With the recent success of the first ever Scottish gin awards, it seems Scotland's gin scene continues to grow from strength to strength.

More surprisingly, the winner of the Scottish Gin of the Year award – judged by a blind taste test – wasn’t one of the more established brands, in fact, it was produced a smaller company found in Dundee.

The result shows the breadth and depth of the competition and quality available across the country and proves that even the new smaller producers are now competing with the best Scotland has to offer.

With that in mind, here are five of the most interesting new Scottish gins, including the winner of the Scottish Gin of the Year.

Verdant Gin

(Released by Verdant Spirits Co., Location: Dundee)

Scottish gin

Picture: Verdant Gin

The surprise recipient of the Scottish Gin of the Year, this small batch gin from Dundee beat out contenders from more established producers such as Makar, Eden Mill and Edinburgh Gin to take the top award.

Juniper led on the nose, it is described as having “fresh notes of citrus on the nose and palate with warm, earthy undertones of spice”.

Included in the carefully curated blend of botanicals, which was inspired by Dundee’s rich trading history and reflects the routes once sailed by traders to and from the city, are Grains of Paradise, Bitter orange and Liquorice.

• READ MORE: A beginner’s guide to making your own gin at home

Lone Wolf Gin 

(Produced by Lone Wolf Spirits, Location: Aberdeenshire)

Picture: Lone Wolf Spirits

Recently launched, the spirits arm of the Brewdog brewery has a lot to live up to, but it seems the team behind Punk IPA and the like aren’t messing about.

Well they are – but mostly with the status quo.

Expect all sorts of innovative new spirits in the future but for just now, just know that they’ve made an delightful gin that’s well worth a try.

Made using 100% malt barley spirit following a long series of experiments with different botanicals, the gin is refreshing with a heavy hit of citrus followed up by notes of Scottish pine and the spice of pink peppercorn.

Barra Atlantic Gin

(Produced by Isle of Barra Distillers, Location: The Isle of Barra)

Picture: Barra Gin

The first to hail from the Isle of Barra*, Atlantic Gin is described as having “a perfect balance of floral and herbal on the nose” with “juniper, citrus and dulcet carrageen rolling across the tongue like mighty Atlantic surf breaking on Barra shores”.

The key botanical in the new gin’s recipe is Carrageen, a type of seaweed sourced naturally – and hand-picked – from the shallow waters surrounding the island.

A natural source of vitamins A, E, F and K, calcium, potassium and sulphur, the species of red algae has been described as an up-and-coming superfood.

*Though the first batches are being made under contract by an English Distiller, the team hope to have their own distillery up and running and producing Atlantic Gin within the next year or so.

• READ MORE: Winners unveiled at the first ever Scottish Gin Awards

AVVA Gin

(Produced by: Moray Distillery, Location: Speyside)

Scottish gin

Picture: Avva

A surprise arrival on the gin scene in being that it is one of the first small distilleries to buck the trend in the Speyside region by focusing on gin instead of whisky.

Already winning awards and proving immensely popular with gin aficionados, AVVA uses botanicals foraged in Speyside and the Highlands such as dandelion, nettle and Rowan berries and is described as being refreshing and herbal with a pleasantly rich finish.

Dornoch Gin

(Produced by: Dornoch Distillery, Location: Dornoch)

A real gin for spirit geeks, the Thompson brothers are going all experimental with their first ever juniper releases with no less than 10 or so different styles being produced in the short time since their launch.

The first of which being their exciting Highland Gin, which is a limited release, and described as a “fantastic mixing Gin”, which “works well with traditional mixers”.

Featuring botanicals such as Aniseed, Meadowsweet and Pine Needles, it is made using a unique blend of two types of spirit produced by the brothers at their new distillery on the grounds of Dornoch Castle.

 

 

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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