The second International Scottish Gin Day takes place on Saturday 24 October 2020. Ahead of the day, I asked some of my fellow Official Supporters to pick out three of their favourite Scottish gins. It wasn’t an easy task as, according to The Gin Cooperative, there are now more than 450 Scottish gins, from over 140 brands! Check out the list below.

Disclosure:

  • Official Supporters of International Scottish Gin Day are not paid to be ambassadors for the event, and there is no obligation for us to post or say anything. We have complete control over the content we create.
  • Some of the Supporters have worked in the past with some of the brands they’ve selected. Where this is the case, we’ll state the nature of any relationship.

Mackintosh London Dry Gin

Photo: © From the Gin Shelf

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to both From the Gin Shelf and Jenny in Brighton

Made in: Angus
Made by: Distillutions (contract distilled)
Price: £37

A small family affair, Mackintosh London Dry Gin uses locally foraged elderflower to create a modern twist on a London Dry. The first of three expressions in their range (followed by the Mariner Strength and Old Tom gins), it was runner-up in the London Dry category at the Scottish Gin Awards 2019.

A brand that is cleary proud to be part of the Scottish gin community, the Mackintosh Gin logo is a simple but elegant Celtic love knot which represents founder Jim and Deborah’s love for each other.

Jenny in Brighton says: “Juniper, elderflower and citrus. Mackintosh nailed this first-time round. The Old Tom and Mariner Strength are great, but they started from the soundest of foundations.”

Read Jenny’s full review.

Biggar Strength GiN

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: Katie was previously sent a miniature of Biggar Strength Gin, but was so impressed she bought a full bottle after tasting! 

Made in: Perth & Kinross
Made by: Strathearn Distillery (contract distilled)
Price: £43

The first of several navy strength gins on our list is a relative newcomer to the Scottish Gin scene. Launching in May 2020, Biggar Gin have built on their growing following with the playfully named Biggar Strength. Winner of a silver medal at the London Spirits Competition 2020, it uses the locally foraged hawthorn berry as a key botanical.

What’s Katie Doing? says: “When Biggar released their regular gin I was impressed at the branding and taste. However, when I got my hands on the Navy strength I was a very happy gin drinker! Biggar Strength gin is just supercharged, in a good way! The juniper notes are strong and clear, but with a lovely softness and smooth mouthfeel. Biggar Strength makes a cracking negroni cocktail and works well as a gin and tonic.”

Hills & Harbour Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: Sipping & Styling has previously collaborated with Crafty Distillery, although bought the bottle of their gin herself. Free sample bottle previously provided to From the Gin Shelf for review.

Made in: Dumfries & Galloway
Made by: Crafty Distillery
Price: £36

Launched in 2017, Hills & Harbour is distilled in the southwest Scotland, and is one of the few grain to glass distilleries in the country – meaning they make their own base spirit from scratch.

Two foraged botanicals are central to their recipe – noble fir needles and bladderwrack seaweed, which is where they get their name. Both of these you can gather on their Gin Escape Experience which takes you on a tour of the hills and coastlines of Galloway!

Sipping & Styling says: “The bladderwrack seaweed and noble fir bring some heady complexity to the mix and make Hills & Harbour Gin a standout. Layers of flavour hit you and all I want to say is this makes a damn fine G&T!”

Read Pam’s full review.

Seven Crofts Gin

Photo: © Highland Liquor Company

Made in: Ullapool
Made by: Highland Liquor Company
Price: £40

When it first launched in March 2019, Seven Crofts Gin caused quite a stir before most had even tasted it due to its incredible bottle. Made with bartenders in mind, its vintage, ergonomic design oozes sophistication.

Created by Highland Liquor Company in their Ulapool distillery in the far north west of Scotland, Seven Crofts goes great with tonic and a slice of orange.

Nic’s Gin & Beer says: “First things first… The bottle is stunning. It’s the first thing you see and it’s striking. The liquid inside is equally stunning. Heavy on the juniper, this is a gin lover’s gin and I adore it. The versatility of Seven Crofts is incredible and irrespective of the cocktail you mix it with, I can guarantee it will stand up and be counted.

Crossbill Gin

Photo: © Crossbill Distilling

Made in: Glasgow
Made by: Crossbill Distilling
Price: £38

Given the explosion in the Scottish gin industry recently, Crossbill is a relative veteran! Established in Aviemore, Crossbill Gin was launched in 2014, before moving their home to Glasgow, opening a gin school at Barras Art and Design (BAaD) in 2017.

Crossbill is a unique gin for two reasons. It’s made with only two botanicals (juniper and rosehip), and both are 100% hand-foraged in the Scottish Highlands.

Ginteresting Times says: “Juniper and rosehip – that’s it. A straightforward, uncomplicated gin that gives you a face full of juniper – and I love Crossbill for it.”

Isle of Harris Gin

Photo: © Harris Distillers

Made in: Isle of Harris
Made by: Harris Distillers
Price: £37

Isle of Harris Gin is arguably one of the most instantly recognisable spirits bottles in the world. And it helps that the liquid inside is equally as stunning!

Launched in 2015 to boost the economy of the island and create jobs, Isle of Harris Gin is made with its signature botanical – locally harvested sugar kelp, giving a delicate sweetness and hint of the sea.

Harris Distillers now employs over 30 islanders, including a team of all home-grown distillers who make every drop of their island spirit! Only available to purchase directly from the distillery.

Dan Eats says: “Possibly the most beautifully designed bottle in the world, with a gin inside to match. Botanicals like the sustainably harvested sugar kelp really transport you to being by the sea on the Outer Hebrides, where the gin is distilled.”

Isle of Bute Gorse Gin

Photo: © Isle of Bute Distillery

Made in: Isle of Bute
Made by: Isle of Bute Distillery
Price: £38

Head Distiller, Simon Tardivel, takes inspiration for his Isle of Bute gins from the picturesque landscape of the island on Scotland’s west coast.

Gorse Gin is one of five expressions from the distillery. Made using handpicked gorse flower from the nearby Mount Stuart Estate, it makes for a beautifully floral gin.

The Ginasium says: “This gin and its signature botanical conjure up thoughts of many a coastal walk. Walking beside gorse bushes in full flower and marvelling how this rugged coastline can produce such a tropical coconut scent. If you’ve not got up close and personal with gorse flower you’re missing out.

The scent of Isle of Bute Gorse Gin has captured this (albeit subtlety) – juniper with citrus and a slightly warm finish. The gorse taking me back to summer walks… and memories past.”

Deerness Seaglass Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Ginsmagic for review

Made in: Orkney Islands
Made by: Deerness Distillery
Price: £36

Deerness Seaglass Gin is the first of two gins on our list created on the island of Orkney, located just off Scotland’s north east coast. A family business, Deerness Distillery is owned by Stuart and Adelle Brown.

Distilled with botanicals including lemon verbena and lavender, their Seaglass Gin has a handful of awards to its name including gold at Gin Masters 2019.

Ginsmagic says: “A gin that’s distilled 728 miles from my flat in London. So to try the botanicals of Orkney is a rare treat and one for the gin connoisseurs out there.

I might add it was Raymond Blancs favourite classic gin in 2019! A man with one of the finest pallets on planet earth. You don’t get much higher praise than that.”

Barra Atlantic Gin

Photo: © Isle of Barra Distillers

Disclosure: Juniper Chick is collaborating with Isle of Barra Distillers as part of International Scottish Gin Day. Free sample bottle also previously provided to From the Gin Shelf for review.

Made in: Barra
Made by: Isle of Barra Distillers
Price: £37

Barra natives, Michael and Katie Morrison founded Isle of Barra Distillers in 2017. Originally contract distilled, the husband and wife team realised their dream of bringing distilling to their remote and beautiful island home in 2019.

Made with 17 botanicals including its signature ingredient, carageen seaweed (also known as Irish moss), foraged on the island, Barra Atlantic Gin helps transports you to the Outer Hebridean island – and the most westerly distillery in the country.

Juniper Chick says: “I’ve always been partial to coastal gins and Barra Atlantic Gin was an instant hit with the savoury, coastal nose and slight floral and minty taste. My go-to serve for the Barra Atlantic would be in a Dirty Martini.”

Achroous Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Edinburgh
Made by: Electric Spirit Co.
Price: £39

Created by James Porteous, Achroous Gin has built a strong reputation as an exceptional Scottish Gin, culminating in winning double gold at the prestigious San Fransisco World Spirits Competition.

Distilled in Leith, the Edinburgh port has a long history with gin. Achroous uses botanicals such as liquorice, fennel seed and Sichuan.

The bottle is striking in its simplicity and given distiller James’ background in design (he has a degree from Glasgow School of Art), you’d expect he had a hand in it.

Julian Vallis says: “I like Achroous because of it breaking the mould by being a ‘sessionable’ gin with an Old Tom character, despite it having no added sugar.

It’s a gin that has character and depth but doesn’t want to dominate, making it very easy to work with in cocktails. It’s therefore great in both in a Negroni and Martini, which is an accomplishment in itself, as they demand completely different profiles to the gin.”

Read Julian’s review on Instagram.

Red Door Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottles previously provided to The Gin Shelf for review

Made in: Moray
Made by: Benromach Distillery
Price: £30

Distilled at the historic Speyside distillery, Benromach, Red Door Gin was launched in 2018. Taking its name from the colour of their distillery door, the gin uses botanicals including bitter orange peel, pearls of heather, rowan berries, and sea buckthorn to create an aromatic gin.

The Gin Shelf says: “I’ve been a long time fan boy of Red Door Gin – I mean, I may as well have posters stuck up on my bedroom walls! Ever since its release it has been an ever-present on my gin shelf.

It makes a great G&T, but I’m going to level with you… I am all about the Negroni on this one! The smokey chocolate tones of the sea buckthorn lend themselves to that classic Negroni bitterness, with the bitter orange flavours complemented by the Campari & vermouth in equal measure. It’s my go-to ‘Desert Island Negroni’ serve of choice. If you’ve not tried it yet, you must. It’s a game changer!

Read Matt’s full review.

Gin Bothy Stirrup Cup Gin

Photo: © Gin Bothy

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Manchester Food Tourist for review

Made in: Angus
Made by: Gin Bothy
Price: £36

For those reading who don’t already know, a bothy is a small hut or cottage often found in the Scottish hills. Left unlocked they’re avaiable to use for all, free of charge. And its from this that Gin Bothy take their name.

Founded by Kim Cameron, Gin Bothy produces a range of cold compounded gins. Stirrup Cup takes its name from the ‘parting cup’ traditionally offered to friends before they travel or ride.

Manchester Food Tourist says: “A real complex gin that combines apple, ginger and gorse for a real treat for the taste buds.”

Read Dan’s full review.

Edinburgh Seaside Gin

Photo: © From the Gin Shelf

Made in: Edinburgh
Made by: Edinburgh Gin
Price: £32.50

Made in collaboration with students from Heriot-Watt University’s Masters in Brewing & Distilling, Edinburgh Seaside Gin uses botanicals foraged from the beaches of the east coast of Scotland – most notably bladderwrack seaweed, scurvy grass and ground ivy.

It’s one of several gins in their range which includes their classic London Dry as well as Cannonball Navy Strength. The distillery is also famed for an extensive range of gin liqueurs.

From the Gin Shelf says: “This is my favourite of the expressions from Edinburgh Gin. With a lovely sweet salinity, it makes a seriously good G&T! Goes great with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, a twist of grapefruit peel and sprig of fresh thyme.”

Pentland Hills Navy Strength Gin

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Ginsmagic for review

Photo: © Tarbraxus Distillery

Made in: South Lanarkshire
Made by: Tarbraxus Distillery
Price: £43 (50cl)

Nestled on the northwest edge of South Lanarkshire’s Pentland Hills is Tarbraxus Distillery. As with their original gin, Pentland Hills Navy Strength uses botanicals such as pink peppercorns, mint, cocoa nibs and cardamom, some of which are homegrown.

The Distillery also offers a refill service – simply send the bottle back and get it topped up for £10 less the normal price!

Ginsmagic says: “Phil and Tabitha (founders) have nailed this navy. And it’s one to really play around with. Think orange sherbet.

This fabulous navy is one of the best and more unique ones on the market. Neat, it’s peppery, floral and coats the pallet. Juniper is present but it doesn’t overpower the gin. A touch of tonic and I swear you won’t know this is a navy strength, soooo smooth and balanced. “

Loch Ness Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Loch Ness
Made by: Loch Ness Spirits
Price: £45

Husband and wife team, Kevin and Lorien Cameron-Ross, have real ties to the mystical Loch Ness, with their family living on its banks for over five centuries. Loch Ness Gin is distilled using botanicals sourced from around the area.

The recipe is a closely guarded secret but Lorien says: “If it does not grow within 500 metres of our house, it is not in our gin.” Add to that, water used from the Loch itself and you’ve got a gin of proper Scottish provenance.

Jenny in Brigthon says: “This is a delight to drink. It’s fresh, like a walk across a field after a heavy downpour, hints of spice and juniper and something aromatic and floral at the end.”

Read Jenny’s full review.

Colonsay Bramble Gin Liqueur

Photo: © The Gin Shelf

Disclosure: free sample bottle of Colonsay Gin previously provided to From the Gin Shelf for review

Made in: Colonsay
Made by: Wild Thyme Spirits
Price: £24 (50cl)

The only gin liqueur on our list, is from Wild Thyme Spirits on the rugged island of Colonsay. As a liqueur and at 20% ABV, it’s technically not classified as a gin, but that’s not stopped Matt from The Gin Shelf picking it as one of his favourites!

The Gin Shelf says: “I was already a firm fan of the Colonsay Gin’s London Dry. Now, being that I am a ‘classic citrus and juniper forward gin ’til I die’ kinda guy, picking a liquid that is both fruit laden and not actually a gin may seem an odd choice…but hear me out! The BIG red fruit flavours, sugar syrup sweetness and a luxurious and indulgent finish are crowd pleasers for a reason, and therefore this spirit demands its place on my list.”

Mackintosh Old Tom Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Angus
Made by: Distillutions (contract distilled)
Price: £37

The second of their three expressions to feature on our list is Mackintosh Old Tom Gin. Looking to appeal to those who don’t like tonic, the gin is designed to pair wonderfully with lemonade. Unusually, it uses fresh pineapple in the distillation, and although it might not sound like it should work – it really does!

What’s Katie Doing? says: “I’ve been a #ginpal of the Mackintosh clan since I first met them! Mackintosh Old Tom is not their first gin, and the original is a cracking gin too. However, I found the pineapple and grapefruit notes in the Old Tom came across not as I was expecting, and really makes this Old Tom stand out.

It’s sweeter than their London Dry gin, but not too sweet and still super tasty! A really interesting gin in the category and great for those sweeter traditional gin cocktails such as a Martinez.”

LBD Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: Juniper Chick is collaborating with Little Brown Dog Spirits as part of International Scottish Gin Day.  Free sample bottle previously provided by the brand.

Made in: Little Brown Dog Spirits
Made by: Aberdeenshire
Price: £32

Based in Aberdeenshire, Little Brown Dog Spirits was founded by Andrew Smith and Chris Reid. Their flagship gin, LBD, is a newcomer to the Scottish gin scene, launching in May 2020.

As with many of the gins on our list, it uses a mix of foraged and bought-in botanicals. But unlike of the Scottish gins we’ve mentioned here, it features parsnip in the mix! Other notable botanicals inlude wood sorrel, rhubarb and birch sap.

Juniper Chick says: “The quirky guys who don’t take themselves too seriously (except when it comes to the quality of their gin) Little Brown Dog have nailed it. First of all, the Little Brown Dog is a lovely Spaniel/Jack Russel cross and features in their branding and social media. How can one not be drawn to that sweetie? OK, I am a sucker.

But all that does nothing at the end of the day if the liquid does not match up. The botanicals in their hilariously named Unlimited Edition are foraged from around the Bennachie and the ones that can’t be foraged are bought from other parts of the world. They don’t hide where it comes from a full listing can be found on their website. The honesty from these guys are incredible and it shines through their gin, which is juniper forward and earthy with spicy notes.

There is no BS here and with that I would opt for a no BS Negroni that puts a big cheeky grin on my face!”

Check out Juniper Chick’s Urban Foraged Fizz cocktail recipe on Instagram.

The Botanist Gin

Photo: © Bruichladdich Distillery

Made in: Isle of Islay
Made by: Bruichladdich Distillery
Price: £34

The Botanist Gin likely needs no introduction. But despite the new gins that have flooded the market since it launched a decade ago in 2010, it remains one of the nation’s favourite gins.

Distilled by Bruichladdich Distillery on the Inner Hebridean island of Islay, the gin uses 22 locally hand-foraged botanicals – all of which are inscribed in Latin on The Botanist’s iconic bottle.

Dan Eats says: “One of the first Scottish gins I tried, and to this day still one of my favourites. It’s a regular feature on my gin shelf as it’s packed with flavour from the foraged botanicals, making for a gorgeous G&T and a great base in a negroni too.”

SOS Gin Scotland’s Other Spirit

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Manchester Food Tourist for review

Made in: Perth & Kinross
Made by: Strathearn Distillery (contract distilled)
Price: £42.50

SOS Gin Scotland’s Other Spirit was launched in January 2019. Founders Craig and Mark Munnoch-Wahlberg came up with the playful name as a nod to Scotland’s love of whisky and the fact that 70% of the UK’s gin is made here.

SOS Gin uses only four botanicals in their gin – 100% locally sourced juniper, rosehip and rhubarb, blended with chamomile. While the gin is distilled by Strathearn Distillery, Craig and Mark are actively involved in the process during distillation and bottling.

Manchester Food Tourist says: “SOS Gin is a superb London Dry that uses local botanicals including Rhubarb and Chamomile for a smooth and satisfying gin.”

Read Dan’s full review.

Hrafn Valhalla Gin

Photo: © From the Gin Shelf

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Nic’s Gin & Beer and From the Gin Shelf for review.

Made in: Aberdeenshire
Made by: Deeside Distillery (contract distilled)
Price: £44

Taking inspiration from Norse mythology, Hrafn Gin is the brainchild of two brothers – Callum and Peter Sim. The award-winning  Valhall Gin is their ultra-premium expression and the higher strength sibbling to Thought & Memory – both of which have beautiful sweet mandarin as their signature botanical.

At 49% ABV it packs a punch, but it’s so smooth it makes for the perfect sipping gin. The distillation process takes some time (around three times longer than normal), but the result is definitely worth it!

Nic’s Gin & Beer says: “For me, Valhall is quite exceptional. It was designed as a sipping gin, so simply serve over ice and enjoy. It’s glorious, smooth, full of juniper, a little spice and some sweetness from the mandarins… I adore it. I’d happily recommend anything from Hrafn but this is their standout for me. Try it in their Smoked Negroni and prepare to have your mind blown!”

Read Nic’s full review.

Tobermory Hebridean Gin

Photo: © Tobermory Distillery

Made in: Isle of Mull
Made by: Tobermory Distillery
Price: £34

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, almost as a ‘liquid botanical’.

Julian Vallis says: “Tobermory throws the notion of a traditional gin out the window and just lets the malty base shine through with absolutely no effort to hide the fact this comes from a whisky distillery.

If you think of a gin that has the smell of a malting floor and added juniper, this is Tobermory. Since I’m a whisky drinker, this is right up my street and Tobermory makes an absolutely excellent Martinez and Negroni that sort of become very Rob Roy and Boulevardier-like due to the whisky notes coming through.”

Read Julian’s review on Instagram.

Kintyre Botanical Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Argyll & Bute
Made by: Beinn an Tuirc Distillery
Price: £36

Kintyre Botanical Gin is Produced at Beinn An Tuirc distillery, which translates to ‘from the hill of the wild boar’. And you’ll see the animal beautifully depicted on their logo.  With an ethos in sustainability, using a biomass boiler and hydro-electric power, this gin contains the unusual botanicals of sheep sorrel, and Icelandic moss.

Sample it neat on the rocks or as a G&T, with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and a sprig of basil, or light tonic and a sprig of mint.

Sipping & Styling says: “Kintyre Gin has become a staple in my gin cupboard since my husband had his first taste last year. Juniper forward, this gin has earthy tones that give way to crisp apple freshness, ending with a subtle spicy warmth. A treat for the senses – and very smooth to sip!”

Rock Rose Original Edition Gin

Photo: © From the Gin Shelf

Made in: Caithness, Highlands
Made by: Dunnet Bay Distillery
Price: £34

Launched in 2014, Rock Rose Gin is distilled in the most northerly distillery on mainland Scotland. With a range of expressions, including four seasonal gins, they’ve become a firm favourite. The gin is centred around the Rhodiola rosea (or rose root), which grows in sea cliffs and rock crevices in the region.

But fear not, once you’ve drained the last drop from your bottle, simply order one of their eco refill pouches!

From the Gin Shelf says: “Rock Rose is a beautifully smooth gin with deliciously distinctive aromas and flavours. It really transports you to the coastal north of Scotland where Dunnet Bay Distillers call home. The aromas alone are incredible, but wait till you taste it! It’s one of my absolute favourite gins from any country in the world – let alone Scotland!”

Pentland Hills Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: South Lanarkshire
Made by: Tarbraxus Distillery
Price: £38 (50cl)

The second gin from Tarbraxus Distillery is the original Pentland Hills Gin. It includes the same botanicals at the Navy (juniper, pink peppercorns, angelica, coriander, cardamom, orange, mint and cocoa nibs), but is bottled at 40% as opposed the Navy’s 58%.  And as with the Navy, you can send the bottle back for a refill.

Ginteresting Times says: “Another great dry gin with some unusual additions of mint and cocoa nibs that give it a great finish. Comes with a box so you can send the bottle back to the distillery for a refill, which just give them extra kudos for me! And they have a dog!”

Caorunn Raspberry Gin

Photo: © Balmenach Distillery

Made in: Grantown-on-Spey, Highland
Made by: Balmenach Distillery
Price: £21 (50cl)

While the original Caorunn Gin is one of Scotland’s best known and loved gins, it’s the recently launched Caorunn Raspberry that The Gin Shelf has selected as one of his top Scottish gins.

Created to celebrate Caorunn’s 10-year anniversary, the gin adds fresh raspberries to their famous copper berry chamber for the distillation.

The Gin Shelf says: “When I first looked at the clear spirit of the Caorunn Raspberry Gin I expected perhaps a hint of red fruits against a more dominant classic gin base. WRONG! This gin smacks you in the face with beautiful fresh raspberry sensations.

The juniper is beautifully balanced, and lingers purposefully behind those bold red fruits, with suggestions of a rich and warming sweet spice. It works brilliantly as a G&T, with a fresh raspberry garnish. The tonic pulls forward a little more sweetness, whilst maintaining the strong raspberry flavour, putting a delicate and floral touch on a classic.

Caorunn Raspberry Gin surprised me a lot! I’d expected to say that, given it’s generally not my category, ‘it’s not for me’. On the contrary… it knocked my socks off. And THAT is why it makes my list!”

Shetland Reel Simmer Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Saxa Vord Distillery
Made by: Shetland
Price: £36

Our list has travelled the geographical extremes of Scotland – from the lowlands to the Outer Hebrides, the east coast to Orkney. So it’s only fitting that we disembark on the most northerly inhabited island in the UK – Unst in the Shetland Isles.

Shetland Reel Simmer Gin is one of three ‘core’ gins produced at Saxa Vord Distillery by distiller Mark Turnbull. At 49% ABV it’s on the stronger side, and contains botanicals including orange peel, liquorice root and cumin.

Juniper Chick says: “Whilst ‘Simmer’ refers to Shetland’s summer twilight, for me, this is a gin that will go down well into the colder months with the orange and spicy notes, and a punchy hit of juniper at 49% ABV.

When asked, I often say to people that I drink my gins according to the season, but this is one that you can dial it up or down, depending on the serve. For the cooler months, this would certainly be delicious in a warming spicy Negroni.”

Lussa Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Isle of Jura
Made by: Lussa Distillery
Price: £40 (70cl)

“An adventure in a gin,” it states on the Lussa Gin bottle – a gin they describe as “an expression of our landscape.” And what a landscape the Isle of Jura is, on Scotland’s west coast.

Formed in 2015 by three friends, Alicia Macinnes, Claire Fletcher and Georgina Kitching, Lussa Gin is created using 15 botanicals grown, gathered and distilled by them. These include lemon thyme, lemon balm, lime flower, water mint, sea lettuce and Scots pine needles.

Sipping & Styling says: “Fresh, floral and bursting with the unmistakable hum of lemon balm. It is a really refreshing spirit. Adding tonic brings out a gentle spice undertone and the juniper lingers on the tongue leaving you in no doubt that this is a classic London Dry gin. Holds up well against other flavours and works great in cocktails.”

Read Pam’s full review.

Downpour Scottish Dry Gin

Photo: © North Uist Distillery

Made in: North Uist, Outer Hebrides
Made by: North Uist Distillery
Price: £38

Another relative newcomer, and once again we travel to the Hebridean Isles – this time to North Uist. Downpour Gin is renowned for its louching – where the gin goes cloudy when water or ice is added. This is due to the high concentration of botanical oils which are dissolved in the alcohol coming out of suspension when mixed.

Serve with orange, rosemary and a citrus twist – and if you’re feelin fancy, some wild heather!

The Ginasium says: “15 years almost to the day since I last visited the Island of North Uist. The name and label stir some of those memories in a playful way. Downpour Gin is strong at 46% but smooth. Juniper comes to the fore, with an eastern spice long finish. It’s very sippable on its own, and also may I suggest with a splash of light rose tonic. I’m not keen on overly floral drinks, but this pairing works for me!”

King’s Hill Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to What’s Katie Doing?.

Made in:  Midlothian
Made by: The Pentland Still Distillery
Price: £39 (70cl)

With their bespoke bottle launching in the summer of 2020, The Pentland Still Distillery made a significant investment in their brand. For a small distillery, it shouldn’t go understated.

Launching in July 2018, King’s Hill Gin takes its name from a bet between King Robert the Bruce and Sir William ‘The Crusader’ Sinclair, which took place in the Pentland Hills, where the distillery is based. Made with 12 botanicals including the locally foraged gorse, heather, wild rosehip and elderflower.

What’s Katie Doing? says: “King’s Hill Gin comes in the most beautiful bespoke blue bottle. However, even without, the liquid inside is pretty special. I think it’s the locally foraged ingredients which make this gin complex, but easily drinkable. The balance of juniper, spice, citrus and herbaceous notes work so well and it ends with a floral sweetness, leaving a lovely lingering aftertaste. This is one gin I want to play around with in some lighter cocktails.”

Read Katie’s review.

Mackintosh Mariner Stength Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: Nic’s Gin & Beer has collaborated with Mackintosh Gin in the past, but purchased the bottle of Mariner Strength Gin.

Made in: Angus
Made by: Distillutions (contract distilled)
Price: £45 (70cl) 

With their third entry to our list, completing a full-house of their expressions, Mackintosh Gin is clearly a brand well-loved! A navy strength version of their original award-winning London Dry, it packs a punch at 59%.

Nic’s Gin & Beer says: “There’s something very special about a well-made navy strength gin, for me. I think it’s exceptional, the way both strength and smoothness can balance so perfectly when done by a skilled hand. With Mackintosh Mariner Strength you can feel the heat that comes from its higher ABV but it’s so incredibly drinkable that when you find out it’s 59%, it’s quite surprising.”

Hrafn Thought & Memory Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously gifted to From the Gin Shelf

Made in: Aberdeenshire
Made by: Deeside Distillery (contract distilled)
Price: £39

The second expression from Raven Spirits to make it onto our list, like its sister expression, Hrafn Thought & Memory features mandarin as its signature botanical.

Where Valhalla is a beautiful sipping gin, Thought & Memory is stunning as a longer drink – and it makes a mean G&T.

Like Valhalla, Thought & Memory is multi-award-winning, with gold medals at the International Gin Masters (2018 and 2020) and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Ginteresting Times says: “First direct from a distillery bottle I bought after I decided to go that route rather than via a gin subscription club. An amazing dry gin, juniper is at the fore as expected, spice notes throughout and a thread of citrus running through the whole thing from the rather unusual manderin. Love a bit of Norse mythology too!”

Fidra Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Jenny in Brighton.

Made in: Aviemore, Highland
Made by: Inshriach Distillery
Price: £39

Created by two friends, Emma and Jo, Fidra Gin is inspired by the East Lothain coastline. Using foraged botanicals including lemon thyme, rosehip and sea buckthorn, the pair perfected their recipe on a 5 litre still before turning to Inshriach Distillery to scale up their gin for production.

Jenny in Brighton says: “Fidra Gin uses sea buckthorn, elderflower, lemon thyme and rosehip, all picked from East Lothian. Drinking Fidra is like a walk along the seaside: salty, floral, herbal, delicious.”

Read Jenny’s full review.

Kinrara Highland Dry Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Made in: Aviemore, Highland
Made by: Kinrara Distillery
Price: £38

There can be few places as stunning as the Cairngorms National Park. And it’s here that you’ll find Kinrara Distillery, just outside Aviemore.

With several expressions to their name, it’s their 2018 Scottish Highland Dry Gin which makes our list. Each batch is just 240 bottles and the gin is distilled using botanicals including rosehip and rowan berries that are collected from the estate throughout the year.

Dan Eats says: “I’ve been lucky enough to visit the beautiful Cairngorms and explore Aviemore, the home of Kinrara gin, and even taste their Highland Dry gin while we were there. Clearly juniper forward, with a subtle spice and very clean citrus finish, it’s definitely another of my favourites.”

Kirkjuvagr Beyla Gin

Photo: © The Gin Cooperative

Disclosure: free sample bottle previously provided to Manchester Food Tourist for review

Made in: Orkney Islands
Made by: Orkney Distillery
Price: £33 (50cl)

One of six expressions from Orkney Distillery, Kirkjuvagr Beyla Gin takes its name from Beyla the goddess of bees in Norse mythology. An Old Tom gin made with their original Kirkjuvagr Gin as the base and added Orcadian honey and Scottish raspberries.

Manchester Food Tourist says: “Not generally an Old Tom fan, however the Honey and Raspberry mix in Beyla was a real winner for me.”

Read Dan’s full review.

Verdant Dry Gin

Photo: © Verdant Spirit Co. Distillery

Made in: Dundee
Made by: Verdant Spirit Co. Distillery
Price: £35

Ticking off another of Scotland’s major cities on our list is Dundee’s Verdant Dry Gin. Having worked in Formula 1, it was quite a career change for founder Andrew Mackenzie, but one that quickly received recognition from the industry in 2017, winning Scottish Gin of the Year at the first-ever Scottish Gin Awards.

Verdant Dry Gin is distilled in a 500 litre iStill called Little Eddie using botanicals including lemon peel, bitter orange, grains of paradise and liquorice.

The Ginasium says: “I first came across this Verdant Gin at a show in London where Andrew gave a talk that captured his enthusiasm… a mix of old tradition and innovation. It’s a dry gin reflecting its one-shot method, but the botanicals and distilling of the raw spirit have produced a juniper-forward silky smooth spirit with a lovely but curious immediate sweetness, which is followed by a peppery warmth and finish.

Packaged in a rough jute bag, it pays homeage to Dundee’s past links to the jute and weaving trade. “

Lonewolf Gunpowder Gin

Photo: © BrewDog Distillery

Made in: Aberdeenshire
Made by: BrewDog Distillery
Price: £25

From the team behind the famous BrewDog craft beer, you also get some seriously impressive spirits – not least Lonewolf Gunpowder Gin.

Joining the previously mentioned Hills & Harbour Gin, Lonewolf Gins are one of the few distilleries in Scotland that are truly grain-to-glass, distilling their own base spirit from scratch.

Their navy strength expression contains a heady mix of 16 botanicals including dill seed, Thai lemongrass, Scots pine needles, lavender, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, creating a gin with serious kick!

Ginsmagic says: “When someone asks me why I like navy strength gins as much as I do, this gin is the one to blame. It’s a gin I truly love!

Negroni, martini, G&T… Boom! This bottle has your back. It’s also damn cheap for a gin of this ABV. Don’t think just buy!”

Caorunn Gin Master’s Cut

Photo: © Balmenach Distillery

Made in: Grantown-on-Spey, Highland
Made by: Balmenach Distillery
Price: £40 (UK airports only)

It’s the second expression from Balmenach Distillery on our list and the only surprise is perhaps that it’s not the original! But it’s the travel retail exclusive that Julian has picked out as one of his top Scottish gins. At 48% Master’s Cut was designed by distiller, Simon Buley, to “perfectly encapsulate and enhance the essence of Caorunn”.

Julian Vallis says: “I’ve known Caorunn since they first released their gin 11 years ago and continue to love their original. However Master’s Cut, is really rather special for retaining the crispness of the original Caorunn and adding a peppery and spicy note as well, and making it work well (crispness and spiciness aren’t normally good bedfellows). It’s a great achievement by Simon Buley to balance this.”

Garden Shed Gin

Photo: © From the Gin Shelf

Made in: Perth & Kinross
Made by: Strathearn Distillery,  (Contract Distilled)
Price: £37.50

Born in a garden in the west end of Glasgow, The Garden Shed Drinks Company was formed by two ex-Scotland international rugby players and their wives. The recipe for Garden Shed Gin was created using botanicals found in their garden, most notably brambles, lavendar and dandelion root.

As well as tasting great, the brand have a strong sustainability ethos, donating money from sales to two charities – Trees4Scotland and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

From the Gin Shelf says: “Garden Shed Gin has been one of my favourites ever since I first tried it. The aromas from the brambles and lavender are are absolutely beautiful and it’s the perfect summer gin for me – but one that can be enjoyed all year round!”

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My thanks to the Official Supporters of International Scottish Gin Day who helped contrinute to this feature. Be sure to give them a follow!

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