With craft gin experiencing something of an urban renaissance, a new gin trail inviting you to discover distilleries spanning the length and breadth of Scotland has been unveiled in a bid to encourage budding gin connoisseurs to visit Scotland.
The Scottish gin industry is blooming, and the figures paint a promising picture. Now worth £1.7bn to the UK economy, Scotland can be attributed with producing 70% of British gin. It seems that there is too big an opportunity to ignore, with the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) hoping the new Scotland Gin Trail could boost the industry’s fortunes further.
Follow the first of our two-part guide taking you around Scotland’s finest gin distilleries and our recommendations on hotels to stay in as your gin journey takes you around the entirety of Scotland.
The Scotland Gin Trail
Gordon Castle, Fochabers, Moray
Located in the North-East of Scotland, the stunning Gordon Castle, pictured below, incorporates history, nature and craft gin for those looking for a varied day out. The botanical craft gin is engraved by Giles Lawson Johnston Engraved Glass on site in one of the studios at The Walled Garden in the castle grounds.
Hotel: Boath House Hotel, Nairn
Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery, Inverkeilor, Arbroath, Angus
Arbikie Distillery can be found in the small town of Arbroath, Angus and produces some slightly unconventional flavours perfect for the more adventurous consumer. As well as the traditional gin, Arbikie produces its own potato vodka and whisky – something for everyone! Located on the coast, Arbroath boasts beautiful beaches and is the birthplace of the famed Arbroath Smokie – a smoked haddock delicacy with a very distinctive taste and definitely not to be missed.
Hotel: Fasque Castle, Fettercairn or Westport Serviced Apartments, Dundee
Shetland Reel Gin, Unst
On the most northerly Scottish island lies the distillery producing the most northerly Scottish gin. Infused with botanicals grown on the wind-battered isle of Shetland, a unique spirit has been born. Highlights include the Ocean Sent Gin, which uses specially harvested bladderwrack seaweed from the Shetland coastline. The Shetland Distillery, seen below, is also the home of Shetland Reel Whisky, but you’ll have to wait until the next release as every bottle has currently sold out! Visitors can coincide their trip with The Shetland Reel Music Festival – a hugely successful annual event held between 14 – 16 August.
Balmenach Distillery, Cromdale, Moray
Home of the wildly sophisticated and undoubtedly stunning Caorunn (ka-roon) gin, this artisan spirit is crafted in the rugged landscapes of the Scottish Highlands yet retains a contemporary feel thanks to its versatility. Perfect in cocktails, Caorunn lends its fresh flavours to concoctions such as the Almond Gin Fizz and Blush Apple Martini. Those looking to immerse themselves in the experience are encouraged to forage for their own botanicals to create their own handcrafted refreshment.
Hotel: Rocpool Reserve Hotel, Inverness
Crossbill Highland Distilling, Aviemore
Seen below, Crossbill Distillery located in the heart of The Cairngorms National Park boasts the revered title of ‘2016 Shed of the Year’, awarded by Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces. The only gin made from 100% Scottish juniper, a visit to Crossbill provides a true back-to-basics experience. The juniper is harvested from Inshriach forest, a remote area of The Cairngorms in which the botanic thrives.
Hotel: Travel down through The Cairngorms National Park to Kinloch House Hotel, Blairgowrie.
Eden Mill, St Andrews
Scotland’s only brewery/distillery hybrid, Eden Mill has been producing quality spirits since 1810. With the on-site production of beer, whisky and gin all painstakingly crafted by hand, each product is produced both ethically and locally. Eden Mill Love Gin is slightly different to traditionalist favourites – it is a strikingly pink colour! Infused with exotic (albeit slightly eccentric) flavours such as marshmallow root, rhubarb and hibiscus flowers, the result is a fruity masterpiece! Other highlights include the Eden Mill Hop Gin – after all it was only logical for a brewery to make the most of their ingredients!
Hotel: Old Course Hotel, Golf and Spa, St Andrews
With a further six gin distilleries still to discover, continue to follow the Scotland Gin Trail on the Little’s blog by following our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
For those interested in taking a Little’s tour of Scotland’s gin distilleries then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 141 883 2111 for a comprehensive sample itinerary.