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Rock Rose, Dunnet Bay, gin review

Published: March 7, 2015
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The current desire for small batch, hand-made, locally sourced produce is driving the demand for everything from clothes to food. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the drinks market, where British manufacturing is once again becoming more and more highly sought.

First seen in the craft beer movement and now reflected in spirits, small batch gin is fast becoming a prized commodity. With this in mind we went to the Good Spirits Company on Glasgow's Bath Street, to speak to spirit expert Matthew and mixologist Graeme about their thoughts and recommendations on some of Scotland's up-and-coming gins.

Named after one of their rare botanicals the "Rhodiola rosea" which is very difficult to find but grows on the cliffs of Caithness, Rock Rose Gin is one of the fastest selling craft gin in the UK.

The Rock Rose is famed for its confirmed health benefits and was once sought after by the Vikings for its strength and vitality. It seems that this fame has not gone unnoticed, the first batch of the gin sold out in less than 48 hours - an industry record.

Britain's most northerly mainland distillery, Rock Rose use an increasingly unique distilling process which infuses 18 botanicals, of which 5 are grown locally. Perhaps most interestingly, they use both traditional Italian and Bulgarian junipers which are blended together to create a unique juniper taste for their gin.


Very perfumey, earthy, fruity and floral tones vie for attention. Punchy, lifted and pronounced. Almost like potpourri.


When neat:

All sweetness and creaminess with that added perfume punch, the earthy tones just beginning to come through like little wisps.

Scotland's Larder: Peter Dignan of Lost Loch Spirits

With tonic (one part gin to two parts Fever Tree) and garnish (orange peel):

A far cleaner flavour. The bitterness of the tonic still noticeable but not overpowering the gin. There's a nice balance. The orange garnish works well but does sweeten it ever so slightly.

Mathew says: "Lovely aromatic gin that brings a nice quality to the Scottish gin scene, very well made, punchy and floral. The clue is in the name."

Graeme's cocktail choice: "A classic Martini, I'm taking this one down the citrusy route to push that punchy flavour"

Douglas Laing & Co. release Rangers gin - with 15 botanicals including grass from Ibrox

Martini recipe:

  • 60ml Rock Rose
  • 15ml Dolin dry Vermouth
  • One dash of orange bitters and garnished with a lemon twist
The classic Martini

The classic Martini

Rock Rose Gin website

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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