The national awards programme which celebrates excellence in Scottish gin has revealed the names of the best gins made in Scotland this year, as part of its 3rd annual competition.
The Scottish Gin Awards revealed the winners last night following a rigorous judging process involving 30 leading experts from across the UK, the assessment of 104 written entries and the blind tasting of 173 gins, all distilled in Scotland.
The ultimate award, Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, was presented to Caithness-based Dunnet Bay Distillers after phenomenal growth in demand for their Rock Rose Gins worldwide.
The team were praised for a commitment to sustainable business practices, community engagement and investment in people as a key employer in the area. The Rock Rose team also collected two coveted taste awards – a Gold Award for Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Winter Edition and a Silver Award for Rock Rose Old Tom Pink Grapefruit.
However, it was a small batch gin made on contract for a local delicatessen which was the surprise star of the night. Lenzie Gin which was developed by the owners of Billington’s of Lenzie with contract distillers, Distillutions of Arbroath, fought off competition from 44 other contenders to win the gold medal in the London Dry Gin of the Year.
Lenzie Gin went on to win the judges prize for Gin of the Year; the best gin in the competition. The gin is made using cranberry and bilberry which grows locally in the hills around the small town located 6 miles north east of Glasgow.
Chair of the judging panel, Alex Bruce, Managing Director of Adelphi Distillery commented;
“Once again, and with rising numbers of nearly 600 people, we have managed to gather as one industry, to celebrate our world-leading Scottish gin. Congratulations to all the Scottish distilleries and supporting businesses which have been successful. Winning a Scottish Gin Awards medal is a significant achievement and provides a huge opportunity to promote Scottish gin both at home and abroad. I hope that tonight’s winners will take the opportunity to promote their successes in what was the largest and toughest competition to date.
“Such is global demand in the gin category, we have increasing competition. But right across the food and drink industry, Scotland enjoys an enviable reputation for quality, innovation and endeavour, so let’s continue to work for, and with, that well-deserved reputation.”
Other winners on the night included Edinburgh Gin who picked up a clutch of awards; Best Marketing Campaign for their Botanical Bouquets; a Bronze medal for Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger Gin and a Highly Commended award in the London Dry category for their Christmas Gin.
Last year’s Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, Isle of Harris Distillers, were rewarded for their achievements in the Exporter of the Year category while the popular Scottish Gin Destination of the Year award was presented to The Orkney Distillery who also collected a silver award for their high strength gin, Kirkjuvagr Arkh-Angell. Callander-based McQueen Gin collected the award for Growth Business of the Year after tremendous growth in sales across the UK.
The news of the winners was announced at a well-attended dinner in Glasgow for almost 600 guests, largely attended by representatives from Scotland’s many gin businesses. The awards are supported by sponsors including Aldi, Schweppes, Vetroelite and the Scottish Distillers Association.
The competition founded by KDMedia, launched its third year in February and conducted a Scotland- wide search for the best gins and gin businesses. Following a blind tasting adjudicated by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology, 117 gins progressed to the finals.
The awards raise funds for two nominated charities; The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, set up by rugby legend Doddie Weir to help improve the lives of those affected by Motor Neurone Disease.
THE WINNERS IN FULL
Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year sponsored by Aldi
Winner: Dunnet Bay Distillers Finalists: Crafty Scottish Distillers Edinburgh Gin McQueen Gin
Gin of the Year sponsored by Vetroelite
Winner: Lenzie Gin
Best Newcomer sponsored by Kimia UK
Winner: GlenWyvis Distillery Finalists: Badvo Distillery Fidra Gin Glaswegin Distilling Co Ice and Fire Distillery The Pentland Still The Port of Leith Distillery The Wee Farm Distillery
Growth Business of the Year sponsored by Halewood
Winner: McQueen Gin Highly Commended: The Shetland Distillery Company
Finalists: Edinburgh Gin Electric Spirit Co. Gleann Mor Spirits Co Isle of Harris Distillers Redcastle Spirits
Innovation of the Year sponsored by MacRoberts
Winner: Lussa Drinks Company Finalists: Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Crafty Scottish Distillers John Crabbie & Co Loch Ness Spirits Summerhall Distillery, Pickering’s Gin The Borders Distillery Wee Hemp Spirits
Exporter of the Year sponsored by Forth Ports
Winner: Isle of Harris Distillers Finalists: Dornoch Distillery Company Glasgow Distillery Company
Best Marketing Campaign sponsored by Orb Group
Winner: Edinburgh Gin – Botanical Bouquets Highly Commended: Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Finalists: Eden Mill Mackintosh Gin McLean’s Gin McQueen Gin
Excellence in Branding sponsored by McLaren Packaging
Winner: Lind & Lime, The Port of Leith Distillery Finalists: Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Crafty Scottish Distillers Eden Mill Fidra Gin Glasgow Distillery Company Glaswegin Distilling Co Loch Ness Spirits Moray Distillery Smithies Gin Company The Biggar Gin Company
The Garden Shed Drinks Company The Torridon
Best Brand Experience sponsored by Rankin Brothers & Sons
Winner: The A Club by Arbikie Distillery Finalists: Blendworks Gin School by Eden Mill The BAFTA Scotland VIP Experience by Edinburgh Gin
Scottish Gin Destination of the Year
Winner: The Orkney Distillery, Orkney Finalists: Caorunn Balmenach Distillery,Speyside Crossbill Distilling, Glasgow Darnley’s Gin, Kingsbarns Eden Mill Blendworks, St. Andrews & Glasgow Isle of Harris Distillery, Harris Persie Distillery, Perthshire Pixel Spirits, North Ballachulish The Old Curiosity Distillery, Midlothian The Distillery at Dalton (Oro) Lockerbie
Scottish Gin Event of the Year sponsored by Schweppes
Winner: The Big Big Gin Festival, Edinburgh Corn Exchange Highly Commended: Gintyre, Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, Explore Campbeltown and South Kintyre Development Trust Finalists: Gin Jazz, Inshriach Distilling The Gin Fayre Earles & Co. Juniper Gin Festival, Summerhall Drinks Lab The Gin To My Tonic Show,The Gin to My Tonic
London Dry Gin of the Year sponsored by Franklin & Sons
GOLD Lenzie Gin SILVER Mackintosh Gin BRONZE Glaswegin; Glaswegin Distilling Co HIGHLY COMMENDED: Original Gin; Eden Mill
Fidra Gin; Fidra Gin Firkin Try Me Naked; Gleann Mor Spirits Co Edinburgh Gin Christmas; Edinburgh Gin Holyrood Dry Gin; Holyrood Distillery Gorse Gin; Lundin Distilling Isle of Harris Gin; Isle of Harris Distillers
Finalists Artist Edition – Struan, Kinrara Distillery Avva Scottish Gin; Moray Distillery Barra Atlantic Gin; Isle of Barra Distillers Biggar Gin; The Biggar Gin Company Caithness Highland Gin; Ice and Fire Distillery Caorunn Gin; Caorunn Balmenach Distillery, International Beverage Caorunn Gin Masters Cut; Caorunn Balmenach Distillery, International Beverage Crabbie’s 1837; John Crabbie & Co Crofters Tears; Ice and Fire Distillery Crossbill 100% Scottish Dry Gin; Crossbill Distilling Darnley’s Original Gin; Darnley’s Gin Edinburgh Gin 1670; Edinburgh Gin Edinburgh Gin Classic; Edinburgh Gin Edinburgh Gin Seaside; Edinburgh Gin Garden Shed Gin; The Garden Shed Drinks Company Hills & Harbour Gin; Crafty Scottish Distillers King’s Hill Gin; The Pentland Still Kintyre Botanical Gin; Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Leith Gin; Gleann Mor Spirits Co Lind & Lime Gin; The Port of Leith Distillery Loch Ness Gin; Loch Ness Spirits Makar Original Dry Gin; Glasgow Distillery Company NB Samphire; NB Distillery Oro; The Oro Distilling Co Oro V; The Oro Distilling Co Persie Labrador Gin; Persie Distillery Persie Zesty Citrus Gin; Persie Distillery Pickering’s Gin; Pickering’s Gin Redcastle Scottish Gin; Redcastle Spirits Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Original Edition; Dunnet Bay Distillers Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Spring Edition; Dunnet Bay Distillers Selkirk Gin; Selkirk Distillers Shetland Reel Gin – Filska; The Shetland Distillery Company Smithies Gin; Smithies Gin Company Uisge Lusach; Uisge Lusach – The Gaelic Gins
Distilled Gin of the Year sponsored by Contract Bottlers Glasgow
GOLD Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Winter Edition; Dunnet Bay Distillers SILVER Kinrara Highland Dry; Kinrara Distillery BRONZE Isle of Bute Gorse Gin; Isle of Bute Hand Crafted Gin
Finalists Arcturus Gin; The Torridon Devil’s Staircase; Pixel Spirits Edinburgh Gin Valentines; Edinburgh Gin Four Marys Zesty Sherbet Gin; Linlithgow Distillery Glasgow Warriors Gin – Wild Myrtle Gin; Eden Mill Isle of Bute Hand Crafted Oyster Gin; Isle of Bute Hand Crafted Gin
Misty Isle Gin; Isle of Skye Distillers Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Autumn Edition; Dunnet Bay Distillers Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Summer Edition; Dunnet Bay Distillers The Poshist; Madderty Micro Tommy’s Gin & Lest We Forget; Isle of Skye Distillers
High Strength Gin of the Year (50% ABV and over) sponsored by The Gin Cooperative
GOLD Pickerings Gin Navy Strength; Pickering’s Gin SILVER Kirkjuvagr Arkh-Angell; Orkney Distilling BRONZE Something Clear; McLean’s Gin
Finalists Caorunn Highland Strength; Caorunn Balmenach Distillery, International Beverage Crossbill 200yo Single Specimen Dry Gin; Crossbill Distilling Darnley’s Navy Strength Gin; Darnley’s Gin Inshriach 57% Navy Strength Speyside Dry Gin; Inshriach Distilling LeithAl Gin; Gleann Mor Spirits Co Navy Strength, Avva Scottish Gin; Moray Distillery Rock Rose Premium Scottish Gin Navy Strength; Dunnet Bay Distillers
Gin Liqueur of the Year
GOLD El:gin Moray Mocha; El:gin SILVER Redcastle Passion Fruit & Mango Gin Liqueur; Redcastle Spirits BRONZE Blackcurrant, Rhubarb & Ginger; Eden Mill in collaboration with Aldi
Finalists Berry Good – Raspberry; Moray Distillery Berry Good – Strawberry; Moray Distillery Edinburgh Gin Orange Blossom & Mandarin; Edinburgh Gin Edinburgh Gin Pomegranate & Rose; Edinburgh Gin El:gin Moray Berry; El:gin Redcastle Cranberry & Orange Winter Spice Liqueur; Redcastle Spirits Redcastle Raspberry & Pomegranate Gin Liqueur; Redcastle Spirits Shetland Reel, Rhubarb and Bramble Gin Liqueur; Shetland Distillery The Glesart, McLean’s Gin
Cask Gin of the Year sponsored by Wolffe
GOLD Makar Mulberry Aged Gin; Glasgow Distillery Company SILVER Cask Finish Gin, Avva Scottish Gin; Moray Distillery BRONZE Firkin Cask Aged – Cote Du Roussilion Red; Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Finalists Firkin Cask Aged – Islay; Gleann Mor Spirits Co Firkin Gin – Navy Strength Cask Aged; Gleann Mor Spirits Co Firkin Oak Aged American Oak; Gleann Mor Spirits Co
GlenWyvis Christmas GoodWill Spiced Gin; GlenWyvis Distillery Kintyre Oak Aged Gin; Beinn an Tuirc Distillers Makar Oak Aged Gin; Glasgow Distillery Company Rock Rose Reserve Sauternes Cask Edition; Dunnet Bay Distillers Shetland Reel Gin – Up Helly Aa 2019; The Shetland Distillery Company
Flavoured Gin of the Year
GOLD Persie Herby & Aromatic Gin; Persie Distillery SILVER Persie Spaniel Gin; Persie Distillery BRONZE Misty Isle Mulled Christmas Gin; Isle of Skye Distillers
Finalists Elgin Heather Honey; El:gin Findrassie Kinrara Distiller’s Edition – Oaked Spice Gin; Kinrara Distillery Kinrara Distiller’s Edition – Rose & Cardamon Gin; Kinrara Distillery Kinrara Hibiscus Gin; Kinrara Distillery Lemon Verbena; The Old Curiosity Distillery
Fruit Flavoured Gin of the Year
GOLD Caorunn Scottish Raspberry; International Beverage SILVER Passion Fruit & Coconut Gin ,Eden Mill in collaboration with Aldi BRONZE Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger Gin; Edinburgh Gin
Finalists Blueberry & Vanilla Gin; Eden Mill Kinrara Distiller’s Edition – Lime & Lemongrass Gin; Kinrara Distillery Madderty Micro Orange Marmalade Gin; Madderty Micro Makar Cherry Gin; Glasgow Distillery Company McQueen Pink Gin; McQueen Gin Plum & Pink Grapefruit; Eden Mill Ripple Gin; Lundin Distilling
Old Tom Gin of the Year sponsored by Scottish Distillers Association
GOLD Holyrood Auld Tam; Holyrood Distillery SILVER Rock Rose Old Tom Pink Grapefruit; Dunnet Bay Distillers BRONZE Firkin Old Tom; Gleann Mor Spirits Co
Finalists Crabbie’s 1891; John Crabbie & Co. Esker Honey Spiced Gin; Esker Spirits Makar Old Tom; Glasgow Distillery