top of page

From Gin To Whisky - Scottish Whisky Distilleries Making Gin

Updated: Mar 5


Highland whisky distillery

Image by The Scotch Whisky Association


During the turn of the millennium, the whisky and gin industries were unaware of the changes that would occur. Whisky became more popular with the introduction of collectable releases, while Sipsmith opened the doors for small gin distilleries worldwide.


Whisky distilleries are now places where gin and whisky meet. Due to the increase in new distilleries, it has become almost certain that many of them will generate revenue in their early years by distilling and selling gin or vodka. This is because the base spirit produced can be used to make gin. However, most new distilleries have installed a dedicated still for gin distillation, which sometimes involves installing a column still.


spirit column still

Image by dayuwz.com



Gin has seen a surge in popularity in the last decade, making it a profitable choice for new distilleries. However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to stand out in the crowded market. On the other hand, whisky requires a long-term investment, with at least three years of cask maturing required to be classified as such. While distilleries do make money by selling casks that will mature into whisky, they also need a constant flow of income. This is where gin comes in.


As the gin market offers lucrative opportunities, many established distilleries have also started producing gin, although this is less common. This article will only focus on Scottish whisky distilleries that produce gin, not including gin distilleries that have expanded into whisky production. We have identified 20 Scottish whisky distilleries currently producing gin out of the 137 distilleries, including grain distilleries currently operating in Scotland. This means that 6.9% of Scottish distilleries produce gin for sale.


gins from Scottish whisky distilleries

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


We would like to bring to your attention that the trend of gin start-ups has spread all over the world, from Japan to Finland. However, in this article, we will not be covering them.


Please take note that we have highlighted the botanicals that are being used. If there are no variants listed, it means that only one expression is available.



 

Arbikie Gin - Arbikie Distillery, Highland


Distillery Established: 2014

Gin Launched: 2015

Interesting Botanicals: Kelp, Carline Thistle, Blaeberries

Varieties: Kirsty's Gin, AK's Gin, Arbroath Gin, Carnoustie Gin, Nadar Gin

Info: The core expression is named after Arbikie's Master Distiller Kirsty

Black.


Arbikie gin range

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Barra Atlantic Gin - Barra Distillery, Isle of Barra


Distillery Established: Originally in 2008, but still under construction

Gin Launched: 2017

Interesting Botanicals: Carrageen Seaweed

Varieties: Atlantic Gin, Rhubarb & Heather Gin Liqueur

Info: Uses 17 different botanicals.


Isle of Barra atlantic gin

Image by The Scottish Gin Society

 

The Botanist - Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay


Distillery Established: 1881

Gin Launched: 2010

Interesting Botanicals: Mugwort, Meadowsweet, Lady's Bedstraw, Apple Mint

Info: Made in a Lomond still called 'Ugly Betty'. Using 31 botanicals, of

of which 22 are native to the Isle of Islay.


The Botanist gin Bruichladdich distillery Islay

Image by FirstClasse


 

Brewdog Lone Wolf Gin - Brewdog Distillery, Highlands


Distillery Established: 2016 (as LoneWolf Distillery, changed in 2019)

Gin Launched: 2017

Interesting Botanicals: Tuscany Juniper, Scots Pine

Varieties: Lone Wolf Gin - Original, Peach & Passionfruit, Cactus & Lime,

Spiced Orange, Gun Powder, Cloudy Lemon + Zealot's Heart Gin

Info: The Brewdog distillery can make all kinds of spirits from gin and

rum to grain and single malt whiskies.


Brew dog gins

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Byron's Gin - Speyside Distillery, Speyside


Distillery Established: 1976

Gin Launched: 2017

Interesting Botanicals: Lady's Bedstraw, Rowan, Wild Thyme, Juniper, Blaeberry

Varieties: Bird Cherry, Melancholy Thistle

Info: Described with 'gin experience for the more sophisticated palate'.


Byron's gin made at Speyside distillery

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Caorunn Gin - Balmenach Distillery, Speyside


Distillery Established: 1824

Gin Launched: 2009

Interesting Botanicals: Rowan Berry, Heather, Coul Blush Apple, Dandelion, Bog Myrtle

Varieties: Caorunn - Gin, Raspberry, Highland Strength, Gin Master's Cut

Info: A Copper Berry Chamber that was invented in the US in the 1920s,

is used to extract flavours from the botanicals. The chamber is

usually used to extract essential oils.


Caorunn gin from Balmenach distillery

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



 

Dornoch Organic Mediterranean Gin - Dornoch Distillery


Distillery Established: 2016

Gin Launched: 2017

Interesting Botanicals: Meadowsweet, Elderflower, Black Peppercorn, Freeze-dried

Raspberry

Varieties: Thompson Bros Gin, Dornoch Organic Mediterranean Gin

Info: The distillery is located in an old 19th-century fire station.


Dornoch distillery gin

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Eden Mill Gin - Eden Mill Distillery, Lowlands


Distillery Established: 2014

Gin Launched: 2014

Interesting Botanicals: Sea Buckhorn Berries, Lemon Balm, Citrus Peel

Varieties: Eden Mill - Original, Heritage Range, Love Gin Liqueurs Range,

Premium Range, Distiller's Choice Collection, Limited Releases

Ramsay's Gin

Info: The newest gin made by Eden Mill is dedicated to the chef Gordon

Ramsay picked the botanicals going into the recipe. We guess

he's not promoting Gordon's Gin anymore (and yes, he used to).


Eden Mill distillery gin and Gordon Ramsay gin

Image by Scotsman Food And Drink/ Eden Mill

 

GoodWill Gin - GlenWyvis Distillery, Highlands


Distillery Established: 2015 (built in 2017)

Gin Launched: 2018

Botanicals: Hawthorn Berries + 8 Classic Gin Botanicals

Info: In the past, they have produced 4 different types of gins, but the

The Scottish Gin variety is the only one currently available.


GoodWill gin from GlenWyvis distillery

Image by World Brand Design Society



 

Gordon's, Tanqueray & Jinzu Gin - Cameronbridge Distillery, Lowlands


Distillery Established: 1824

Gin Launched: Jinzu 2014

Botanicals: Sake, Yuzu

Info: Many might not know that the Cameronbridge distillery, owned by

Diageo also makes gins and vodka alongside their grain whisky.

The sake for the Jinzu Gin is actually made in Leven Distillery in

Fife, also owned by Diageo and located in their Leven bottling plant

since 2008.


Gins made at Cameronbridge grain distillery

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Harris Gin - Harris Distillery, Isle of Harris


Distillery Established: 2015

Gin Launched: 2015

Interesting Botanicals: Sugar Kelp, Javan Pepper

Info: Distilled in a copper still named "The Dottach". The gin is hard to

find due to high demand and small production size, but you can

order a monthly subscription to the gin from the distillery website.


Isle of Harris gin

Image by Imbibe Magazine

 

Height of Arrows Gin - Holyrood, Lowlands


Distillery Established: 2019

Gin Launched: 2021

Botanicals: Only 3: Juniper, Beeswax, Isle of Skye Sea Salt

Info: Named after a mountain Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, near the

distillery. In Gaelic, the mountain is called Àrd-Na-Said, which

literally means the Height of Arrows.


Height of Arrows Gin - Holyrood distillery, Lowlands

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



 

Hendrick's Gin - Girvan Distillery


Distillery Established: 1963

Gin Launched: 1999

Interesting Botanicals: Roses, Cucumber, Caraway Seeds, Elderflower, Yarrow Berries

Varieties: Hendrick's - Original, Lunar, Orbium, Amazonia, Midsummer

Solstice, Neptunia

Info: The first special edition Orbium (2017) took 18 years to release

after the introduction of Hendrick's Original in 1999.


Hendrick's gin is made at the Girvan grain distillery

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

Isle of Raasay Gin - Raasay Distillery, Isle of Raasay


Distillery Established: 2014 (first distillation 2017)

Gin Launched: 2019

Interesting Botanicals: Raasay Juniper, Rhubarb Root, Cubeb Pepper

Info: The botanicals are mixed with triple-distilled new make spirit from

the distillery which has an underlying blackcurrant note.


Isle of Raasay gin

Image by Raasay Distillery

 

Makar Gin - Glasgow Distillery, Lowlands


Distillery Established: 2014

Gin Launched: 2014

Interesting Botanicals: Black Pepper, Fresh Lemon, Fresh Rosemary

Varieties: Makar Gin - Original, Oak Aged, Mulberry Aged, Cherry, Old Tom

Info: Makar is a Scottish word for a poet or a bard.


Makar gin from Glasgow distillery

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



 

Nc'Nean Botanical Spirit - Nc'Nean Distillery, Highlands


Distillery Established: 2013

Launched: 2018

Botanicals: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Liquorice, Chamomile, Grapefruit,

Bog myrtle, Thyme, Sorrel, Heather

Info: Not categorised as gin, but pretty damn close. Described as

organic and 'beyond gin' with 40% ABV.


Nc'Nean distillery botanical spirit
 

Sanday Gin - Kimbland Distillery, Orkney


Distillery Established: 2017

Gin Launched: 2021

Interesting Botanicals: Not Known

Info: There isn't much information about this particular gin.

Kimbland distillery website says it's coming soon.


Kimbland distillery Sanday gin Orkney

Image by Kimbland Distillery

 

Strathearn Scottish Gin - Strathearn Distillery, Highlands


Distillery Established: 2013

Gin Launched: 2013

Interesting Botanicals: Calamus root, Grains of Paradise, Rose Petals, Honeyberry

Varieties: 11 different expressions

Info: One of Scotland's smallest distilleries that is sometimes listed more as a gin distillery than whisky, but we decided to include it

since we guess their heart was first set to produce whisky, but gin

got out of hand.


Strathearn gin

Image by The Whisky Ardvark



 

Tobermory Gin - Tobermory Distillery, Isle of Mull


Distillery Established: 1768

Gin Launched: 2019

Interesting Botanicals: Heather, Elderflower, Tea, Sweet Orange Peel

Varieties: Tobermory - Hebridean Gin, Mountain Gin, Hebridean Coast Gin

Info: The distillery underwent major refurbishments in 2019, resulting in

the installation of a gin still.


Tobermory Gin - Tobermory Distillery, Isle of Mull

Image by The Whisky Ardvark

 

William Kerr's Gin - Borders Distillery, Lowland


Distillery Established: 2018

Gin Launched: 2018

Interesting Botanicals: Almond, Heracleum Sphondylium (hogweed)

Info: Uses Carter head Still. William Kerr was a botanist from Hawick living in the late 1700s.


William Kerr's gin The Borders distillery

Image by The Borders Distillery

 

Have we forgotten someone? Let us know in the comments so we can update our article.




48 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page