To celebrate International Scottish Gin Day on the 7th October, I’ve listed a few bottles that I’ve been enjoying recently. There are some newer releases and a few older Scottish gins, all worthy of a place at your home bar.
When I find a gin that I really enjoy, I tend to return to it year after year. But saying that, I also like the feeling when I discover a new crispy fresh gin. Let’s be honest, there was a time when the gin market was full of flavoured, fruity sweet gins that aren’t for everyone, and juniper-heavy gins were a species near extinction… But I feel like we are back on track again… phew!
I hope you will enjoy these recommendations! Don’t forget to share your favourite bottles on socials using the tag #ISGD and #ScottishGin and/or tag @international_scottish_gin_day (and @onthesauceagain if you like) so we can see which Scottish gin you are loving at the moment.
Discover Scottish Gin
This is one of the gins I’ve discovered most recently. Wolfcraig Gin, 44.5% ABV, is made using 17 botanicals, some sourced from the wild landscapes of Stirling. The botanicals list includes juniper, orange peel, lemon, cassia, raspberry and wild thyme.
The gin has a fragrant aroma of juniper. I found the palate herbal and earthy with notes of pine needles, subtle pepperiness and orange. It’s fragrant and silky smooth. With tonic the palate was grassy, lively and fresh, with subtle raspberry notes. It felt like a nice summery G&T serve.
Lussa Gin, 42% ABV, comes from the Isle of Jura and it is made using 15 incredible botanicals, including lemon thyme, coriander, rose petals, pine needles, lime flowers, elderflower, honeysuckle, sea lettuce and more.
The nose was lovely and the mouthfeel silky and soft. I could detect several botanicals and the flavours were layered, offering a proper complex flavour journey. One of my favourite gins.
King’s Hill Gin
The botanical list of King’s Hill Gin, 44 %ABV, includes twelve botanicals, a few of which are locally sourced from the Pentland Hills. Gorse flower, heather, wild rosehip and elderflower are all foraged by hand.
The mouthfeel was soft, and with tonic almost thick, very nice. On the nose, this was bright and fresh, yet the palate was spicier, with a good measure of juniper, which all came through with tonic as well. Complex throughout.
Seven Crofts Gin, 43% ABV, is made using seven botanicals: juniper, angelica root, coriander seeds, cubeb pepper, pink peppercorn, cardamom and fresh lemon peel. It’s a dry, classy gin that is made for any classic gin cocktail or a G&T.
Don’t forget to try their Fisherman’s Strength, 57% ABV. Plenty of piney juniper, citrus, cardamom and pepper coming through. Despite the hefty percentage, it makes an easy-sipping Martini.
Farmer Strength Drovers Gin
Farmer Strength Drovers Gin, 57% ABV, from the Wee Farm Distillery, is made with 13 botanicals, including pink peppercorn, allspice, thistle and heather. The nose was giving me Christmas and mulled wine, with a tart flavour like cranberry balancing out the spices and the cookie dough-like taste. The gin stayed nearly the same even with tonic. Diluted, it was very oily. I found it very impressive.
Isle of Gigha Coastal Gin
Isle of Gigha Coastal Gin, 40% ABV, comes with a distinct coastal flavour from sugar kelp and gorse. Other local botanicals include nettle, dandelion root and mountain pepper. This is the lowest ABV gin on this list, but I do have a soft spot for coastal flavours.
Nice mouthfeel, and the juniper is strong, with some freshness to it, like a cranberry without being bitter. With tonic, I like that you could both smell and taste the same elements as you did neat.
Arkh-Angell Storm Strength Orkney Gin
Arkh-Angell Storm Strength Orkney Gin, 57% ABV, is made to the same recipe as their classic Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin, yet with the extra strength, different botanicals shine through. It is a classic juniper-forward spirit. One of the distillery’s defining botanicals is a variety of angelica which was originally brought to the islands by Norsemen. The angelica grows wild all around the islands – you can even find it at the back of the distillery! Other local botanicals include Ramanas rose, Burnet rose and borage.
With winter on its way, you might also like something a bit spicier. Aurora Winter Edition Spiced Orkney Gin, 42% ABV, gets its warmth from cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and a touch of heat from pink and black peppercorns.
Biggar Strength Gin
As you may have noticed, I tend to like higher ABV gins, hence I’ve included Biggar Strength Gin in this list, but I would also recommend their classic Biggar Gin, which comes at 43% ABV.
Biggar Strength Gin, 57% ABV, is made using botanicals such as juniper, coriander seeds, hawthorn berry, cardamom, cassia bark, orange, lemon, rosehip, nettle, pink peppercorn and lavender. There are complex aromas on the nose and the palate is an explosion of spices. Tonic makes it a bit more citrusy and sweeter.
Barra Atlantic Gin
Barra Atlantic Gin, 46% ABV, is distilled from 17 botanicals, some carefully selected from the island. Their signature botanical is carrageen seaweed, which brings out those maritime notes. The savouriness is balanced by rich juniper. There are several other botanicals in the mix, such as chamomile flowers, mint, liquorice root, Quebec peppers and elderflower.
Edinburgh Seaside Gin
Edinburgh Seaside, 43% ABV, is my favourite gin from the distillery’s range. It captured the essence of the Scottish seaside. Some of the more savoury botanicals include bladderwrack seaweed, ground ivy, gorse flowers and scurvy grass. Try it in a Dry Martini.
Tobermory Hebridean Gin
Tobermory Hebridean Gin, 43.3% ABV, is distilled on the Isle of Mull with Hebridean tea, heather, elderflower and sweet orange peel, to name a few. They also add a splash of new-make whisky to the grain spirit, which brings a bit of maltiness to the nose and palate. It is herbal and spiced, with a sweeter finish. Something a bit different.
And as I love the savoury coastal gins, I will also have to recommend you try Tobermory Coast Gin, 43.3% ABV, as well. It is made using scotch lovage, sugar kelp, lavender and samphire. A perfect savoury gin for a Dirty Martini! Like their other gin, this one also has a splash of new make in the base.
Caorunn Gin, 41.8% ABV, has been around since 2009. And from the very beginning I’ve been a fan of this London Dry style of gin. It is fresh and aromatic with a strong juniper core. A must-have in your home bar. The local botanicals include rowan berries, Coul Blush apple, dandelion, bog myrtle and heather.
Downpour Coast & Croft
Don’t let the name fool you, this gin is actually more citrusy than savoury. Lovely fresh and herbal aroma. Downpour Coast & Croft Gin, 40% ABV, is made using juniper, lemon, coriander, angelica root, pink peppercorn, wild thyme and pepper dulse seaweed.
Crossbill 200 Single Specimen Dry Gin, 59.8% ABV, is made using Scottish juniper from a single-specimen bush that is approximately 200 years old as well as Scottish rosehip. The rosehip adds sweet yet delicate notes. It is surprisingly easy sipping for such a strong gin. The flavours are softer and sweeter than you’d expect. The gin tastes slightly different each year as they handpick all the ingredients annually.
Definitely Martini material if you can afford it.
I visited the distillery recently and tried their latest gins. You can read more about it here: Sampling the Crossbill Gin Range.
Of course I had to include The Botanist in this list. It is, after all, the gin that got me into gin in the first place. I like the hefty ABV (46%), and it makes an excellent G&T. This Scottish gin is made using a whopping 31 botanicals, 22 of which are from Islay. It is both floral and herbal.
Do you have a favourite Scottish Gin? Have you discovered any new gins recently?
*Some of the links used are affiliate links. If you buy through the links, I may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price for you.