Five of the best new Scottish gins

The Scottish gin scene keeps growing and growing, here are five of the best new gins for you to check out.

Published 14th Jun 2016
Updated 18 th Sep 2023

With the news that gin sales will soon smash through the £1billion mark in the UK and the recent success of World Gin Day and the Scottish Juniper Festival, we thought we'd take a look at some of the best new Scottish gins making their mark this year.

Stirling Gin


Beginning life in October last year, Stirling Gin is already making steady progress in the sea of Scottish gin competitors and gaining recognition as one of the best new examples of the spirit around at the minute.

Created by June and Cameron McCann, the gin contains a recipe tweaked until the couple settled upon a blend of locally-sourced botanicals that they say offers a clean, citrus taste with just the right amount of heat provided by hand-picked, crushed local nettle leaves.

Currently their spirit is distilled at Glasgow distillery (home of Makar) but they have plans afoot to move their whole processing back to the town that gives the gin its name.

Rumour has it that Paolo Nutini is a fan.

Recommended garnish: A pinch of basil


Porter's Gin


The first gin to be distilled in Aberdeen city centre for 100 years, Porter's Gin was the product of the passion of three friends for all things drink related.

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Founders Ben Iravani, Josh Rennie and bartender Alex Lawrence spent the past few years fine-tuning their recipe, undertaking hundreds of small-scale distillations in order to perfect their method.

Named after Professor Andrew Porter of Aberdeen University, who sourced cold-distillation equipment which allowed the team to extract “light refreshing flavours” from botanicals.

The gin is a great example of a light style gin, made using traditional botanicals such as Juniper, orange and angelica sitting side-by-side with more unusual ingredients like buddha’s hand and pink peppercorn, to produce a wonderful citrus flavoured spirit that's as easy to drink neat as it is with tonic.

Recommended Garnish: A slice of lime


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Shetland Reel

It's fair to say that you can't get much further north than Unst in Shetland and their gin Shetland Reel, really reflects the rugged spirit and beautiful landscape of where the drink is made.

Offering two gins with two very distinct flavours; their original gin uses locally grown apple mint to create a juniper based gin with punchy hits of citrus and spice, while their Ocean Sent Gin uses specially harvested bladderwrack seaweed from the Shetland coastline to create a complex and flavoursome gin perfect for cocktails.

They've also recently created some excellent limited edition gins including one for the Up Helly Aa festival.

Recommended garnish: (for the original gin) a coriander leaf

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Isle of Harris


We were already excited about the announcement that there would soon be whisky from Harris, that we were entirely unprepared for the new distillery to produce this absolute cracker of a gin.

Made using nine botanicals including locally-sourced sugar kelp, which gives the gin its wonderful coastal flavour, and produced using their small copper still - affectionately known as 'The Dottach' - this a distinctly interesting gin unlike many you will have tried before.

Not only that but it comes in one of the most fantastic spirit bottles we've seen. Designed by the team at Stranger & Stranger, the bottle reflects the rolling waves of the Harris coast and carries deliberate imperfections to reflect the rugged nature of the island itself.

Recommended garnish: pink or red grapefruit


 McQueen Gin


The wildcard on this list has to be McQueen Gin, the Callander produced spirit that offers some of the strangest flavoured gins we have come across.

Brand new on the scene, McQueen gin pushes the boundaries of what you expect from a Scottish gin with flavours like chocolate mint, mocha and smokey chilli.

These are no flash-in-the-pan fad spirits though, Dale McQueen and wife Vicky - the team behind the gin - have gone all out to create this unique, hand-crafted spirit using such diverse botanicals as Kaffir Lime, coffee and chipotle chilli, all distilled and bottled in Perthshire.

Four gins that have to be tried to be believed, perfect for someone looking for something that truly stands out from the crowd.

Recommended garnishes: Mocha - Orange twist, Sweet citrus - strawberry and lime, Mint Chocolate - mint chocolate stick, smokey chilli - slice of lime.


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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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