Scottish Gin News

Round-Up October 2019.

Published: 1st November 2019

Our end of month round-up captures some of the exciting news from the wonderful world of Scottish Gin. From new Scottish Gin expressions to distillery openings and more. If you’ve got a story you’d like us to consider for inclusion in next month’s Scottish Gin News Round-Up then email

New Scottish Gins

Tarbert Legbiter Navy Strength Gin

This is the fourth Scottish Gin expression from Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, the producers of the Kintyre Gin series of gin expressions. Initially a limited edition Kintyre Gin Club expression, this strong and spicy navy strength gin has been added to the core range due to its popularity.

Tarbert Legbiter is a nod to the sword of Magnus Barelegs, legendary King of Norwary who claimed Kintyre as his own by circumnavigating the peninsula in his long boat. Not even the isthmus at Tarbert deterred him – this bold viking warrior simply had his vessel dragged across as he sat at the helm. Amazingly the spectre of old Barelegs himself made a surprise appearance at the distillery on launch day!

Learn more about Kintyre’s range of gins here.

Hendrick’s Amazonia

Although this won’t be available until next year and it’s a duty free exclusive… Hendrick’s have revealed their latest edition to emerge from Hendrick’s Gin Palace, Hendrick’s Amazonia. 

Inspired by the sights, sounds, stories and smells that master distiller Lesley Gracie experienced when she was on a quest to the Amazon Rainforest back in 2013. The result is a bright and tropical gin, which accentuates the Hendrick’s house style that we know and love.

Hendrick’s have also partnered with the reforestation organisation One Tree Planted on this project to make sure that for every bottle sold, a tree will be planted in an area of the Amazon. Coming next year to an airport near you.

Learn more about Hendrick’s Gin here.

Arcturus Torridon Gin Scots Pine Edition

The team at The Torridion, home to Arcturus Torridon Gin announced their new Scottish Gin expression to mark 2 years since the launch of their Arcturus Torridon Gin. Arcturus Torridon Gin Scot Pine Edition will be available in a new 70cl size bottle. Bringing together a variety of botanicals, including some which are sourced from the estate’s kitchen and gin garden, this new expression also includes the addition of Scots Pine needles sourced from trees on the estate.

Scottish Pine trees are the only native pine tree in the UK with species in Scotland with pollen records dated as far back 8500 years old. The trees eventually became extinct in most parts of the British isles apart from Scotland. The Scots pine formed much of the Caledonian Forest, which once covered much of the Scottish Highland before a variety of factors reduced the forest to what is now estimated to be just 1% of the original 3,700,000 acres.

The team also announced that the Arcturus Torridon Gin would be available in a larger 70cl size bottle and would be rebranded as Arcturus Torridon Gin Original Edition.

Learn more about Arcturus Torridon Gin here.

Darnley’s Smoke & Zest Gin

The second release as part of the Darnley’s Cottage Series, a series of bespoke gins created by distiller Scott Gowans at the Darnley’s Gin Cottage. Darnley’s Smoke and Zest gin has been distilled using locally grown barley which has been steeped and smoked slowly over pine wood chips. The addition of Lapsang Souchong tea brings a second exotic smoky element with cool menthol notes. Rowanberry and coriander from the distillery grounds and orange peel from Turkey lend the gin its sweet and zesty flavour.

Described as unusual but very approachable with juniper at its heart. A marriage of orange and zest flavours up front, with a malty character and a lingering smoke intensity. The gin can be enjoyed in a classic gin and tonic with a twist of orange peel or served with ginger beer. The other suggested serve is in the cocktail classic, the Negroni.

Learn more about Darnley’s Gin here.

Esker Spirits Silverglas Scottish Gin Series

The team at Esker Spirits launched not one but two new Scottish Gin expressions as part of their new Silverglas Gin series, Silverglas Scottish Raspberry and Silverglas Valencian Orange. The new expressions are based on the original Silverglas Gin, which included the core range of botanicals that feature in the original Esker Gin core expression, but with the addition of fresh mint to give a fresh, lighter, balanced finish. The new gin expressions deliver the same fresh and balanced Esker Silverglas flavour profile but with the addition of bright bursts of flavoursome fruit.

The original Esker Silverglas has also been given a makeover with new packaging, which has been applied across the Esker Silverglas series. Still keeping to the Esker origins of incorporating various elements of the botanicals, including the Silverbirch trees from a local estate that are tapped for their birch sap and local geography from the Royal Deeside area where the distillery is based.

Learn more about Esker Spirits here.

Red Door Highland Gin with Winter Botanicals

The team behind the Red Door at the Benromach Distillery in Forres released a new limited edition gin expression featuring a carefully selected range of winter botanicals. Red Door Highland Gin with Winter Botanicals is the first realise in a new range of limited seasonal Scottish Gins and features allspice, sea buckthorn, sultanas, blood orange and hop blossom.

The new expression is said to encompass the flavours of winter and joy of the festive season in a glass. Distilled at the Red Door Gin distillery at Benromach Distillery, the new gin was distilled using ‘Peggy’, the distillery’s copper pot still, which is also used to distill the signature Red Door Gin.

Learn more about Red Door Gin here.

Isle of Skye Pink Gin

Brothers and co-founders of Isle of Skye Distillers Thomas and Alistair Wilson used a good cause to announce the launch of their new Isle of Skye Misty Isle Pink Gin. The 18th of October was ‘Wear it Pink Day’, one of the biggest fundraising events in the UK. Held during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the day sees tens of thousands of people across the UK wear pink. Since the very first event in 2002, the day has raised over £33 million for vital research into breast cancer.

Launched at the Tongadale Hotel in Portree, the hotel along with the local community organised the Skye Bra Dash 2019 in aid of Wear it Pink Day and Light Up Portree, formed by the Portree and Braes Trust community events group with a mission to bring the community together to deliver more fun, family-friendly community events throughout the year. 

Learn more about Isle of Skye Distillers here.

Avva Strathspey Gin

A retail exclusive Scottish Gin that’s been launched with the support of Morrisions supermarkets, this new expression from Moray Distillery, the distillery behind the Avva Scottish Gin expressions, will be available exclusively from ten Scottish stores. Part of Morrisons ‘Nation’s Local Foodmakers Events’, which sees the stores buyers travelling the width and breadth of the UK looking for quality local produce to be featured in local stores in the producers area.

Coinciding with the businesses 3rd birthday, Avva Strathspey Gin is distilled in Elgin at the Moray Distillery. The new Avva Strathspey Gin is a slightly lighter version of Avva Scottish Gin but with the addition of home grown red clover and rowan berries foraged from Speyside. The suggested serve is with a light or Mediterranean tonic and a strip of fresh orange peel.

Learn more about Avva Scottish Gin here.

McQueen Black Cherry & Vanilla Gin and Clementine & Cinnamon Gin

The team at McQueen Gin announced the release of a limited edition Black Cherry & Vanilla Gin, available exclusively from Morrisons supermarkets. A dark velvet shade of purple, this new Scottish Gin expression is described as having a strong juniper backbone with rich bursts of cherry balanced with a light and refreshing hint of vanilla on the finish.

To celebrate the launch of the new gin, McQueen Gin launched a competition offering two lucky customers the opportunity to win a three night nordic adventure worth £1,500. The lucky adventurers will get to experience and explore Norway’s beautiful landscape including a hike through the Nordic Highlands, kayak through some breathtaking scenery and with a little luck be able to relax with a drink in hand and take in mother natures show of the Northern Lights.

To be in with a chance, simply purchase a bottle of the new McQueen Black Cherry & Vanilla Gin from your local Morrisons store then upload a copy of your receipt to the McQueen Gin competition page here.

McQueen Gin also announced their second retail exclusive gin during October, this time with Sainsbury’s. Having previously released their Coconut & Lime Gin and Raspberry & Vanilla Gin with Sainsbury’s, their new Clementine & Cinnamon Gin will also be available from Sainsbury’s stores across Scotland.

Learn more about McQueen Gin here.

Kinrara ‘Freya’ Artist Edition Gin

The third in the Artists Edition series of Scottish Gin expressions from the Aviemore based Kinrara Distillery is ‘Freya’ the Fox. Skilfully illustrated by artist Kat Baxter, this latest gin expression continues on the theme of animals and wildlife found on the Kinrara Estate where the distillery is based.

Using a variety of botanicals that feature in the gin to create the fox, this gin features a number of classic gin botanicals creating a juniper led gin with spicy, scented notes on the nose. The flavour profile starts with juniper before developing into a slightly sweet taste and finishing with a lovely, balanced spice.

Learn more about Kinrara Distillery here.

Sutors Gin

The team behind Sutors Gin first mentioned creating a 100% Scottish Gin made with a base spirit distilled in Scotland from local grain along with local botanicals in 2016. Over the last three years the team have been on a pretty exciting Scottish Gin journey. First securing a loyal following through their Sutors Gin 500 Club, which saw the first 500 bottles allocated to the first 500 customers.

Although the development of the final recipe was in hand, the team still had to source larger quantities of local botanicals and grow and nurture the crops that would be used to create their base spirit. In amongst all this, the team renovated a former farm building and established their distillery. In October 2019, Sutors Gin was launched. Distilled using vapour infusion, the gin features a number of botanicals from the local area from seashore to hillside, river to ocean along with their own grain to glass alcohol base for the gin.

Learn more about Sutors Gin here.

Scottish Gin News

The Glasgow Distillery Company Pop-Up Shop

The team at The Glasgow Distillery Company opened up a new pop-up shop in Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries. The new pop-up shop gives consumers the opportunity to see the distillery’s growing range of spirits, which includes their award-winning Makar Glasgow Gin range plus rum and Whisky. There will also be a variety of branded gifts, exclusive deals and of course Makar Gin stars, a great addition to any gin lover’s Christmas tree.

The pop-up shop will give consumers the opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ along with guidance from the distillery staff who be at hand to answer any questions and take you through a guided tasting of the various spirits. The pop-up shop is located on the first floor of Buchanan Galleries, directly opposite the John Lewis store and is open every day until Monday 30th December. 

Learn more about Makar Gin here.

McQueen Gin Emporium Stirling Shop

McQueen Gin opened their McQueen Gin Emporium in Stirling proving consumers the opportunity to purchase from the McQueen Gin range of Scottish Gin expressions. Along with the shop at the distillery on the outskirts of Callandar, this new shop brings McQueen Gin directly to the high-street.

Stocking the full-range of award-winning McQueen Gins, the shop provides an opportunity for consumers to learn more about the products from the staff, learn the history of McQueen Gin and of course pick up a bottle. There’s also a selection of McQueen Gin gift packs, gin miniatures and branded glassware.

Learn more about McQueen Gin here.

Scottish Gin Awards 2019

Thursday the 10th of October 2019 saw Scotland’s gin makers and brand owners gather at the Doubletree by Hilton in Glasgow for the 3rd annual Scottish Gin Awards. Year on year the awards ceremony continues to grow in both size and award categories.

Established by the team at KD Media, an Edinburgh based PR firm who specialise in marketing, PR and events, the evening saw over 600 guests from across the world of Scottish Gin, food, drink and hospitality gather to celebrate Scotland’s thriving gin industry.

Last year we attended as guests and were sat with the team from Pickering’s Gin, who were great fun. This year we returned as a category sponsor, with our co-founder Natalie Reid presenting the award for High Strength Gin of the Year, which was won by none other than Pickering’s Gin!

Read more about the event and full list of winners here.

LIDL Scottish Gin Festival 2019

Supermarket LIDL launched their Scottish Gin Festival for 2019, featuring 9 brands including a non-alcoholic distilled spirit. Some of the gins featured include Makar Cherry Gin, Esker Silverglas Valencian Orange, and Isle of Bute Heather & Pink Grapefruit Gin.

Consumers can also check out Crabbie’s Old Tom Gin, House of Elrick Gin, Colour-Changing Milk Thistle and Chamomile Gin from The Old Curiosity Distillery and Filska Grapefruit Gin and a limited edition Wild Fire Spiced Gin, both from Shetland Reel.

Flavour Flavour

A newly published report from William Grant & Sons, the Trending 2020 report, shows that gin grew by a massive 45% in the year to June 2019, with an on and off trade value of £2.4 billion. Also reporting a massive increase in the sales of ‘Flavoured Gins’, making up over a third of all off-trade sales.

It’s predicted sales of gin will hit £3.5 billion compared to £3 billion for vodka by June 2020. This would make gin the UK’s most popular spirit ahead of both vodka and Whisky according to the published data.

How long this momentum can be sustained will be down to innovation and diversity in the industry along with consumer demand. The Gin Cooperative believe it is important as the flavoured category continues to grow that consumers are educated about what ‘gin’ is as a spirit and where the ‘Flavoured Gin’ category fits into the wider gin category. There should also always be a focus on producing fantastic quality gins that exceed consumers expectations but still respect and add value to the wider gin category.

Morrisons ‘Nation’s Local Foodmakers Events

Morrisions Nation’s Local Foodmakers Events were specifically created to help discover local food and drinks producers and create retail opportunities in local, regional Morrisons stores. Morrisons describe their unique supplier programme as a great way of finding, supporting and helping grow good quality suppliers.

Along with Avva Scottish Gin’s Strathspey Gin and McQueen Gin’s Black Cherry & Vanilla Gin, Pickering’s Gin based in Edinburgh, Kintyre Gin, distilled by the team at Beinn an Tuirc Distillery in Kintyre and Makar Cherry Gin from The Glasgow Distillery Company in Glasgow have all been selected to participate. Pickering’s Gin, which is distilled at the Summerhall Distillery at the Old Dick in Edinburgh will be available from selected Morrisons stores across Fife and Edinburgh. Kintyre Gin will be available from a number of Morrisons stores in and around Glasgow. Makar Cherry Gin will be available in a number of stores on the Scottish West coast.

It’s great to see a national retailer supporting Scottish Gin producers and providing shelf space providing an even bigger selection of gins for the consumer to explore. We appreciate the supermarket route isn’t an option for some gin makers and for some it doesn’t fit with their business plans. As long as the price point doesn’t punish loyal, independent retailers, many of whom support Scottish Gin, and the supermarket can promote Scottish Gin as being a premium spirit made in Scotland, we hope these kind of opportunities can encourage the consumer to seek out Scottish Gin.

GlenWyvis Distillery

Having visited the distillery last year and having got to know the team behind the distillery, we were sad to read the news about the fire at the distillery. Thankfully the local fire service were quick to respond and no one was injured.

Knowing the work ethos of the team and their drive to produce great Scottish spirits, we know they will be back producing their gins and whiskies in no time. Sending our regards to Duncan, Josh, Mike, Bhrea and the wider team.

The Gin Cooperative on the road

Winter is well and truly here in Scotland with the first dustings of snow across the Cairngorms National Park. Winter’s a magical time in Scotland, lots of opportunities for great photo shoots, lots of new Scottish Gins in the run up to the festive period and for some gin makers, a unique opportunity to forage seasonal botanicals for next year’s gin batches.

Although we tend to keep our visits to a minimum over the winter months, we’ll still be taking the opportunities where we can and the weather permits to get out and about and go visit our members. Compared to August and September where we visited fifteen gin distilleries across Scotland, October saw us sticking a little closer to home.

Esker Spirits

We caught up with the team at Esker Spirits on Royal Deeside to film our next Time for Gin video interview with co-founders Steve and Lynne Duthie. They were the first gin distillery in Aberdeenshire so it was great for us to learn more about their story, hopes for the Scottish Gin category and future plans. We’ll be publishing their Time for Gin interview soon.

We were also given a sneak peek of some things they’ve been working on including their new festive Esker Spirits miniature pack, which features all three Silverglas Scottish Gin expressions and their Esker Honey Spiced gin. 

The Gin Cooperative Features October 2019

Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in October 2019.

Scottish Gin News Round-Up September 2019 – read it here.

Experience Scottish Gin, Beinn an Tuirc – read it here.

Our People, Darnley’s Gin – read it here.

Discovering Scottish Gin, Holyrood Distillery – read it here.

Scottish Gin Awards 2019 Round-Up – read it here.

Shaken & Stirred, House of Fizz, House of Elrick Gin – find out how to make it here.

Beautiful Botanicals – read it here.

The Future of Gin, Claire Fletcher, Lussa Gin – read it here.

Shaken & Stirred, French 75, McLean’s Something Blue – read it here.

Women of Gin Experiences