In celebration of International Scottish Gin Day, contributor Kevin Pilley introduces Scotland's first nationwide immersive gin tour.
The owners of mainland UK’s most northerly mainland distillery will be welcoming gin tourists on Scotland’s first nationwide chauffeured gin-immersive tour.
Luxury Scotland represents twenty-six luxurious and exclusive Scottish properties including the country’s floating hotel, Fingal, next to the Royal Yacht Britannia. In celebration of International Scottish Gin Day, they are offering a seven-day motorized gin crawl, starting and ending in Edinburgh.
Beginning in Edinburgh’s 1865 five-star boutique hotel, The Dunstane Houses, you then travel to the spectacular (former Victorian shooting lodge) Torridon Hotel in Wester Ross, the Machrie Resort and Golf links on the inner Hebridean whisky isle of Islay - which now produces three gins, including The Botanist.
Included in the tour is your own private chauffeur, where one also has the opportunity to visit Dunnet Bay in Caithness (near John O’Groats), to sample its acclaimed Rock Rose gin made by chartered chemical engineer Martin Murray and his wife, Claire.
Scottish gin now accounts for 70% of UK gin production, with predictions of gin soon outselling whisky as Scottish gin sales in the US alone have grown 500 per cent over the last decade.
Gin from north of the border is proving so popular that there is now not only an official International Scottish Gin Day (October 1st) but also a Scottish Gin Trail which features around 40 distilleries.
Major players are Caorunn in Grantown-on-Spey, the Lost Loch Distillery on the edge of the Cairngorm National Park , Aberdeen’s Porter’s Gin, Arbikie in Angus, Eden Mill in St Andrews (Mr Gordon Ramsay's favourite), and the Isle of Skye’s Misty Isle.
You can choose your itinerary with Luxury Scotland and even your own car marque - a Jaguar X5L or a Mercedes S Class.
You can now even stay at Scotland’s first gin retreat on the western isle of Colonsay where Finlay and Eileen Geekie offer gin tasting menus including their own brand.
The fact that a nation of whisky lovers is turning into a nation of gin makers is getting increasingly less hard to swallow.
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