5 of the best small batch gins from the Scottish hebrides
- Craig Angus
- 5 September 2017
Country's remotest outposts are havens for botanical creativity, with each offering a unique taste of the island
The Scottish hebrides, comprising hundreds of diverse islands to the north west of Scotland, offer some of the country's most spectacular geography, with challenging peaks looming behind tranquil beaches and breathtaking scenery drawing visitors from all over the world. The archipelago's natural resources make for some unique produce, with the whisky of the Islands some Scotland's most beloved, and famous exports, but these days that's not the only spirit making waves across the waters. The islands are a haven for botanical creativity, making them ideal places to make gin. We've picked out five of our favourites.
Alicia Macinnes, Claire Fletcher and Georgina Kitching's Lussa Gin could only have been distilled in one place; The Isle of Jura. Dominated by mountains (you can make out the the iconic Paps of Jura clearly from mainland Scotland) it's a land of rough terrain and often unforgiving weather. The spirit of adventure is alive in Lussa Gin, the team use their island to full effect, foraging for botanicals in the untarnished wilderness. The result is a zesty, smooth gin with a subtle aromatic finish.
Known the world over for its peated whiskies, Islay's gins are starting to make a name for themselves. 'The Botanist' fuses classic gin aromatics with 22 local botanicals picked from the peat bogs, hills and shores of the 'Queen of the Hebrides'. It's a seductive small-batch gin like no other, smoothly gliding over the palate and offering a plethora of aromatic joys, from apple mint to aniseed.
Misty Isle Gin
The largest of Scotland's Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Using crystal clear water from the Storr Lochs and 11 botanicals – one of which is top secret, but can only be found on the Isle of Skye – Misty Isle Gin, created by the brothers Thomas and Alistair Wilson, launched in February 2017. Both the gin itself and its design are influenced by Skye, its mountainous landscape and turbulent seas.
Colansay's Wild Island gin has a relaxed message. The design on the bottle, a watercolour of the idyllic Kiloran Bay, brings to mind the fresh island air and the soothing sound of the sea. Wild Island uses 16 botanicals to deliver a floral, citrus fresh gin. The Colonsay components – lemon balm, wild water mint, meadowsweet, sea buckthorn, heather flowers and bog myrtle – give the gin a distinctive floral quality.
Isle of Harris Gin
Not actually an Island itself, Harris is the southern half of what's the third biggest island in the UK – Lewis and Harris. The key ingredient of Isle of Harris Gin is sugar kelp, which is obtained by a local diver, foraging beneath the waters of the Outer Hebrides. The gin itself has citrus notes of grapefruit, lime and bitter orange, with the sugar kelp giving it a dry, maritime quality.