Scottish Gin NewsRound-Up March 2022.
Published: 31st March 2022
After a relatively slow start to the year, March has been quite eventful, right up until the last day of the month with the new Downpour Gin bottle launch. There’s a couple of special anniversary editions in the mix; celebrating the 650th Anniversary of Glamis Castle and the 20th Anniversary Isle of Gigha’s community buy-out; fantastic to see a theme of neighbourly love and community collaboration continue in the Scottish Gin industry. Plus distillery news, awards and some of our own activities this month…
New Scottish Gins
Downpour Gin Bottle
Congratulations to the team at North Uist Distillery on the launch of their beautiful new custom bottle. Although the gin itself was launched three years ago, and has proved extremely popular with its traditional, yet bold coastal flavours, this bottle is fresh off the production line and evaluates the brand and gin to a new level. With consumers buying with their eyes, it’s little surprise that we’re seeing more and more brands moving to a bespoke bottle design. And I’m sure you’ll agree, North Uist Distillery have really delivered a statement bottle; clean and understated but full of character. The brand’s strapline, ‘Island Life Distilled’, is embossed on the neck of each bottle, with the body featuring the Downpour logo surrounded by the brand’s signature rain pattern, which wraps around the new bottle.
With a focus on increasing environmental consciousness, founders Kate Macdonald and Jonny Ingledew enlisted high-quality Italian glassmakers Vetroelite to produce the new bottle, designed by Glasgow-based Jamhot Design. The new bottle uses 38% less glass than the original Downpour design, a natural cork stopper with a wooden top, and the use of biodegradable inks ensures that the new bottle can be recycled alongside clear household glass. This further adds to their environmental credentials, with North Uist Distillery having been plastic free since inception, using only cardboard in their postal packaging. The distillery are also aiming to become B Corp certified.
Learn more about North Uist Distillery here.
Darnley’s Gin Aromata
Aromata is a special release from the team at Darnley’s Gin and has been created from a distinctive combination of eleven botanicals. Distiller Scott Gowans wanted to create a bright, spicy and aromatic gin and ultimately chose from a selection of home-grown and south-east Asian botanicals; lemon grass and ginger give bright zesty citrus notes, underlined by earthy-sweet galangal and turmeric, finishing with a tingle from star anise and home-grown fennel seeds.
Learn more about Darnley’s Gin here.
Pickering’s Heather & Honey Gin
Pickering’s Gin teamed up with independent Scottish florists MUD Urban Flowers for Mother’s Day to create a gin and bouquet bundle, which included their new Heather & Honey gin plus a beautiful dried flower bouquet… lasting up to 3 years if cared for. The distillery team were inspired to experiment with some of the florist’s fresh and dried flowers, with heather, lavender and rosehip ultimately making it into the final recipe, plus Scottish honey. The gin and bundle are available exclusively on their website.
Learn more about Pickering’s Gin here.
Hendrick’s Neptunia Gin
The latest edition released as part of master distiller Lesley Gracie’s “Cabinet of Curiosities”, Neptunia Gin was inspired by the Scottish coastline beside the Hendrick’s Gin Palace and distillery. The gin uses the classic Hendrick’s Gin as a base, layered with flavours of locally sourced coastal botanicals including sea kelp and coastal thyme. Additional lime has been combined to create a gin that’s reminiscent of Hendrick’s Gin with extra fresh and floral notes, carefully balanced with herbaceous flavours of the Scottish coast.
Learn more about Hendrick’s Gin here.
Isle of Gigha Coastal Gin
The Beinn an Tuirc team, makers of Kintyre Gin, collaborated with the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust to create a special gin to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the island’s community buy-out. £5 from the sale of every bottle gets donated to the Trust. A select few visitors had a sneaky taste at the distillery’s recent open day but there’s a larger batching bottling right now, available to buy from early April. Distillers Su and Lynsey collected a variety of botanicals from the stunning coastline and richly diverse Achamore Gardens, trialling samples on a stove top still. Gorse and sugar kelp from the shore complement nettle, dandelion root and mountain pepper from the land, alongside cassia, orange, orris and of course, juniper. The finished spirit is a rich and complex gin, a blend of herbal island botanicals married together with hints of sea minerals.
Learn more about Beinn an Tuirc here.
Gin Bothy’s Glamis Castle Gin
Gin Bothy created a limited edition gin in collaboration with Glamis Castle to celebrate the launch of the Glamis Castle 650th Anniversary to honour The Queen Mother and her ancestral connection to Glamis Castle. The botanicals were foraged from within the castle’s Walled Garden, including juniper, chestnut, rosemary, cicely, verbena and grapes. Kim explains how the Queen Mother enjoyed her gin, “It is quite a simple cocktail. First, add a measure of gin, then a double measure of Dubonnet and three ice cubes. The Queen Mother always insisted on three ice cubes for the perfect consistency and temperature. It’s lovely to be able to make this drink in tribute to the Queen Mother for Mother’s Day.”
Learn more about Gin Bothy here.
Scottish Gin News
Avva Scottish Gin plan for new distillery
Congratulations to Jill Brown and her team at Moray Distillery, makers of the range of Avva Scottish Gins, on the announcement of their new planned distillery in Elgin. The build and move will allow for increased production, expanded retail, new jobs and it creates an exciting new visitor experience for the Moray area, already a hugely desirable visitor destination for spirits drinkers everywhere. The current plan is to open the new doors in early Winter 2022. In the meantime, gin tasting tours have returned to the existing distillery premises in Elgin – pre-book here.
Learn more about Avva Scottish Gin here.
Glenrinnes Distillery to host WSET training
Glenrinnes Distillery, the home of Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin, has become an Approved Programme Provider (APP) of WSET training courses. The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications. The addition of accredited WSET training courses to existing distillery and production services is part of the company’s strategy to establish Glenrinnes Distillery as a centre of excellence for distilling. With the first course planned to run on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th April, Glenrinnes Distillery is offering Level 1 and Level 2 Awards in Spirits as well as Level 1 and Level 2 Awards in Wines, the latter being run in association with award-winning wine specialists WoodWinters. The courses are open to beginners, enthusiasts and those already working in the drinks trade.
Learn more about Eight Lands here.
Bartenders’ Brand Awards
The Bartenders’ Brand Awards are a unique blind tasting, design and value-tested competition for spirits, wines, beers and drinks products available within the UK bar industry. The awards are purely focused on the on-trade and are open to drinks brands that are available in UK cocktail, hotel and restaurant bars. Congratulations to Edinburgh Gin for taking home 4 medals and Glasgow Distillery Company for winning Gold and Category Champion for their Makar Old Tom Gin.
International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC)
When Massel created the International Wine & Spirit Competition, his aim – as it remains to this day – was to reward excellence in drinks worldwide, ensuring recognition for the very best wines and spirits. The IWSC is proud to set the international benchmark for quality, standing out in the crowded world of drinks awards with hundreds of global experts – including buyers, producers, distillers, sommeliers, distributors and influencers – judging wines and spirits throughout the year. Congratulations to our members on the following awards:
London Dry Gin
Distilled Dry Gin (Contemporary)
London Dry Gin
Distilled Dry Gin (Contemporary)
Cask Finish Gin
London Dry Gin
Distilled Dry Gin (Contemporary)
Old Tom Gin
Cask Finish Gin
And congratulations to Dunnet Bay Distillers, makers of Rock Rose Gin, for scooping the top prize in Environmental and Sustainability at the annual Federation of Small Business (FSB) Awards.
The Gin Cooperative
We were delighted to announce our partnership with Treepoints in March as part of our ongoing commitment to reducing waste. Treepoints focuses on three key green areas supporting the environment: plastic recycling, tree planting and management, and global sustainable projects. With the support of Treepoints, over the course of each year, The Gin Cooperative will initially offset 12 tonnes of carbon per year, plant 720 trees and recycle 720 plastic bottles.
We also recently signed up to the SME Climate Hub Commitment to reduce our waste as part of the wider-reaching United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign. Although we’re a small family business, we believe that everyone has a role to play in whatever way they can to help with the climate crisis. The campaign encourages businesses to reduce their carbon emissions in half by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050. As we continue to look at ways of reducing waste and improving our carbon footprint, we’re proud to be playing our role in working towards a greener, net zero economy and will continue to look at the best ways we can further reduce waste across our business. Read the full feature here.
Thanks to the team at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa for hosting us for our latest Scottish Gin photoshoot. Renowned for their first class service and food and drink, we were delighted to get behind the bar and show off some of Scotland’s very best gin serves.
Judging The Gin Guide Awards 2022
March saw us return as judges for The Gin Guide Awards 2022, getting involved in some taste and business categories. Thanks to Paul Jackson and Bernadette Pamplin for having us back for a second year and keeping us well informed. It still surprises the mind and senses how different and vast the aromas and flavours can be across the gin category – it served as a fantastic reminder of how exciting the spirit is. Best of luck to all the entrants… we’re already looking forward to the results.
February Scottish Gin Subscription
Our February Scottish Gin Subscription box was jam packed featuring two Shetland Reel expressions plus two Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water. The small batch creation ‘Gin Bean’ is limited to 500 bottles and was made in collaboration with Cairngorm Leaf & Bean Roastery, with intricate hints of mocha from the coffee specialist’s El Salvador SHG ‘Cuzcachapa’ single origin coffee. The second Simmer Gin is from Shetland Reel’s core collection; a refreshing aromatic gin created in celebration of Shetland’s summer twilight, know locally as the ‘Simmer Dim’. Both gins are also available to purchase from our online shop here.
As standard, we hosted an online meet-the-maker session, a unique and added value opportunity to learn directly from the talented people working in the Scottish Gin industry. Thanks to co-founder Debbie Strang for taking the time to meet us and our subscribers for their ongoing support.
Learn more about our Scottish Gin Subscription here.
News & Features
Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in March 2022.
Scottish Gin News Round-Up February – read it here.
Scottish Gin Geography – read it here.
The Gin Cooperative Goes Green – read it here.
Meet the Distiller, Fiona Williamson, Dark Art Distillery – read it here.
Look through our archive of Scottish Gin news here.