The Best Scottish Gins

Gin is made in Scotland? You bet it is. Some brands are recognizable, but others may not be on your radar. But they should be. Here are our favorites of the bunch.
Aug 03, 2019
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    15 Darnley's View London Dry Gin
    Added to their spirits lineup in 2010, this is the first gin released by the Weymss family, who are primarily known for their Scotch whiskies. This gin honors the legacy of Lord Darnley, who lived at Weymss Castle near Edinburgh, Scotland in the 16th century. Starting with a neutral gain spirit distilled four times, six botanicals - juniper, lemon peel, elderflower, coriander seed, angelica root and orris root - are then added before its final distillation. It is bottled at 40% ABV.
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    14 Arbikie Kirsty's Gin
    Located on a 2000-acre farm in the Highlands region of Scotland, Arbikie Distillery is one of Scotland's farm-to-bottle distilleries. Almost all the ingredients for its spirits are grown and distilled at their estate; even the water they use comes from the farm's underground spring. Their gin, named after master distiller Kirsty Black, begins with the distillery's tripled distilled, potato-based vodka as its base spirit. Four botanicals - juniper, kelp, carline thistle and blaeberry - all grown at or harvested near the distillery, are then infused with the vodka to make the gin.
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    13 Isle Of Harris Gin
    Isle Of Harris Gin is the inaugural spirit released by Isle of Harris Distillers which opened in 2015. The gin is made with nine botanicals which are steeped in neutral grain spirits, the most notable being sugar kelp which is hand-harvested by a local diver. Other botanicals include juniper, coriander, angelica root, bitter orange peel, orris root, cubeb, cassia bark, and licorice. After the maceration is complete, the sugar kelp is removed and distillation takes place in a copper still named "The Dottach."
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    12 Rock Rose Gin
    Founded in 2014, Dunnet Bay Distillers is based at Dunnet Head on the Northern mainland of Scotland, making it the northernmost operating distillery in mainland Britain. It was founded and is run by the husband and wife team of Martin and Claire Murray. Their first product, Rock Rose Gin, is made with several botanicals, including juniper berries, rose root, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, blaeberries, cardamom, coriander seed and verbena, many of which are grown in Scotland. After the botanicals are vapor distilled with the base spirit in "Elizabeth", the distillery's copper pot still, the gin is then bottled at 41.5% ABV.
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    11 Thompson Bros Organic Highland Gin
    Thompson Bros Organic Highland Gin is made with a spirit blend of 90% organic grain neutral spirit and 10% organic floor-malted barley spirit made from organic Plumage Archer barley. The botanical blend (juniper berries, angelica root, cardamom seeds, aniseed, orange & lemon peel, coriander seeds, meadowsweet, elderflower, black peppercorns, freeze-dried raspberries) is infused with the grain neutral spirit. Then the two spirits are blended and brought down to 45.7% ABV.
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    10 Old Raj Dry Gin (46%)
    First introduced in 1972, Old Raj Dry Gin is bottled by WM Cadenhead, an independent bottler based in Scotland. Two versions of Old Raj are produced, each with different ABVs. Both gin styles are made with nine botanicals: juniper berries, orange and lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, cassia bark, almond powder and saffron. All of the botanicals are distilled with the base spirit except saffron, which is infused with gin following distillation because of its delicacy. This gin product is bottled at 46% ABV and is sometimes referred to as Old Raj 'Red Label' to differentiate from its higher-ABV counterpart (which uses a blue label).
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    9 Edinburgh Classic Gin
    This classic London Dry-style gin is distilled in Edinburgh at The Biscuit Factory Distillery in Leith. Fourteen botanicals are used in the production and include pine, heather and milk thistle which are sourced in Scotland. Other botanicals include lavender, mulberries, orange peel, lemongrass, cobnuts, and lime peel.
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    8 Makar Glasgow Gin
    Makar Glasgow Gin is the first product released by the Glasgow Distillery Co. Named after the Gaelic word for "poet" or "bard", this gin is made with eight botanicals: juniper, angelica root, licorice, coriander seed, lemon peel, rosemary, black peppercorns and cassia bark. The gin is distilled in "Annie," the name given to their copper pot-still, before being bottled at 43% ABV.
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    7 Tanqueray London Dry Gin (47.3%)
    Tanqueray is named after its founder, Charles Tanqueray, who established the brand in 1830. Originally distilled in London, it has been distilled in Fife, Scotland since 1998 at the Cameronbridge Distillery. Their neutral grain spirit (wheat based) is actually made in house and not purchased, the latter of which is more common practice in gin production. The four known botanicals for the gin are juniper, angelica root, coriander seed, and licorice root. This is distilled in a one-shot method as opposed to making a gin concentrate which needs to have neutral spirit and water added to dilute. Here, they just add enough water to bring down to proof which varies dependent on where it is sold.
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    6 Hendrick's Gin (41.4%)
    Hendrick's launched in 2001 and is distilled in Scotland at the Girvan distillery. It is distilled in small batches (500 liters) in two different stills using 11 different botanicals including elderflower, chamomile, and yarrow. One batch is made in a Bennet still which produces a heavier spirit (botanicals are macerated) and one is done in a Carter-head still (botanicals are vapor-infused) which produces a lighter spirit. The two are blended together and then infused with rose and cucumbers. It is then brought down to proof with water.
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    5 Caorunn Gin
    Caorunn Gin is made at the Balmenach Distillery in Scotland, one of the first distilleries to be licensed to make Scotch whisky. Named after the Gaelic word for "rowan berry," a botanical used its production, Caorunn (Ka-roon) gin is made with a combination of traditional gin botanicals - juniper berries, coriander seeds, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root and cassia bark - and botanicals handpicked from the Scottish Highlands: rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, coul blush apple, and dandelion leaf. These botanicals are vapor infused with the neutral spirit in a unique copper berry chamber (a round horizontal chamber with four large to copper trays that hold the botanicals) to produce the final product.
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    4 The Botanist Gin
    If you're not a Scotch whisky drinker, you very likely have never heard of a man named Jim McEwan. Jim spent 38 years with Bowmore and held every job there from apprentice cooper to Distillery Manager. In 2001, he left Bowmore to reopen Bruichladdich as their Master Distiller. Along with the dozens of single malt bottlings he created, he wanted to distill a gin that reflects his home of Islay, the island he loves. The Botanist is a gin comprised of 9 standard botanicals and an additional 22 that were hand-foraged from Islay itself--botanicals like apple mint, heather, red clover, and meadowsweet among many others. The gin is distilled over 17 hours in a Lomond Still (a hybrid column + pot still). It is bottled at 46% ABV.
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    3 Old Raj Dry Gin (55%)
    First introduced in 1972, Old Raj Dry Gin is bottled by WM Cadenhead, an independent bottler based in Scotland. Two versions of Old Raj are produced, each with different ABVs. Both gin styles are made with nine botanicals: juniper berries, orange and lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, cassia bark, almond powder and saffron. All of the botanicals are distilled with the base spirit except saffron, which is infused with gin following distillation because of its delicacy. This gin product is bottled at 55% ABV and is sometimes referred to as Old Raj 'Blue Label' to differentiate from its lower-ABV counterpart (which uses a red label).
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    2 Tanqueray No. TEN Gin
    Released in 2000, Tanqueray No. TEN gin is named after the small copper pot-still ("Tiny Ten") that is used to produce the spirit. This Scottish gin uses a recipe which differs from the standard Tanqueray bottling. In addition to juniper, botanicals include coriander, chamomile flowers, white grapefruit, lime, and orange. Fun fact: The brand uses whole citrus fruits in its recipe.
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    1 Eden Mill Love Gin
    This expression, released in 2015 from Eden Hill Brewery & Distillery, is made with a mix of both traditional gin botanicals, including juniper berries, coriander, and angelica, along with more exotic botanicals, including rose petal, hibiscus, elderberry, goji berry, raspberry leaf, and rhubarb root. This gin is bottled at 42% ABV.