

Country: Scotland
Price: £37
ABV: 42%
Buy online at Mackintosh Gin

Photo: The Gin Cooperative

Brentingby Gin

 Bottle gifted previously

Made under the watchful eye of former Tanqueray master distiller, Tom Nichol, Brentingby Gin is designed to be a ‘proper’ juniper-led gin.

Distilled by Bruce Midgely in a still he designed and assembled himself, Brentingby Gin is a stunning London Dry with notes of piney juniper, citrus and subtle floral undertones of hibiscus.

Read my review of Brentingby Gin.

Country: England
Price: £35
ABV: 45%
Buy online at Brentigny Gin

Garden Shed Gin

It’s fair to say Garden Shed Gin is right up my street and it was the gin I turned to most in 2019. Launched in 2018 it was created in Glasgow using ingredients foraged from their own (and their neighbour’s!) garden.

Signature botanicals include lavender, blackberries and dandelion root, making for a fruity and floral gin which still retains juniper at its core.

They also donate money to plant trees and to the conservation of bees – what’s not to like?

Read my review of Garden Shed Gin

Country: Scotland
Price: £39
ABV: 45%
Buy online at Craft56

Trinity Gin

 Bottle gifted previously

With only three botanicals, Pothecary Trinity is a concept gin that strips things back to the key pillars of the category: juniper, citrus (in this case bergamot) and coriander. But don’t be fooled, it’s a gin packed full of flavour – simple, yet complex.

Taking gin back to its routes, Trinity is a counter-punch to the growing divergence in the category – a no-gimmicks spirit that showcases just how good things can be when gin stays close to its heritage.

Country: England
Price: £49.90
ABV: 49%
Buy at Gin Kiosk

Isle of Harris Gin

With its beautiful bottle and equally stunning contents, Isle of Harris Gin has been something of a juggernaut in the category.

Launched in 2015 ‘the social distillery’ was formed to help create a sustainable economy for the small Hebridean Island and now employs over 30 locals.

Made with its signature botanical of sugar kelp, harvested from the sea lochs around Harris, it’s a sweet, yet savoury gin – and it’s absolutey exsquisitve!

Read my review of Isle of Harris Gin

Country: Scotland
Price: £37
ABV: 45%
Buy online at Isle of Harris Distillery

Edinburgh Seaside Gin

Famed for their liqueurs and original Classic Gin, my favourite of the Edinburgh Gin family is their Seaside expression.

Made in conjunction with students from nearby Heriot-Watt’s Brewing and Distilling Masters degree,  it uses botanicals sourced from the east coast seaside near Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Seaside Gin makes a stunning G&T with sweet florals, citrus and subtle spices.

Read my review of Edinburgh Seaside Gin

Country: Scotland
Price: £35 (can be found cheaper if you shop around)
ABV: 43%
Buy online at Edinburgh Gin

Lind & Lime Gin

Another one from Edinburgh and a relative newcomer to the market, Lind & Lime was launched in November 2018.

A nod to the city’s history with gin, in particular, the Port of Leith, it takes its name from James Lind. The Edinburgh native played an early role in the prevention of scurvy amongst sailors with his observations on the effects of eating citrus fruits. The whole brand story is pretty fascinating and you can read more here.

As if the liquid itself isn’t enough, the bottle design is truly incredible, and again harks back to Leith’s history of glass making.

Country: Scotland
Price: £35
ABV: 44%
Buy online at Port of Leith Distillery

Image: Port of Leith Distillery

Chinnery Gin

 Bottle gifted previously

If you’re from or are visiting Ireland, you’re in luck, as it’s sadly the only country in which you can purchase the moreish Chinnery Gin (for now…).

Forming its brand around 18th-century painter George Chinnery, whose travels took him from Dublin to China, it’s a beautiful floral gin with subtle citrus and spices.

The packaging itself is a work of art with its Georgian-era Dublin townhouse. And if you peer through its transparent windows you’ll see imaginings of the Far East and Chinnery himself standing at an easel. Images really don’t do it justice – this is one to see for yourself!

Read my review of Chinnery Gin

Country: Ireland
Price: €50
ABV: 43%
View Irish stockists

HRafn Valhalla Gin

 Bottle gifted previously

Raven Spirits was founded by brothers Peter and Callum Sim, after a visit to Bruichladdich Distillery in Islay, home to famous whiskies – and of course, The Botanist Gin.

Their inspiration was to create a gin with the depth of flavour and finish found in another Islay whisky – Laphroaig.

Hrafn Valhalla is the sister expression to Thought & Memory. Both have similar flavour profiles of juniper, spices and mandarin, but my favourite of the two is Valhalla.

Despite being 49% this sipping gin is incredibly smooth, almost oily in mouthfeel, and has a delightful enduring mandarin finish.

Read my review of Hrafn Valhalla Gin

Country: Scotland
Price: £44
ABV: 49%
Buy online at Raven Spirits

Beefeater Gin

This one might raise a few eyebrows, but for me, Beefeater is one of the most underrated gins on the market. As a result, it’s often overlooked. Most I’ve spoken to don’t expect it to be good because of its price or haven’t tasted it in years.

If that’s you, and you love a classic-style, juniper-led gin, I’d encourage you to approach Beefeater with an open mind.

Despite its history being traced back to 1863, Beefeater is still made to the same recipe of founder James Burrough, now under the watchful eye of master distiller, Desmon Payne.

Country: England
Price: £18
ABV: 40%
Buy online at Gin Kiosk

Hernö Gin

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Hernö Gin can do no wrong. Nestled in the wilderness of a 19th Century farm in Dala, Sweden, the distillery was launched in 2012 by Jon Hillgren.

Between 2013 – 2017 Hernö was the most awarded gin in Europe with its Old Tom winning best gin at the World Gin Awards twice.

The portfolio is shaped by their idyllic surroundings and consists of their flagship London Dry, Old Tom, Navy Strength and cask, among others. While I’ve picked out the London Dry, it could’ve been any of them!

Read my Q&A with Jon Hillgren, founder & master distiller

Country: Sweden
Price: £30
ABV: 40.5%
Buy online at Gin Kiosk

Image: Hernö Gin

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

Four Pillars is another distillery that oozes innovation. Based in Australia’s Yarra Valley, outside Melbourne, it’s been at the forefront of the country’s vibrant gin craze since 2013.

With a great range from their Rare Dry Gin to Navy Strength, Spiced Negroni to Bloody Shiraz, Four Pillars is one of the coolest distilleries around at the moment.

Their Rare Dry Gin is a favourite on my shelf with its amazing mix of spices and citrus. Goes great with a slice of orange and Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water!

Read my review of Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

Country: Australia
Price: £35
ABV: 41.8%
Buy at Gin Kiosk

Image: Four Pillars Gin

Tobermory Gin

Launching their first gin in August 2019, Tobermory Distillery can draw on over 200 years of distilling experience. Established in 1798, the distillery is famous for its whisky and cleverly marry this history into their gin, with a dash of new make spirit from their whisky stills added to the still before distillation.

Other botanicals include juniper, tea, heather, elderflower and sweet orange peel. This all creates a sweet gin with juniper, citrus and subtle spices, and a delightful malty undertone.

Country: Scotland
Price: £34
ABV: 43.3%
Buy online at Tobermory Distillery

Image: Tobermory Distillery

Rock Rose Gin

Launched in 2014, Rock Rose is one of the finest distilleries in the United Kingdom, in my opinion. The gin is centred around the Rhodiola rosea (or rose root), which grows in sea cliffs and rock crevices in the region.

It’s a beautiful smooth gin with deliciously distinctive aromas and flavours and really helps transport you to the coastal north of Scotland where Dunnet Bay Distillers call home.

In 2019, the distillery also released an innovative refill pouch which aims to be more environmentally friendly, as well as reducing the cost of gin fans in stocking up on Rock Rose Gin. Hopefully, more distillers can follow suit.

Country: Scotland
Price: £34
ABV: 41.5%
Buy online at Dunnet Bay Distillers