Hidden past the northern coast of Scotland lies the beautiful and untamed Orkney Islands, a destination that may pass over many people’s to-do plans when visiting Scotland. That being said, the beautiful Orkney Islands should be on the top of your to-do list for a couple of reasons: historical museums and sites, a distinct culture of food, and Orkney gin distilleries!
A few excellent distilleries in this wild part of Scotland will excite any discerning gin enthusiast, as well as premium whisky and rum distilleries too. The gin you can taste in Orkney has an exceptional quality you can’t find anywhere else in Scotland – it may be the mythical lands that birth the rich botanicals or the experienced and dedicated distillers that make each bottle of gin a treat to drink.
Sold on the idea and have your ferry ticket in hand? Great, because here are the top Orkney gin distilleries you must add to your to-do list while you’re here.
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Orkney Gin Company
The charm of the Orkney Isles is undeniable. When you arrive on the Isle, you’re immersed in intricate history, unique folklore, and incredibly stunning scenery – the perfect base for gin-tasting experiences. The Orkney Gin Company is one of the first stops that gin lovers should take the time to enjoy while on the Isles, and there’s plenty to choose from!
This distillery’s gin is inspired by many of the enchanting aspects of the Isle, from its Norse Ancestors in the Akvavit, the Scottish Navy in Old Tom, and even a local legend or two in the Aatta. Each bottle of gin is a testament to the seafaring heritage established on these islands centuries ago, all for you to savour when you visit the Orkney Gin Company or find their Scottish island gin in stores throughout the Isle.
You can reach the Orkeny Gin Company on the Isle of Burray, south of the main town of Kirkwall. If you catch a ferry from Gills Bay, you can save yourself a drive, but starting from Kirkwall is also an excellent way to see the Isle’s natural beauty.
The Orkney Distillery & Visitor Centre
Right in the heart of Kirkwall, the Orkney Distillery & Visitor Centre is the premier place to come and taste the best gin the Orkeny Isles offer. From the moment you enter the door, your epic Orkney saga will begin, where you can learn the intricate and detailed process that goes into the legendary Kirkjuvagr Orkney gin made here.
If it needed to be clarified that Orkney has roots from ancient seafarers, that’ll undoubtedly be the case when you arrive at the Orkney Distillery. Kirkjuvagr Orkney gin reflects the history of the island seafarers who called the region their home – and the taste when you have a sip is Orcadian.
There are several experiences you can find at the Orkney Distillery that you should seriously consider, including the gin tasting and the kirkjuvagr gin-making experience. These allow you to taste the essence of the island, with botanical flavours like juniper, nutmeg, and Scottish raspberries and learn the Old Norse history of distilling. Another secret to this distillery and visitor centre is the traditional Orkney bere barley, orange peel, and burnet rose they use in their recipes.
The Orkney Distillery is a rite of passage for any gin enthusiast who comes to Orkney’s capital in search of its rich history and divine tastes.
The Deerness Distillery is on the far east side of Mainland Orkney Isle and is known for using defining ingredients of the island to distil incredible gin drinks. The Deerness Distillery is the perfect place to enjoy hand-crafted Orkney gin using traditional Orkney ingredients and botanicals.
Their famed sea glass gin, scuffed gin, vara gin, and more are excellent for a gin-tasting experience or a night out while exploring the Isle. Deerness is one of many Orkney distilleries that are proficient at instilling local botanicals’ dense and beautiful flavours into their gins.
If all this sounds enticing, don’t hesitate to visit the Deerness Distillery during their opening hours (10:00 – 17:00, Monday to Friday). You can visit their gift shop, which has several souvenirs to take home you, including jewellery, art, homeware, and their incredible gin and liqueur. If you catch one of the friendly distillers, feel free to ask any questions about their Orkney gin distillery process – distillery tours are also available to book.
The Deerness Distillery is a relatively new distillery compared to the others we’ve mentioned but is nonetheless filled with heart, soul, and excellent gin.
Other Gin Distilleries in Scotland
- Aberdeen Gin Distilleries
- Edinburgh Gin Distilleries
- Glasgow Gin Distilleries
- Highland Gin Distilleries
- Isle of Islay Gin Distilleries
- Perthshire Gin Distilleries
- Shetland Gin Distilleries