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Far north distiller in running for top gin award

By Chrissie Fairclough

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Gin Awards 2019 logo
Gin Awards 2019 logo

With the inaugural International Scottish Gin Day taking place on Saturday, August 3, it’s a good time to take a look at the four distilleries competing for this year’s Scottish gin distillery of the year – the top prize handed out at the Scottish Gin Awards every October.

The judging panel assessed the submissions based on quality products and business performance. And here are the finalists!

Crafty Scottish Distillers

Inspired by the lush forestry and sweeping coastlines of Galloway, the team behind Hills & Harbour Gin use local botanicals such as Noble Fir needles and Bladderwrack Seaweed. They are one of the few distilleries in Scotland to make their own base spirit from local grain.

Dunnet Bay Distillers

Home of Rock Rose Gin, including Navy Strength and Old Tom varieties. Their signature expression is created using locally harvested Sea Buckthorn and Rhodiola Rosea, a plant that thrives in the cool climate of Caithness. The distillery shop also stocks a wide range of locally produced goodies made with Rock Rose Gin, including shortbread, chocolates and marmalade.

Rock Rose Gin
Rock Rose Gin

Edinburgh Gin

The Edinburgh Gin family consists of six full-strength distilled gins and seven sticky liqueurs for sweet-toothed gin drinkers. The gins are made at two distilleries: in Edinburgh’s West End and in the port of Leith. The distillery’s mobile gin bar – The Tipple Trailer – is a converted horse box, ready stocked with kit to make sweet and fizzy cocktails.

McQueen Gin

Callander-based distiller Dale McQueen is the Heston Blumenthal of distilling, pioneering flavour encapsulation in the still. He and his chef wife Vicky have created eclectic foodie-gin fusions with flavours such as chocolate mint, smokey chilli and mocha, plus a forest fruits colour-changing gin for Aldi.

So, who gets your vote?

  • Chrissie Fairclough is tastings director for Gin Club Scotland, which runs touring and distillery-based tastings, as well as offering tasting kits for people to run their own events. www.ginclubscotland.com

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