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ARTICLE/  IN PRAISE OF SCOTTISH GIN


While waiting for their first batches of whiskey to mature, craft distillers often get busy making gin. Gin is easy to produce and requires no aging, so the strategy makes perfect business sense. This is true even in Scotland, the spiritual home of whisky, where new and old distilleries alike are producing some fantastic clear spirits. In addition to juniper and other traditional botanicals, the best Scottish gins are infused with distinctive local plants. Here are some of our favorites so far:


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Caorunn

Pronounced ka-roon, this Speyside gin adds various locally foraged ingredients to the London Dry profile: dandelion leaves, rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle and heritage Coul Blush apples. Perfumed, fruity and moderately spicy. Suggested garnish: slices of red apple. 83.6 proof

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Porter’s

Distilled in Aberdeen, Porter’s has a traditional flavor profile, redolent of juniper, orange and angelica, punctuated by a few weirdo botanicals, such as buddha’s hand and pink peppercorns. Light and citrusy, Porter’s makes a great totally dry martini. Porter’s can be a bit tough to find, but it’s worth the search. 83 proof

The Botanist

Produced at the Bruichladdich whisky distillery on Islay, the aptly named Botanist goes seemingly overboard with botanicals: The recipe calls for 22 plants hand foraged on the island. These include gorse, thistle and wild mint, of all things. You’d think this celtic tea might produce a muddle on the nose and palate, but no: Everything works in harmony. Rich and mellow, The Botanist is great on the rocks or up as a martini. 92 proof

Hendrick’s

The first Scottish gin to be widely marketed, Hendrick’s gets its unusual flavor profile from roses and cucumber. But the eccentric ingredients don’t end there. Also infused are yarrow, chamomile and elderflower. This floral gin works well across a range of preparations—from neat to a G&T garnished with cucumber. 88 proof

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C Guzman