Scottish Gin NewsRound-Up September & October 2022.
Published: 5th November 2022
September and October saw a small number of new gins come to market, mainly in the form of special editions or collaboration gins; overall, and not surprisingly, our data so far for 2022 in terms of releases, is down and similar to numbers in 2017. We’ll be posting our yearly Scottish Gin in numbers infographic once the year is out, providing a snapshot of the Scottish Gin category for 2022. The current economic climate doesn’t give us a warm fuzzy feeling in the short term as consumers look to cut spending on non-essential items (who would have thought gin is non-essential!), but on a serious note, we’ve already seen a number of well established gin brands call it a day. Sadly, it feels like we’re in the middle of the perfect economic storm with no definitive end in sight. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Over the last few months, Scottish Gin distilleries and brand owners have continued to explore new routes to market with a number of new deals signed off by Scottish Gin brands, including Lind & Lime Gin, which will soon be available in California through Preiss Imports. Scottish Gin brands and producers have also continued to pick up awards and keep their distillery doors open for tours and tastings. We have confidence that most of the established Scottish Gin brands and distilleries can stay afloat throughout this tumultuous period and will come out stronger, bigger and better than ever on the other side.
New Scottish Gins
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin Hebridean Strength
The Botanist Hebridean Strength is a new higher ABV Scottish Gin expression. Using the classic 22 hand-foraged Islay botanicals that give the signature The Botanist Islay Dry Gin its sumptuous smoothness and beautiful balance, this new Hebridean Strength highlights and amplifies the flavours. The mouthfeel is also more viscous, thanks to the 51.5% ABV. This new edition is available exclusively in travel retail in the following airports: Frankfurt Airport, Hamburg Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Munich International Airport, Copenhagen Airport, Vienna International Airport, Sydney Airport and Istanbul Airport, with other airports due to be added next year. Learn more about The Botanist Gin here.
King’s Hill Scottish Gin Rhubarb & Raspberry
Following the success of their small batch Rhubarb & Amaretto Gin Liqueur, the King’s Hill Gin team have added this new full strength fruit flavoured Rhubarb & Raspberry gin to their range. Their signature King’s Hill Gin, which comes in a beautiful sky blue bottle, has been infused with rhubarb and raspberries to create a. pink gin, decanted into a clear version of the custom bottle, ultimately presented as a deep pink, almost red, coloured gin; the perfect companion to its blue counterpart. Learn more about The Pentland Still, makers of King’s Hill Gin, here.
LBD Unexpected Gin
No sooner had the team moved into Distillery 2.0 (still on the farm but now in the old barley store with bonded warehouse in the tractor shed next door!) had they released LBD Unexpected Gin, made in collaboration with Cove Park and the Cove Sailing Club as part of the Dandelion unexpected garden project; a “grow your own” initiative which invites everyone to sow, grow and share, food, music, knowledge and ideas. Using rock samphire, oyster leaf and sea kale from the garden, with rowan buds and sugar kelp from the surrounding coastline, this was a very limited release of only 120 bottles, now sold out. Big hugs to the distillery family as THE Little Brown Dog, aka Banksy, and quite literally the pup behind the business and brand, sadly passed away in late October. Her legacy lives on, not least in these lovely liquids. Learn more about Little Brown Dog Spirits here.
We’ve already seen some Winter gin releases, which have launched in time for the festivities; some limited edition, some returning exclusively for the Christmas period and some may even make it into the core line up… in summary, here are a few of the Winter Gins and Christmas themed Gift Sets we’ve seen in the last few weeks…
The Wee Farm Distillery’s Coorie Gin – a nod to the distillery’s resident Donkeys, Coorie Gin features the artwork of Jan Laird and is a full strength version of their very popular spiced pear gin liqueur featuring fresh pears, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Raven Spirits Hrafn Gin Winter Edition – the 2022 release contains Royal Green Hojari Frankincense; a rare incense with a woody spicy smell, which imparts lemon citrus and a powdery soft spice when distilled. The other star botanical is Omani Myrrh, which has a woody balsamic aroma and when it is distilled it imparts the precious fragrance of Oud and floral notes of violet and rose.
Stirling Distillery’s Winter Gin – back for 2022, the gin has been tweaked to include enhanced cinnamon notes and maceration of the local apples takes longer to create a fuller, richer taste. These changes have given this year’s batch more depth and warming notes. First taste available at the Stirling Spirit Fest throughout the first weekend of November.
City of Aberdeen Distillery’s Winter Warmer Gin – this limited edition returns for Christmas with bright floral and Christmas spices. There’s uplifting notes of lemon, clove and cardamom quickly followed by a robust body of fennel, aniseed and cinnamon. To finish, subtle earthy notes of black pepper and a long lasting warmth from cassia.
The holidays are coming…
Keep your eyes well and truly peeled for more Christmas gin goodies coming in the next few weeks. We’re already looking forward to seeing the contents of Electric Spirit Co.’s gift box set and Isle of Harris Distillery’s 12 Days of the Winter Cèilidh reveal, plus loads of other gift ideas, like Edinburgh Gin’s Discovery Pack, which brings together the core gins in four unique 20cl bottles.
Collaboration and contract gins are definitely more common than ever before and almost impossible to keep abreast of, as many businesses are having house gins made for their own establishments, like hotels, shops and bars. A few collaboration and contract gins that have caught our eye in recent months include…
Pierre and Edna Gins for Radisson Hotels by Inspirited – named after the French explorer Pierre Esprit Radisson, who inspired the name of the very first Radisson Hotel and Edna Dickerson, the founder of the Radisson Hotel Group. The Pierre Gin providing a light, citrus flavour profile and the Edna Gin delivering a more complex, spice flavour profile.
Crossbill Highland Juniper Edition for The Gin To My Tonic Show – made using different parts of the Scottish Juniper plant including blue juniper berries, green juniper berries and juniper needles, designed to celebrate all the amazing flavours this one plant can give.
Irvine Valley Gin and Barga Cree Gin by McLean’s Gin – Irvine Valley Gin created in collaboration with Neil and Pauline Young includes a selection of botanicals gathered from “the valley”, stretching from Priestland in the east to Galston in the west, including rowan berries, spruce needles, elderberries and purple heather. McLean’s Gin partnered with The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice to create Barga Cree Gin; a lovely, lively, refreshing dry gin that helps support patient care and support for people living in South Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.
Well done to The Gin To My Tonic team for delivering three Scottish Gin Shows in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow throughout September and October, which saw so many of Scotland’s gin brands come together, offering a real treat for the discerning gin drinker who wants to know more about the people and spirits on offer. The 2023 Shows for Aberdeen and Glasgow have already been confirmed, get tickets here.
The recently relaunched Stirling Spirit Fest encompasses both the Stirling Whisky Festival and Stirling Gin Festival in one, taking place in the week leading up to 6th November. It offers even more opportunities for spirit workshops and masterclasses and will include a range of drinks-based events at venues across Stirling throughout the week. Learn more here.
Congratulations again to all the finalists and winners of The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022. We were delighted to issue Gold, Silver and Bronze stickers recently, so winners can proudly display their award-winning status on every bottle. Further congratulations to some of the Scottish Gin brands who took home prizes at the recent Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards, including Highland Liquor Company’s Seven Crofts and Fisherman’s Strength Gins for Best Distilled and Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, makers of Kintyre Gin, taking home the Sustainability Award. Well done to all the brands who made it through as finalists to the 2022 Scottish Gin Awards, with the winners ceremony taking place on 10th November at the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central; best of luck to everyone involved.
The Gin Cooperative
With 2023 around the corner, we wanted to let our members and broader audience know what we have in store for next year. The Gin Cooperative will be five years old next month. As our business has continued to grow and evolve, we’ve taken time to reflect on our original objectives of showcasing and supporting the Scottish Gin category. It’s what we know, and it’s what we love. We’ve worked hard to position Scottish Gin as a premium spirit made in Scotland. We’re very proud of playing an active role in helping promote and build the brand of ‘Scottish Gin’. Thanks to our various revenue streams, including the membership model that’s seen us work with and manage an active membership of over 85 members year after year.
As a business, we are now in a position where we can remove our membership fee. Our focus has been and will remain on showcasing Scottish Gin. We will continue to support and champion the Scottish Gin category and the people and brands through the content we create and publish. We love what we do and feel incredibly grateful for the member’s support who have helped us get to this stage in our business journey. Learn more about our upcoming changes here.
International Scottish Gin Day 2022
Thanks to everyone who embraced International Scottish Gin Day 2022 on Saturday 1st October, the fourth annual day dedicated to celebrating Scottish Gin. Special thanks to our official sponsors, supporters, Scottish Gin makers and brands owners, consumers, industry and everyone from the gin community who made time to celebrate and showcase the wonderful world of Scottish Gin. We were particularly humbled to see a motion passed in the Scottish Parliament to recognise and celebrate International Scottish Gin Day 2022. Truly an honour and great to see recognition of Scotland’s Gin category and International Scottish Gin Day. A big thank you to MSP Stephanie Callaghan and her constituent Carol Jackson, founder of Ellis Gin, and all supporters who backed the motion.
October also saw us attend online events hosted by Martini Club and Negroni Club. The Negroni Social was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with so many people from the gin community and sample some truly amazing spirits from Vault Aperitivo, including vermouths, bitters, gin and vodka. Special mention to Julian and Sandra from Martini Club for October’s spotlight gin, Foghouse, which was one their stand out samples from the recent The Gin Cooperative Awards 2022 and winners in four categories. A great collaboration and timely celebration of International Scottish Gin Day! The evening saw us enjoy Foghouse Martinis three ways: as a Gibson, an Olive-oil washed Martini and a classic Dry Martini.
Big thanks to Rosalind Erskine from Scotsman Food & Drink for asking us back onto the Scran Podcast for a second time… we’re always in our element discussing the wonderful world of Scottish Gin! We contributed to the episode alongside Gin Bible author Sean Murphy and Summerhall Drinks Lab’s Jamie Shields to discuss the Scottish Gin Boom… and we got the chance to reveal more about our new 2022 awards programme. Listen to it on Apple here or Spotify here.
Although the brains behind Little Brown Dog Spirits has been making spirits for a pretty long time, their first distillery was officially setup in 2019 located in a small garage on co-founder Chris’ farm. They inevitably outgrew this small space so it was brilliant to visit Distillery 2.0, still on the farm but now in the old barley store with bonded warehouse in the tractor shed next door. Watch this space as the team continue to experiment, innovate and excite with some amazing Scottish spirits. Learn more about Little Brown Dog Spirits here.
Scottish Gin Subscription
The last two months has provided us the opportunity to send two more top quality Scottish Gins to our subscribers, including Cairngorm Gin and Crossbill Gin. Operating one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, Cairngorm Gin Company can be found on the same plot as distiller Jack Smith’s family home in the Highland town of Carrbridge near Aviemore, featuring a bespoke 50 litre copper pot still named Ginger after Jack’s late Grandfather, and believed to one of the smallest stills in Scotland. Crossbill’s 100% Scottish Dry Gin is a celebration of juniper and rosehip exclusively, hand-foraged from the Scottish Highlands and distilled in the heart of Glasgow’s Barrowlands using a traditional Alembic copper pot still.
Learn more about Cairngorm Gin Company here.
Learn more about Crossbill Distilling here.
Learn more about our Scottish Gin Subscription here.
The Gin Cooperative News & Features
Here’s a look back at the editorial features we published in September and October 2022.
Scottish Gin News Round-Up July & August – read it here.
International Scottish Gin Day 2022 Supply Chain Sponsors Virtual Round Table – read it here.
Changes – read it here.
Look through our archive of Scottish Gin news here.