We take a look at the emerging scene of vodkas produced in Scotland and pick out five you should definitely try in the near future.

Scotland first conquered the world with whisky, then gin, and now it seems our vodkas are set to take the global stage by storm as well.

Whisky and gin are perceived to be the most popular of the Scottish spirit categories, however, both actually struggle to compete with vodka in Scotland, which is it turns out is very much a vodka loving nation.

Vodka makes up around 35 per cent of our spirit intake – while both blended whisky (13 per cent) and gin (7 per cent) make up around 20 per cent of the market.

And though this is mainly down to sales from the big multinationals, small batch producers, like those in the gin industry, are now beginning to make their mark.

With that in mind, we’ve picked out five of the best Scottish vodkas for you to check out:

NB London Dry Citrus vodka

London Dry Citrus Vodka

London Dry Citrus Vodka. Picture: NB

NB London Dry Citrus Vodka is produced by husband-and-wife team Steve and Viv Muir in North Berwick, East Lothian, in a custom-made copper still at the couple’s micro-distillery.

Already well know for their NB Gin, recently judged the world’s best London Dry gin, the couple have now produced what is thought to be the world’s first London Dry citrus vodka.

It is made from pure British grain spirit and a blend of lemon, coriander seed and cassia bark, using the London Dry distillation process.

The finished product is long, smooth with a very subtle, yet delicious, hint of refreshing citrus that will have you coming back for more.

Ogilvy Vodka

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Ogilvy say their aim is to create a ‘small-batch local liquor of international quality’ and judging by the success of this Scottish potato vodka, they’ve done just that.

It is already an award winner, scooping a double gold medal and sliver for at the prestigious 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and sales have recently taken off.

The Jarrons began making the distillery on their farm in 2014 – complete with a custom built still from John Dore & Co (the world’s oldest still maker) – and began to produce potato vodka. The potatoes used to create the spirit are produced not far from the still, ensuring complete control over every aspect of the process.

Crisp, citrusy and creamy, the future looks bright for this interesting vodka.

Arbikie Chilli Vodka

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Already flush with the success of their single-estate potato vodka and delightful Kirsty’s Gin, which are both flying off the shelves, Arbikie are pushing the boundaries further by producing this exciting new vodka.

The Smoky and Smooth Chilli Vodka combines their excellent potato vodka with chillies from Scotland’s first chilli farm, Chillilicious.

Warming, yet with a focus on the smokiness of the chillies, which are soaked in the vodka until there is a delicious balance of spice and flavour, this fun vodka is definitely one to share with friends.

Holy Grass Vodka

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Already a successful gin producer with Rock Rose, Dunnet Bay Distillers have expanded into the vodka market with this distinctive vodka.

Holy Grass, which grows on the banks of the Thurso River near the distillery in Caithness (though we are told this is not the source for their actual supply but the inspiration), was apparently used to make church floors in the past due to the sweet, vanilla aroma it released when walked over.

The Holy grass lends a wonderful creaminess to the vodka, finishing in deep tones of vanilla and the added infusion of apples adds a nice sharp, citrus edge to the proceedings.

Valt Vodka

Valt

In a bid to create a uniquely Scottish vodka, Strathleven Distillers use only Scottish malted barley and Scottish mountain water to produce this flavourful malted barley vodka.

The distillers say a unique quintuple micro-distillation technique had to be created just to produce the vodka, which they say adds to its already distinctive character.

A big, flavoursome vodka, that may put many in the mind of a whisky, rather than the clear spirit it’s intended to be, this is definitely one for fans of robust character and punchy flavour.

 

Everything you need to know about Scottish vodkas

About The Author

Sean Murphy

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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