The Scottish Gin Bible100 Great Gins from Scotland by Sean Murphy.
Published: 17th May 2022
With the recent launch of his new book, The Scottish Gin Bible 100 Great Gins from Scotland, we caught up with writer and journalist Sean Murphy to learn more about his second book that focuses on the wonderful world of Scottish Gin. Sean has been writing about the world of Scottish spirits since 2015 and has continued to champion the industry through his work helping connect brands and consumers and providing readers with a peak behind the Scottish Gin curtain.
What inspired you to write The Scottish Gin Bible?
I started writing about food and drink for the Scotsman in 2015 (Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink) and to be honest I was just blown away by the incredible movement in Scottish Gins both in terms of quality and also who was making them and where they were being made.
Having began my life as a drinks writer focused on whisky, it was amazing to find what felt like an entirely new spirit to explore.
What can readers find in The Scottish Gin Bible?
Well hopefully, their next favourite gin. I wrote this book to connect readers with some of the incredible gins that are being made across Scotland.
They’ll find 100 examples and a way to explore Scottish gin like never before. I’ve put together garnish recommendations, mixer advice and even cocktails for those readers who love a mixed drink.
It’s a fun guide that will allow people to navigate each region of the country and find some of the amazing gins being made there, and most importantly for me, the story of the people who make them.
What were some of the highs and lows you encountered writing the Scottish Gin Bible?
The highs have definitely been getting to try some of the stunning gins out there and chatting to the producers, it really is an incredible community and learning about their passion for their product was really inspiring.
The lows? Not being able to fit every gin that’s being made out there now in the book. I had 100 but could have added at least another 20, maybe more.
Hopefully, I can do that in the next book, if there is one of course!
What process did you go through deciding which Scottish Gins would be featured?
With the last book [Gin Galore] I think it was harder and I had to be more stringent as there were more gins who were being made out with Scotland and I wanted to only represent those that were made here.
Thankfully though, as the gin boom continues, more and more of these gins are finally earning enough money to move their production back to Scotland, particularly on the islands where they can finally create the right infrastructure.
The other cut off had to be down to how long they had been around for, as some were still establishing themselves, I had to be pretty ruthless in the end, to keep it to the 100.
When you received your final published copy of the book how did you feel?
Elated and relieved all at once. It’s safe to say it’s been a strange two years and to finally have the book in my hands felt wonderful.
What I was most excited about though, was the responses from some of the producers in the book, who were almost as excited as me about the final product.
Between writing your first book Gin Galore and The Scottish Gin Bible would you say you’ve seen a lot of changes in the Scottish Gin category?
To put it mildly… the gin industry in Scotland seems to move at the speed of light. When I began with Gin Galore I started with 38 solid choices, and I managed to get to 50 within the space of 6 months of writing.
This time around I thought I might struggle but there seems to be a never ending conveyor belt of wonderful new gins and I’m all here for it.
Other areas I’ve seen changes have been the constant innovation, not just in flavours but in styles. It’s always fun to see what botanicals people will use next.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading The Scottish Gin Bible?
A sense of connection to the Scottish gin scene, a better understanding of the gins themselves and as I’ve said before, a new favourite Scottish gin. But most of all I hope it’ll be fun for them to read and check off the gins as they go.
The book features a lot of detail about each gin, along with cocktail suggestions. Do you have a favourite gin cocktail that’s featured in the book?
I’m always partial to a Negroni (I’m a big fan of the Achroous and LBD Negronis) but I’ve got a lot of time for the Tyree Raspberry Sour.
What excites you about the Scottish Gin category?
The people. I always say passion is infectious and getting to meet the producers and try their gins while hearing their stories is what I love most.
Where’s the best place to pick up a copy of The Scottish Gin Bible?
Ideally, in one of the shops of the distillers who are in the book, that way you can buy one of their wonderful bottles of gin while you’re at it. That’s the real point of this book, to help connect more consumers with Scotland’s Gin makers and brands.
What’s next for you as an author?
I keep joking I’ll write the next Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, but for the moment I’m just happy to be getting back to my day job and a little normality.