Scotland's fastest growing spirit is rightly beginning to get some limelight, here are some of the best places to find out how this excellent drink is made.

Strathearn Distillery

(Bachilton Farm Steading, Methven, Perth PH1 3QX) 

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Picture: Strathearn

Strathearn Distillery offer a range of great tours and is rightly placed as one of the best gin tours in Scotland. The small distillery is situated close to both Glasgow and Edinburgh and so is perfectly accessible for any gin tourists.

The distillery, which is run by Tony Reeman-Clark, offers four different gins, each with their own unique tastes and profiles.

Their tasting tour gives you the chance to take in a full show round of the distillery, warts and all, whilst enjoying a gin and tonic, followed by an extensive tasting of approximately eight spirits, including gin, new make malt spirit (the distillery also makes whisky) and other projects they may be working on at the time.

The four hour gin lover day tour covers all things gin, the experience begins with a gin and tonic and a full tour of the distillery and bond, giving you an insight into distilling at Scotland’s smallest distillery.

The tasting then starts with six tonics, each one offering different flavour and mixing profiles, followed by six gins from craft distillers.

Guest are then asked to experiment and attempt to combine these two magical ingredients into the perfect gin and tonic for their palette.

The tour then takes visitors through the history of gin and of tonic before moving onto their own handcrafted gins, the fun then begins as guest are given a bottle of Strathearn base gin and allowed to infuse their own “signature gin” with whichever botanicals take their fancy.

Finally the tour moves onto an interactive cocktail experience, where you will be shown how to make some classic cocktails with a Strathearn twist.

Tours 

Distillery Tasting Tour – The basic tour of the distillery, a gin and tonic and eight spirits. Price: £25 per person.

Gin Lovers Experience –  Generally lasting about 4 hours and involving Gin and Tonics, creating your own gin and gin cocktails. Price: £95 per person.

READ MORE: 15 Scottish gins we recommend you try right now

Eden Mill

(Main St, Guardbridge, St Andrews KY16 0UU)

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Eden Mill is located just a couple of miles west of the famous home of golf, and is considered to be one of Scotland’s most unique distilleries in that it is also a brewery.

Currently one of Scotland’s most prolific gin producers, the distillery has released a wide range of gins including their intriguing Hop gin, the punchy Oak gin and the sweet tasting Love gin, Eden Mill’s tour is rated as the best thing to do in St Andrews (and that’s despite having some very tough competition).

The have a number of tours, reflecting their myriad products but the Gin Experience tour focuses on their production of the spirit and discusses the history of the site too.

The experience covers distillation techniques and the local source of their botanicals, before guests are given a tour of the distillery providing full access and a behind the scenes view.

To conclude the tour there is a gin tasting session.

Tours 

The Gin experience – one hour long and includes a gin and tonic and a gin tasting. Price: £10 per person

Edinburgh Gin

(1a, Rutland St, Edinburgh EH1 2AD)

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Hidden away in Auld Reekie is one of two great distilleries in the city, one of which, Edinburgh Gin distillery, has recently been snapped up by Ian Macleod Distillers due to their successful creation of a range of great gins.

The visitor centre at Rutland Place offers three great tours including a basic tour, a tasting tour and a distilling tour.

The Gin Discovery tour is a basic distillery tour that teaches you the story behind Edinburgh Gin as well as allowing you to see their distillation techniques. You also get a free sample or a miniature bottle of Edinburgh Gin to take home.

The Gin Connoisseur tour is a distillery tour that includes a fun tutored tasting with Edinburgh’s Gin and their gin liqueurs, as well as a 20cl bottle of gin for you to take away.

The Gin Making Experience is a distilling experience that allows you to learn about EG’s distillation techniques before creating your very own gin complete with personalised label.

Tours

The Gin Discovery tour – distillery tour and sample gin. Price: £10 pp

The Gin Connoisseur tour – distillery tour and tutored tasting. Price: £25 pp

The Gin Making Experience – distillery tour, tasting and custom gin making. Price: £75 pp

READ MORE: 7 of the best Scottish whisky distillery tours

Pickering’s Gin

(Summerhall Distillery, Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1PL)

Edinburgh’s other distillery is based at Summerhall and part of the site of an old animal hospital, the courtyard of which, hosts the annual Scottish Juniper Festival in the summer which celebrates all things gin.

Pickering’s secret weapon is a 60 year-old original Bombay recipe that uses no less than nine botanicals in each batch – juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica (cinnamon in the 1947 gin), fennel, anise, lemon, lime and cloves – and is produced using  Gert and Emily (Pickering’s stills).

Their gin comes in three core bottlings – navy-strength, original and the 1947 – as well as the occasional limited edition.

At first glance Pickering’s tour offerings seem quite slim but when you look a little closer you’ll see that not only do they offer one of the best value distillery tours on this list (£10 for the tour of the distillery, three samples and a gin and tonic at the end), they also have a fun LockedIn game where players search for clues to stop an evil plot to blow up the distillery.

Tours

Gin Jolly – tour of the distillery, three samples and a gin and tonic at the end. Price: £10 pp

LockedIn The Distillery – Fun escape the room-style puzzle game. Price: Prices begin at £45 for two people rising to £70 for five people.

Isle of Harris Distillery

(Tarbert, Isle of Harris HS3 3DJ)

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Perhaps on the more remote side of the scale, a trip to the Isle of Harris is not only worth it for the stunning scenery and warm hospitality but there also happens to be an excellent little distillery that is worth a visit.

The Social Distillery suffered a gin ration recently but don’t worry it wasn’t due to gin production, so if you go there, there will still be loads to see (and sample).

The tour lets you see the inner workings of the distillery and you’ll be shown around by a Hearach, one of the locals who help to run the distillery as well as being given the chance to sample some of their wonderful gin.

Tours 

Distillery tour – A one hour and 15 minutes tour of the distillery including sample. Price: £10 pp

Dunnet Bay (Rock Rose) Distillery

(Dunnet, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 8XD)

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Another beautiful but remote part of the country, that just so happens to be home to another great little distillery, is Thurso.

Dunnet Bay Distillers have been making waves in not only in the gin world with their Rock Rose gin but also in the world of vodka with their Holy Grass vodka.

In fact, Rock Rose Gin, named after one of their rare botanicals the “Rhodiola rosea” which is very difficult to find but grows on the cliffs of Caithness, is one of the fastest selling craft gins in the UK.

During the summer, husband-and-wife team Martin and Claire Murray welcome guests to the distillery for a tour of their distillery, including an introduction to Elizabeth, their copper still, and a sample of their products. Their is also a distillery shop on hand offering all of their spirits.

Tours 

Distillery tour – A 45 minute tour of the distillery including samples of their products. Price: £6 pp

 

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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