Looking for Scottish gins? Want to find Edinburgh gins to give as gifts? It's International Scottish Gin Day on 3 August, so celebrate in style with our pick of the best...


Want to discover more unique gins? Try our favourite Welsh gins, flavoured gins and British gins, or travel the world from your home with our unusual international gins.

Downpour, North Uist, Scotland, £38/ 70cl, North Uist Distillery Co

When distillery owners Kate MacDonald and Jonny Ingledew were researching botanicals for their gin they decided to focus on foraged heather, which is both abundant on the island’s east coast and adds a slight honeyed note.

Named after its strength of flavour rather than the local climate, Downpour gets its gutsy flavour from its high ratio of botanicals; dispersing oils from these are what give the gin its distinctive tendency to louche, or cloud, when tonic is added (a neat reflection, perhaps, of the skittering shadows that race across local skies).

Flavour profile: citrus

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Botanicals: Hebridean heather, lemon, grapefruit, cassia, clove, orange, cardamom and coriander seed, cubeb pepper, orris root, angelica and juniper

Perfect pairing: tonic and a spring of rosemary, heather if you can get it

The Botanist, Islay, Scotland, £37/70cl, Amazon

The Botanist London Dry gin is all about hand-foraged local botanicals, resulting in a bottle that uniquely expresses the Scottish island.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: angelica root, apple mint, birch leaves, bog myrtle leaves, cassia bark, chamomile, cinnamon bark, coriander seed, creeping thistle flowers, elder flowers, gorse flowers, heather flowers, hawthorn flowers, juniper berries, lady's bedstraw flowers, lemon balm, lemon peel, liquorice root, meadow sweet, orange peel, oris root, peppermint leaves, mugwort leaves, red clover flowers, tansy, thyme leaves, water mint leaves, white clover, wood sage leaves

Perfect pairing: tonic and a sprig of rosemary or grapefruit

Porter’s Tropical Old Tom Gin, Aberdeen, Scotland, £34.50/70cl, Amazon

With botanicals of passion fruit and guava this subtly sweet old tom gin is well proportioned, with juicy tropical notes balanced by an earthy, classic juniper base.

Flavour profile: fruity

Botanicals: juniper, passion fruit, guava, white tea, coriander, angelica, orange, lemon, orris, cassia, cinnamon, liquorice, almond

Perfect pairing: tonic and fresh passion fruit

Porters Tropical Gin

Rock Rose, Thurso, Scotland, £34/70cl, Master of Malt

Proving the British craft distilling movement has gone all the way to the northern tip of Scotland, Rock Rose harnesses its regionality in its gin. One of the few craft distillers to have a British-made still, it vapour-infuse all the botanicals in a steam basket at the neck of their custom-made John Dore & Co beauty.

Rock Rose is bright and packed with fruity berries and a delicate astringency. Combined with a beautiful ceramic bottle and a passionate team, this gin is perfect for summer.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, rose root, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, bilberries, cardamom, coriander seed, verbena

Perfect pairing: tonic and a sprig of rosemary

Rock Rose Gin Scottish Gin

Isle of Raasay Hebridean Gin, £34.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

This Hebridean gin from Raasay, an island between the Isle of Skye and mainland Scotland, features local juniper and nine other botanicals, plus a triple-distilled spirit. It’s overwhelmingly fresh, with a genuine, clean flavour that takes gin-making back to its roots, and a slight background smokiness. A no-nonsense winner, bound to match any mixer.

Flavour profile: juniper forward

Botanicals: juniper berries, rhubarb root, lemon peel, orange peel, coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice root, orris root, cubeb pepper

Perfect pairing: let this one speak for itself – a simple slice of lemon will do

Isle of Raasay Hebridean Gin bottle in front of a dark sea background

Biggar, Southern Uplands, Scotland, £36.95/70cl, Master of Malt

This award-winning gin, made in batches of just 200 bottles at a time, uses botanicals local to the Scottish town of Biggar, where it’s made. As to be expected from a London dry gin it’s got plenty of juniper character, as well as vibrant orange notes, subtle herbaceousness and spice, and a restrained sweetness. It’s also super smooth to drink, with a lingering finish.

Botanicals: Rowan berry, rosehip, nettle, pink peppercorns, coriander seed, cardamom pods, lavender, cassia bark, orris root

Perfect pairing: tonic and a few pink peppercorns

Biggar Gin Scottish Gin

Isle of Harris Gin, Hebridean Islands, Scotland, £40/70cl, Isle of Harris Distillery

The nine botanicals in this Scottish gin capture the breezy atmosphere of the Hebridean Islands in northern Scotland. Sugar kelp is the most unique botanical, adding a savoury edge to this beautifully presented gin.

Flavour profile: herbaceous/savoury

Botanicals: sugar kelp, juniper, coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, bitter orange peel, cubeb, liquorice root, orris root

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of grapefruit

Theodore Pictish Gin, Ardross, Scotland, £35.89/70cl, Amazon

Created with guidance from perfume designer Barnabé Fillion, this new gin was inspired by the ancient Picts, using botanicals that the tribe may have encountered on their travels. The result is an elegant, aromatic spirit with delicate spice, warmth from ginger and heady but well-balanced rose and pine notes.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: pomelo, pine, damask rose, honey, oolong tea, ginger, bourbon vetiver

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of mango and a sprig of thyme

Click here to buy a bottle of the floral gin

Darnley’s Spiced Gin, St Andrews, Scotland, £35.77/70cl, Amazon

One for those who can find some spiced gins a little overpowering, this gin has a subtle, restrained spice that’s balanced by juniper, with a lingering, peppery finish.

Flavour profile: spiced

Botanicals: juniper, cloves, grains of paradise and ginger

Perfect pairing: ginger ale

Darnley’s Spiced Gin

Hendrick’s Gin, South Ayrshire, Scotland, £31/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

Clean, floral and refreshing, since launching in 2001 Hendrick’s Gin has been the success story that has set the template for modern gin brands to follow, spearheading a resurgence in the spirit. It can now be found in all bars across the globe, with glasses of Hendrick’s and tonic served with cucumber instead of lemon or lime. We’d recommend that if you don’t like gin or don’t know where to start, this is the place to do so as Hendrick’s is not a juniper-forward gin.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, rose, cubeb berries, elderflower, chamomile, yarrow, coriander, angelica root, lemon & orange peel, orris root

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of cucumber, or a twist of lemon peel

Hendricks Gin

Caorunn Gin, Cairngorm National Park, Scotland, £28/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

Distilled and bottled in Scotland, Caorunn firmly takes on the mantle of a national product. The distillery is situated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and is inspired by the surrounding landscape – using age-old Celtic botanicals that grow on the hills around Balmenach Distillery.

Drunk on its own, the gin is crisp, dry and well-balanced yet still full-bodied. The botanicals jump out in the palate with spices, citrus and floral notes all working well to complement a dry juniper note that leaves you with a crisp, clean finish.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root, cassia bark, rowan berry, heather, dandelion, coul blush apple

Perfect pairing: tonic and a thin wedge of red apple

Caorunn Gin, Scotland

Porter’s Gin, Aberdeen, Scotland, £31.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

Made in Aberdeen, this is a classic gin with bold juniper and bright citrus notes. It’s created using a combination of old and new techniques. Light flavours are extracted from delicate botanicals through cold distillation so as not to damage them with heat, while other more robust ingredients are distilled at one of the UK’s oldest gin distilleries, allowing the unique characteristics of each to shine through.

Flavour profile: juniper forward

Botanicals: juniper, angelica, almond, coriander, liquorice root, lemon, orange, buddha’s hand, pink peppercorn, orris root, cassia bark and cinnamon

Perfect pairing: tonic and pink peppercorns

Porter's Gin Aberdeen Scottish Gin

Eden Mill Hop Gin, St Andrews, Scotland, £29.83/50cl, Master of Malt

A quirky hybrid of gin and beer flavours, this St Andrews-based distillery uses Australian galaxy hops as a botanical in its Hop Gin. Linking the two crafts of brewing and distilling together, this is an unusual spirit, with a strong, rich flavour.

Flavour profile: floral and citrus

Botanicals: juniper, angelica, coriander, Australian Galaxy hops

Perfect pairing: tonic and fresh red chilli pepper

Eden Mill Hop Gin


Photo credit: Calum Gillies


Hannah Guinness olive magazine portrait
Hannah GuinnessSenior sub editor and drinks writer

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