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5 of the most intriguing new Scottish spirits

Whisky and gin are probably the best known of Scotland's spirits but innovative producers are going out of their way to create new and exciting examples, here are five of the most intriguing new spirits.

Published: April 13, 2018

From Absinthe to tequila here are five of the most innovative and exciting new Scottish spirits.


(What is it? Wild elderberry liqueur, Who makes it? Rupert Waites and Thomas Chisholm, the duo behind pop-up dining collaborative Buck and Birch)

new Scottish spirits

Picture: Buck and Burch

Aelder was officially launched in November 2016 by Rupert Waites and Thomas
Chisholm, the duo behind pop-up dining collaborative Buck and Birch.

A wild elderberry liqueur with a whisky base, Aelder is hand-crafted in small batches at East Links Farm in Dunbar, East Lothian.

Waites and Chisholm, use their extensive foraging knowledge to help create this exciting drink that's offering an alternative to the traditional liqueurs on the market.

Described as a "well-balanced liqueur" it has notes of treacle, blackberries and dark chocolate, and a long warming finish that makes it perfect for drinking neat over ice or to be used in cocktails.


(What is it? Absinthe, Who makes it? Lost Loch Distillery, Price: £41.00)

new Scottish spirits

This traditional favourite of bohemian European artists is probably the last spirit you'd expect to see getting produced here but thanks to Deeside's Lost Loch Distillery, Scotland now has its own absinthe.

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Named for a wicked Scots fairy, Murmichan is bottled at 64% abv and is made using Roman Wormwood, Green Aniseed, Fennel seed, hyssop, star anise, mint and bramble leaves.


Holy Grass Vodka

(What is it? A premium vodka, Who makes it? Dunnet Bay Distillers, Price: )

new Scottish spirits

Picture: Dunnet Bay Distillers

Better known for their excellent gins, Dunnet Bay released this wonderful vodka last year with it slipping under the radar a little, thankfully, it's beginning to get the credit it deserves.

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Created using the unusual botanical Holy Grass, which was once found on the banks of the nearby Thurso River by legendary botanist Robert Dick, the vodka is known for the same vanilla aromas that the botanical gained its reputation for - it was traditionally used on church floors to give a sweet, vanilla smell when walked over.

UWA Tequila

(What is it? Speyside whisky cask aged tequila, Who makes it? UWA Tequila, Price: from £55)

new Scottish spirits

Described as the world’s first solely aged Speyside whisky cask tequila, founders of UWA tequila Michael Ballantyne and Ross Davidson created a platinum blanco – the spirit in its purest form, a seven-month cask aged reposado, and a 14-month cask aged añejo.

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Traditionally companies use American bourbon casks for ageing tequila and this is the first time a non-blended tequila has been placed in Scottish whisky casks.

Though technically, the spirit isn't made in Scotland, we think these excellent new drinks still qualify.

Dunedin Rum

(What is it? A Golden Rum, Who makes it? Strathearn Distillery, Price: £38.50)

new Scottish spirits

One of Scotland's most industrious spirits producers, Strathearn Distillery has created what is probably the first Scottish golden rum for over 100 years.

Described as having a "complex blend of sweet vanilla and spicy flavours" the rum has an oaky finish with notes of burnt sugar and caramel.

The striking bottle pays homage to Scotland and Muireadhach (Murdina) the famous Sea Warrior.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-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 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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