Scottish Gin News

Round-Up September 2019.

Published: 1st October 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

New Pickering’s Gin Baubles

Back once again for Christmas 2019 but this time with a twist. A green twist to be precise. Originally released in 2014 at the Summerhall Christmas Fair in Edinburgh, the Pickering’s Gin filled baubles proved a success, shifting a few hundred in the first few hours.

In 2015, the team at Pickering’s upped their production and sold out in a few days. But nothing could have prepared them for what happened in 2016. Thanks in part to media coverage of their gin filled baubles, which went viral and demand outstripped availability – the babbles were the must have gift for any gin lover and sold out in a matter of hours.

Considering the baubles are filled and sealed by hand, 2018 was the biggest gin bauble year for the Pickering’s team. They filled an approximate 1.2 million baubles, with 500,000 of those heading across the pond to the US.

Available in packs of six, 2019’s baubles now feature special edition festive inspired gins including Plum & Ginger, Spiced Pear & Cinnamon, Christmas Clementine, Figgy Pudding, Festive Cranberry and Brussel Sprout Gin. The Brussel Sprout Gin in particular caught the attention of the media and the gin community. 

Learn more about the Brussel Sprout Gin here.

McQueen Raspberry & Vanilla

Following on from their Coconut & Lime Gin, McQueen have released their second exclusive gin for supermarket Sainsbury’s. Available exclusively from Sainsbury’s stores in Scotland, the new Raspberry & Vanilla Gin expression features fresh raspberries and Madagascan vanilla. Vibrant and sharp raspberry flavours are balanced with smooth, sweet vanilla and classic juniper notes.

Dale McQueen, co-founder and distiller said “We are delighted to be able to work with Sainsbury’s to bring another new and innovative product to the market. After the success of the Coconut & Lime flavoured gin launched in March, we couldn’t wait to get working on this one!

“We wanted to create a product that was unique and bold in appearance, but with equally prominent and attention-grabbing flavour notes. This gin has vibrant and sharp raspberry flavours which are complemented perfectly with a subtle blanket of smooth vanilla. The delicious balance of flavours is backed by the unmistakeable juniper character shared by all our McQueen Gins and we are sure this new product will be a firm favourite amongst Sainsbury’s shoppers.

“It’s been a great year so far for us with the launch of our new distillery and several new products and we can’t wait to bring even more unique and innovative products to gin lovers across the country. We have a few in the pipeline over the next couple of months, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the world of gin.”

Learn more about McQueen Gin here.

Rock Rose Strawberry Jam Doughnut Gin

The last gin to feature as part of the Rock Rose Gin ‘The Creative Collection’ is something that most of us growing up in Scotland have enjoyed at one time or another (or often!)… a trip to the local baker for a ‘fine piece’.

With this final gin expression, the Dunnet Bay Distillery team have had a lot of fun, creating a Scottish Gin that includes 20 Jam Doughnuts. Or maybe 19 as the team had to use 1 for quality purposes, obviously. Using the botanical vapour basket in the still along with some homemade jam, Madagascan vanilla and juniper, they let their gin still Elizabeth work her magic. The result is a gin that is both juniper in flavour but also boasts rich bursts of strawberries and smooth scented vanilla… and although fun in nature, still very much unmistakably gin.

Learn more about Dunnet Bay Distillers here.

1881 Gin Expressions

Having just opened the doors to their new distillery and gin school, the team at the 1881 Distillery & Gin School, which is part of the Peebles Hydro estate, launched not one but four new Scottish Gins. 

The new Scottish Gin expressions include London Dry Hydro Gin, Pavilion Pink Hydro Gin, Navy Strength Hydro Gin and Subtly Smoked Hydro Gin. We plan to visit the distillery and gin school soon so more will be revealed in due course.

Scottish Gin News

Rock Rose Gin looking to the future

We’ve covered a variety of gin makers and brands who are implementing innovative processes in their gin production, using their gin to help benefit charities and more in our ‘G is for Gin (and Good)’ editorial feature series that we launched back in August 2018. Through our series, we’ve been able to highlight some of the great things Scotland’s gin makers and brand owners are doing to help tackle a variety of issues they face as a business but also things that impact us all.

As Scotland’s gin makers continue to explore ways of reducing waste, improving sustainability and other initiatives that help reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment, it’s great to see the team at Rock Rose Gin have implemented a new refill service. Already operating a variety of green policies at the distillery, this is yet another step in the business’ objectives of looking at new ways of helping the environment.

Widely recognised for their lovely ceramic bottles, the bottles are a lot more complicated when it comes to recycling than for example a glass bottle. That’s why they’re introducing a new refill initiative that means you can reuse your existing Rock Rose ceramic bottle.

Over a year was spent looking at the best way to provide a refill service. Being the most northernly gin distillery on mainland UK impacts on the ability of customers to nip in the car and take a short drive to get their bottle refilled! To ensure all customers have the opportunity to take advantage and help play their own role in reducing the impact on the environment, Rock Rose has introduced gin pouches.

The Refill pouches have been designed and developed in partnership with a specialist technology partner, PA Consulting. The result is a pouch that can not only be sent out in the post and used to refill your existing ceramic bottle but the pouches can also be recycled by Terracycle.

The reduction in weight and size of these replacement pouches also means that the carbon footprint of shipping will be vastly reduced. Once you’ve topped up your bottle of gin, simply put your pouch in the freepost stamped envelope that will be provided with each pouch and pop the sealed envelope in the post. Terracycle will then receive the empty pouch and set to work recycling.

A new chapter for Beinn an Tuirc Distillers

The team at Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, the makers of the Kintyre Gin expressions, announced some exciting plans for both the distillery and the local area. Already a must visit gin destination with a tour and delightful tasting room, Beinn an Tuirc announced they would be expanding their Scottish Gin and distillery experience to include a new gin school. The new plans will result in a bigger footprint for the distillery site and will allow visitors to craft their own gin under the guidance of the Beinn an Tuirc team. 

The last Hall’s of Campbeltown closed in about 1854 after the owner deiced to retire following 30 years in business. Originally a grocers shop, the owner was none other than the great, great, great grandfather of Niall Macalister Hall, the co-founder and owner of Beinn an Tuirc Distillers. In its new guise, the shop will sell a variety of spirits, beers and of course will be an official outlet for the full range of Kintyre Gin expressions.

Learn more about Beinn an Tuirc here.

1881 Distillery & Gin School

After more than a year in the planning and construction, the team at Peebles Hydro opened their doors to the new 1881 distillery and gin school. The country house and estate was built in 1881 and provided inspiration for the name.

Designed and built under the guidance of Jamie Baxter, a well know distiller in his own right and distillery designer, the team at 1881 Distillery look forward to welcoming visitors to their new gin school.

Learn more about Jamie Baxter here.

Along with the distillery and gin school, the 1881 team launched four new Scottish Gin expressions along with a range of bespoke tonics, all carefully crafted to work with their new gins. The tonics include 1881 Premium tonic, 1881 Light tonic, 1881 Pink grapefruit tonic and Elderflower tonic. The tonics, just like the gins, include water from a private spring on the estate.

Events & Scottish Gin Experiences

Distilled 19

We attended our first Distilled event in Elgin. Organised by the team behind the highly successful and acclaimed Spirit of Speyside festival, Distilled saw a variety of gin makers, brands and spirits producers from the Speyside region at the event. The public were treated to a who’s who of spirits from the region including Scottish Gins from Red Door, Avva Scottish Gin, Kinrara, Caorunn, El:gin and other brands from the area. El:gin were also running the bar area providing a variety of El:gin serves and cocktails.

Whisky lovers were also treated to some excellent drams from the likes of Glenfiddich, Benromach Distillery, The Macallan, Strathisla and more. Besides spirits producers, there were also a number of small independent retailers and craft makers. We were delighted to see the team from The Speyside Whisky Shop, who had brought along a great selection of Scottish Gins and whiskies and we had a very informative chat with the team behind Aroma Academy.

Aroma Academy create sensory kits to help you develop your understanding of scents and flavours. Covering gin, whisky, rum and more, there’s a kit for everyone to help you develop your knowledge of spirits. The Aroma Academy also provide training and consultancy services to the spirits industry having just recently helped develop part of the sensory experience at the brand new Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh. Watch this space for a future Spirit of Craft editorial with the Aroma Academy team.

It was fascinating and fantastic at the same time to see the diversity and creativity of different businesses at the event. We have to admit we did stop to enjoy the afternoon tea, which was delicious before we took part in the Caorunn masterclass, which was based around the actual distillery tour.

Learn more about Distilled here.

The Gin Cooperative on the road

Red Door Distillery

Over the last 22 months we’ve loved seeing the evolution of the Scottish Gin experiences that are appearing across Scotland. One such experience is the newly opened Red Door Distillery Experience. We visited last year and met the team, were shown around the distillery and talked about their plans for the future.

We returned in September this year to see for ourselves what’s changed and to get a behind the scenes look at the new distillery experience. Incorporating branding and packaging elements from the gin, the first thing you notice are the massive murals based on the original bottle litho print illustrations that were created by a local artist.

There’s a bespoke botanical table where you can learn more about each of the botanicals that are used in the Red Door Gin distillation process. You have the opportunity to touch and smell the botanicals plus a few other surprises we won’t give away.

Along with the distillery space, there’s a new Red Door bar area that’s been fitted out with splashes of red, copper and elements of the branding and packaging. Here you’ll be treated to some Red Door Gin serves and have the chance to ask more questions and relax.

It’s fantastic to see what the team have created in what is a modest sized space compared to some distilleries but it’s the experience that counts. We think the team have done a brilliant job creating what is a warm, welcoming and personal Scottish Gin experience that provides a chance to finally see and experience what’s behind the red door.

Learn more about Red Door Gin here.

Black Thistle Distillery

We visited the Black Thistle Distillery in Brechin to learn more about their distillery and gins, including their recently released Black Thistle Black Mist Gin. Established in 2018, the distillery is currently focused on producing a range of Scottish Gins and Vodkas.

We met with distiller and ICBD graduate Charlie Craig. Charlie gave us some insight into the team behind the distillery, the products and plans for the future. Passionate about spirits and a farmer’s son, Charlie’s enthusiasm for Scotland’s food and drink sector was great to see. 

Black Thistle Distillery currently produce three products. Black Thistle Gin was launched in May 2018 and features a number of botanicals including green juniper, wormwood and locally foraged wild thistles. The Black Thistle vodka, which was also released in May 2018, is run twice through a 12 plate rectifying column to produce a clean and smooth spirit before being chill filtered. The vodka also features a black shimmer, which gives the bottle a mystical appearance when shaken. Last but not least the team just released their Black Thistle Black Mist Gin, a classic London Dry recipe with the addition of black shimmer, so technically it can’t be promoted as a London Dry with the shimmer added post distillation, but still delivering a classic London Dry taste.

With some exciting plans for the next few months, it’s great to see continued confidence and investment by business owners in the sector. Currently the Black Thistle Distillery is not open to members of the public.

Learn more about Black Thistle Distillery here.

Scottish Gin Awards 2019

We attended our first Scottish Gin awards last year in 2018 and were very impressed with the quality of the event. Catering to a room of 600 plus people, the food was outstanding, the gin flowed and the company was fab. We were at the table with the team from Pickering’s and Ginerosity, who were all great fun. The awards ceremony was well paced and it was great to see so many of the people we’d come to know over the previous 10 months be recognised for their efforts.

We’re delighted to be attending the 2019 Scottish Gin Awards again but also this time as an official category sponsor of High Strength Gin of The Year. It’s fitting that the Scottish Gin category has an awards ceremony focused solely on Scottish Gin, that celebrates and showcases Scottish Gin to the world.

How we position and speak about Scottish Gin has been consistent since day one – a premium spirit, made in Scotland that should be at the top of the consumer’s list of gins to explore and enjoy. The Scottish Gin Awards embodies this vision for Scottish Gin, from their professional judging process to the awards ceremony, the KD Media team’s professionalism and commitment to supporting the Scottish Gin category is fantastic.

For us as a business, we feel it’s important for the Scottish Gin category to collaborate and work with other like-minded businesses, individuals and organisations with whom we share common goals and ambitions for Scottish Gin. Collaborative partners, we feel add value to the category.

We very much look forward to celebrating the evening, sure to be filled with laughter, great food and of course brilliant Scottish Gin – good luck everyone.

Learn more about the Scottish Gin Awards here.

The Gin Cooperative Features September 2019

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

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

Beautiful Botanicals – read it here.

ISGD 2019 Highlights – read it here.

Experience Scottish Gin, Crafty Distillery – read it here.

Raising the Bar, Javier de las Muelas, Dry Martini – read it here.

Scotland Food & Drink Fortnight – read it here.

Time for Gin, Isle of Skye Distillers – watch it here.

Voices of Gin, Paul Jackson, The Gin Guide – read it here.

Our People, Port of Leith Distillery – read it here.

News & Features Scottish Gins A New Chapter in
Scottish Gin