Gin production in Britain has had a chequered history with social commentators of the mid 18th century declaiming it the ruination of society. At the time over 6,000 houses in London where selling cheap, poor quality gin. Many saw this “gin craze” as the root of the crime and poverty of the era. Something needed to be done, and so a series of laws were introduced to restrict both the sale and manufacture of spirits.
This is when the established Scottish distillers, like the Haig and Stein families, saw an opportunity and in 1777 began transporting their quality neutral grain spirit to London for rectification into gin. This was the start of an enterprise that grew substantially over the intervening centuries and today Scotland produces approximately 70% of the gin in the UK including big brands like Tanqueray, Gordon’s and Hendrick’s.
Perhaps no surprise then that Scotland is at the forefront of the new wave of gin distillation and today produces some of the best gins in the world. The explosion of quality gin produced in the country over the last few years is fuelled by the passion and drive of small scale craft distilleries and also the entry of the established whisky producers looking for new avenues of distillation to explore. Having the knowledge and experience of centuries of producing some of the best whisky in the world certainly helps but it is also the access to intriguing and unique, locally foraged, botanicals that is setting Scottish gin apart.
Experience the Scottish revival for yourself with these three wonderful gins. All three are in our gin sale this month.
Made in the Bruichladdich distillery on the island of Islay, The Botanist is the work of Scotch whisky legend Jim McEwan. Distilled using an incredible 31 different botanicals, 22 of which are foraged on the island of Islay itself. Unsurprisingly this is a complex gin with big citrus notes and a myriad of floral aromas and flavours.
Caorunn gin, hailing from the Balmenach distillery in Speyside, is another gin produced by one of the big whisky distillers. This is a crisp, full-bodied gin with beautifully balanced citrus, spice and floral notes.
Daffy’s, a small batch craft gin, is the result of four years of experimentation. The result is an exceptionally smooth full-bodied gin where citrus and spice abound along with a delicate earthy edge from the star botanical, Lebanese mint.