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Top picks: four great new Scottish gins launched this year

By Chrissie Fairclough

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The last year has been another big one for gin!

Yes, the gin boom is still going strong – and despite recent reports suggesting the bubble may have burst, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association numbers suggest the exact opposite.

Not only is gin’s popularity here to stay, it’s now worth more than £3 billion annually.

More and more gins are launching every month and it’s hard to tell what’s worth a go and what’s a definite no.

For example, there’s no doubt that some of the artificially flavoured gins are simply having a bit of fun and enjoying the moment – but would I spend my hard-earned cash on Unicorn Tears Gin? That one actually made me weep. (Oh, the irony.)

So which new Scottish gins should you be pouring this Christmas? Working your way through to find your favourite could prove to be an expensive (and hangover-inducing) mission, so I’m here to help.

Here are my top four new gins launched in 2019. With no glittery magic tears in sight...

Downpour Gin, North Uist (46%)

A Christmas cracker built for this time of year. The high volume of wild botanicals gives a big, bold flavour – we particularly like the combination of gentle spices with a kick of wild Hebridean heather.

Downpour Gin, North Uist, has a kick of wild Hebridean heather.
Downpour Gin, North Uist, has a kick of wild Hebridean heather.

Isle of Bute Oyster Gin (48%)

The world’s first oyster gin! This rich, savoury gin uses Loch Fyne oysters, cucumber and seaweed to showcase the true spirit of the west of Scotland with locally sourced botanicals.

Fifty/50 Gin, Renfrewshire (50%)

This gin has been aged in casks for a mind-boggling 20 years, with a newly distilled London Dry added at a ratio of 1:1. The result? Notes of sweet vanilla, ginger and strong oak with a piney juniper hit.

Double Trouble Gin, Solway Coast (40%)

Two Scottish brothers on a specialist mission to serve the darts community with great tasting spirits have created a crowd-pleasing Brockman’s-style gin using berry essence as well as sisal agave (the plant used in making dart boards).

  • 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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