Scottish Gin NewsRound-Up June 2022.
Published: 8th July 2022
June was a whirlwind of excitement and activity at The Gin Cooperative HQ, as we managed the entry process for our recently launched awards programme, with over 120 Scottish Gins ultimately entering the awards. We’re delighted with this interest and support for our inaugural annual awards competition and took great pride decanting and despatching over 1,200 samples to our carefully considered and diverse judging panel, which includes an amazing array of gin experts and drinkers, the length and breadth of the UK. We can’t wait to see the judges scores and feedback. Finalists and winners will be announced in August, following a lengthy and responsible judging period.
We did manage to stop and enjoy World Gin Day and World Martini Day, which both provided perfect opportunities to rediscover and enjoy some of our favourite Scottish Gins. Read on to learn more about the latest gins, news, awards, and more, coming out of Scotland for June.
New Scottish Gins
Rock Rose Gin Smoked Orange
There is a fantastic story behind this latest launch; Craig Chalmers has worked on and off at Dunnet Bay Distillery since he was a teenager and recently graduated from Heriot Watt with a Brewing & Distilling degree, which led him back to the distillery for some hands-on distilling experience. Co-founder and Head Distiller Martin Murray gave him the opportunity to experiment and develop a new gin recipe, which has gone down so well, that Martin is claiming it might be their “best gin yet”.
Learn more about Rock Rose Gin Smoked Orange & Dunnet Bay Distillers here.
The Borders Distillery Kerr’s Navy Strength Gin
This limited edition run of only 2,022 bottles is a Navy Strength version of the original William Kerr’s Gin, distilled at 57.1% ABV. The bottle is a striking royal blue and entirely paperless using state of the art technology at Scottish bottle decorators Image On Glass UK. Available exclusively from their website thebordersdistillery.com.
Learn more about The Borders Distillery here.
City of Aberdeen Distillery’s Valencia Orange Gin
Continuing to bring experimentation and small batch creations to the folks of Aberdeen, co-founder and distiller at City of Aberdeen Distillery has made a particularly seasonal concoction using Valencian oranges and bright Moroccan coriander, providing us with a balanced summer sipper, now available at cityofaberdeendistillery.co.uk.
Learn more about City of Aberdeen Distillery here.
North Uist Distillery’s Downpour Pink Grapefruit Gin and Downpour Sloe Gin
Following the release of their beautiful custom blue bottle for the signature Downpour Scottish Dry Gin in March, the team released their other core gins in matching custom bottles, pink for Pink and red for Sloe. Using 38% less glass than the old Downpour bottles, they are lighter on the environment in both production and delivery. They are 100% plastic free with wood and cork stoppers and are printed with organic inks, which ensures that they are recyclable with clear household glass. But perhaps most importantly they are designed to be kept, loved and refilled, reducing environmental impact and providing a beautifully designed item to value and treasure.
Learn more about North Uist Distillery here.
Cairngorm Gin Special Edition
In collaboration with The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, this gin release commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, Britain’s only free ranging herd of reindeer. Reindeer are a very special and permanent feature in the Scottish Highlands, having lived and grazed in the Cairngorm Mountains since 1952. Fittingly, the gin features Lichen, otherwise known as reindeer moss, which provides a warming spice notes. £2 from the sale of each bottle goes towards the maintenance of the herd and the first 70 reindeer adopters that order a bottle on cairngormgin.com receive a reindeer antler keyring.
Learn more about Cairngorm Gin Company here.
Pixel Spirits Gin 2024 Worldcon Bid Gin
Worldcon is The World of Science Fiction Convention that celebrates science fiction content including books, movies, shows and merchandise. It was first held in 1939 and has happened every year since 1946. The Glasgow bid team for Worldcon 2024 are working towards securing Glasgow as the host city for the 2024 event and worked with the team at Pixel Spirits to create a bespoke 2024 Worldcon Bid Gin. The gin features a variety of botanicals that have ties to science fiction, space and mythology including star fruit, star anise and buddha’s hand.
Learn more about Pixel Spirits Gin 2024 Worldcon Bid Gin here.
Rock Rock Gin move closer to Castletown Mill
Following the announcement in January this year that the Dunnet Bay based distillery team had purchased the local landmark Castletown Mill, they were this month able to confirm that planning permission has been granted, giving the green light to turn the dilapidated building into a Whisky Distillery and Visitor Centre, which will likely become home to Rock Rock Gin and Holy Grass Vodka too.
Learn more about Dunnet Bay Distillers here.
Pixel Spirits Gin Tasting & Distillery Tours
Not only do Pixel Spirits run a popular Gin & Rum School at their North Ballachulish based distillery, but they also offer gin tasting and tours, which have proved so popular that they have opened them up Monday through Saturday. The gin tasting and distillery tour can be booked on their website here and includes tasting 3 paired gins from their range as well as a comprehensive tour of their distillery with the founder and distillery Craig Innes.
Spirits Business The Gin Masters 2022
For the second year running, the volume of entries into The Gin Masters meant the judging was split into two sessions. The first round of results has just been announced, with the second tasting taking part later this year, and the Master medallists from both sessions will be re-tasted to determine The Gin Taste Master 2022.
Gins were broken down into their respective price brackets, namely Standard, Premium, Super Premium and Ultra Premium. Then by category, namely London Dry, Contemporary, Organic, Microdistillery, Old Tom, Cask Aged, Navy Strength, Pink Gin, Flavoured Gin, Sloe Gin and Gin Liqueurs.
Congratulations to Raven Spirits for winning a Master medal in the Super Premium category for Hrafn Gin Thought & Memory and North Uist Distillery, Isle of Harris Distillers, Deerness Distillery and Courageous Spirits for gaining Gold medals in the Ultra Premium category for Downpour Scottish Dry Gin with its potential to “make some great thirst-quenching drinks”, Isle of Harris Gin, “green and leafy” Sea Glass Gin and “prominently juniper” Glaswegin respectively.
In the style categories, a worthy London Dry Master medal for King’s Hill Gin after the judges discovered flavours of “sweet cinnamon, juniper and lovely green herbs” and Hrafn Gin Thought & Memory for its “strong lime zest aroma”. Gold went to Glaswegin, Edinburgh Gin Seaside & Classic, Darnley’s Gin Aromata, Tyree Gin, “classic with a fruity nose” Isle of Raasay Gin. Then Silver for Shipyard Gin and Darnley’s Gin Original.
Isle of Cumbrae Distillers Restoration Gin won Gold in Contemporary, Edinburgh Gin Cannonball won Silver in Navy Strength, Tyree Hebridean Pink Gin won Silver in Pink, Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger and Raspberry won Silver and Glaswegin Raspberry & Rhubarb also won Silver in Flavoured.
The Gin Cooperative
We’re so thankful to the sponsors, judges and producers involved with The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022, our very first awards competition. A special mention to our sponsors; Walter Gregor’s Premium Scottish Tonic Water, Rankin Brothers & Sons Corks and Capsules, Glencairn Crystal, Shine PR, Joseph Flach & Sons Botanicals and EFX Custom Awards and Trophies.
The Gin Cooperative Awards looks at Scottish Gin from a different angle; ultimately how gin is purchased and enjoyed. So our panel of industry, community and consumer judges will blind taste and score a sensible number of gins neat and as a gin & tonic, as well as scoring a different set of gins for Packaging, taking into consideration bottle & design and shelf appeal. Our judges have just been issued with a comprehensive Judges Guide and Digital Scoresheet with an in-depth overview of each element of the judging process including appearance, nose, palate, finish and packaging. Each judge will receive a number of blind samples along with Walter Gregor’s tonics and Glencairn tasting glasses to ensure all samples are judged following the criteria in the judges guide.
Scores for each of the 14 awards will be collated and Gold, Silver and Bronze awards will be issued to the the top scorers for each category, with the finalists and winners announced throughout August. Winners for Gold, Silver and Bronze will also each receive a bespoke award designed by The Gin Cooperative and produced by EFX, the UK’s leading trophy and awards design and manufacturing company.
We’re also delighted to have the support of a number of official sponsors who are sponsoring an award along with the support of Glencairn Crystal, the official glassware of The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022.
Scottish Gin of The Year 2022, Sponsored by EFX – the UK’s leading trophy and awards design and manufacturing company.
London Dry Scottish Gin Award 2022, Sponsored by Shine PR – the communications agency for food & drink, travel, tourism and hospitality.
Distilled Scottish Gin Award 2022, Sponsored by JFS (Joseph Flach & Sons) – Global botanical merchants since 1882.
Scottish Gin Packaging Award 2022, Sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Sons – Corks, Capsules, Closures.
Scottish Gin & Tonic of The Year 2022, Sponsored by Walter Gregor’s – premium Scottish tonics, mixers and soft drinks.
The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022, Supported by Glencairn Crystal – producing bespoke crystal gifts and glassware for over 40 years, the official glassware of The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022.
Good luck to all the judges and entrants!
Learn more about The Gin Cooperative Awards here.
Behind The Scenes
Thirst of All Pod
We were invited to speak with Rory Faiers aka The Gin Lord as part of his drinks podcast, Thirst of All Pod, featuring in Series 3 Episode 5. We answered a series of questions, from our “never ever drink” to our “death row drink”, which provided a few laughs and some serious head scratching. It was a really fun, informal and enjoyable chat and as predicted, Rory made us feel right at home. Rory has met with some interesting characters over the last two years. You can find links to the back catalogue of Thirst of All Pod podcasts here.
North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards
We attended the NES (North East Scotland) Food & Drinks Awards ceremony at The Chester Hotel on the 9th July following judging at Meldrum House Hotel in June. It was fantastic to get all dressed up and celebrate food and drink producers in this corner of Scotland. Natalie was proud to be part of the judging panel for best distilled and brewed products, with some amazing examples of quality drinks being produced in the North East. Congratulations to the Distilled winners Outlaw Rum Co. and Brewed winners Six°North plus all the other winners and finalists!
May Scottish Gin Subscription
Our May Scottish Gin Subscribers received Achroous Gin from Electric Spirit Co., a gin known for some non-traditional yet flavoursome gin botanicals in the recipe, including Sichuan Pepper, which adds a woody, floral warmth and spice to the taste and Fennel Seed, providing a faint aniseed and herbal kick.
Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability, Achroous Gin packaging has been entirely recyclable or biodegradable for a number of years and in 2021 they launched reusable 5 litre kegs, which operate on a return and refill basis for on-trade.
Completing a masters degree in distillation at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, famous amongst the distillation world for its courses and facilities, James set to work in 2014 establishing Electric Spirit Co. and started work on his flagship spirit: Achroous Gin. Thanks to James for co-hosting our online meet-the-maker event in June, where are subscribers were able to hear first hand from a Scottish Gin distiller and brand owner.
Learn more about Electric Spirit Co. here.
Learn more about our Scottish Gin Subscription here.
News & Features
Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in June 2022.
Scottish Gin News Round-Up May – read it here.
World Martini Day 2022 – read it here.
Look through our archive of Scottish Gin news here.