In the far-flung northern reaches of Scotland are the Shetland Isles, where the weather gets quite blistering cold, and there’s nothing better to warm yourself up than a glass of gin. Should you find yourself on Scotland’s most northerly inhabited island and want to try gins with a unique and authentic flavour, you’ll be glad to know that there are a few gin distilleries on the Isle that you can visit!
Admittedly, these Scottish Isles lie far past the typical tourist hotspots you would expect when visiting the beautiful nation of Scotland, but it’s actually not as far as many think. You can reach the Shetland Isles with just two ferry journeys over the Atlantic Ocean from Thurso.
Here are the top Shetland gin distilleries you can visit while exploring the beautiful Shetland Islands.
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Shetland Reel at Saxa Vord Distillery
Boasting the title of Scotland’s most northerly distillery, Shetland Reel Gin is infused with as much local flavour as you’d expect from a distillery so far from civilisation. Shetland Reel Gin comes in various distinct and delicious flavours, including the Shetland Reel original gin, which affectionately captures the nature of the Shetland Isles in its ingredients. Tasting notes you can look forward to are hints of traditional juniper, with a subtle hint of citrus and spices.
There’s also the Shetland Reel Ocean Sent Gin, which will remind you of the stunning Shetland coastline with each sip. This gin features native bladderwrack and has native nutritious seaweed that has been collected to produce this high-quality spirit.
Last but certainly not least is the Shetland Reel Simmer Gin, named after the beautiful summer twilight skies that Shetland is known for. Eight botanicals comprise this London dry gin, including orange peel and liquorice root.
You can find Shetland Reel gins on the Shetland Island of North Uist, the most northerly inhabited island of the Shetland Isles.
North Uist Distillery
If you’ve ever wanted to distil the island life of the Shetland Isles into a single sip, you’ll love the craft gin made by the North Uist Distillery. This distillery makes Downpour Gin, a classic Scottish gin influenced by the natural ingredients around the Isle.
North Uist has quite a few excellent gin choices, including their classic Downpour Gin, Downpour Coast & Croft Gin, Downpour Pink Grapefruit Gin, and Downpour Sloe & Bramble Gin. Each bottle offers a unique, authentic flavour from local botanicals like lemon peel, a wedge of pink grapefruit, sweet-scented leaves, and apple mint grown and harvested on Uist.
If you need help deciding which is best for you, you can sample the gins of this Shetland distillery by booking a gin distillery tasting at the Nort Uist Distillery. North Uist Distillery has been producing quality spirits for generations, and you can sample their exquisite the next time you visit this stunning distillery in North Uist, Shetland Islands.
While not strictly a gin producer, the Lerwick Distillery still offers an excellent selection of gins you can sample when traversing the Shetland mainland. Lerwick creates spirits perfect for the long winter nights that Shetland is known for, with some nights falling below 0 degrees. If you want more variety, you can also try the delicious whisky Lerwick offers.
Lerwick Distillery is a new distillery on the Shetland Isles and has been on the Isle since 2023 – it is the third distillery on the Isle besides Shetland Reel and North Unst Gin Distillery. That being said, the Lerwick Distillery is more accessible than many of the distilleries in Shetland Isles since Lerwick experiences the most thoroughfare in Shetland Isles.
Other Gin Distilleries in Scotland
- Aberdeen Gin Distilleries
- Edinburgh Gin Distilleries
- Glasgow Gin Distilleries
- Highland Gin Distilleries
- Isle of Islay Gin Distilleries
- Isle of Orkney Gin Distilleries
- Perthshire Gin Distilleries