A perfect pairing – McLean’s Gin

We love a romantic story, especially if it has gin in it! This one began when Colin McLean was given a gin making kit as a Christmas gift back in 2015, the following Valentine’s Day he created a bespoke gin for his (then) fiancee, Jess a gift. 

The romantic gin he made exceeded all expectations, so Colin decided to investigate how to make his own recipes and McLean’s Gin came to be.

Until quite recently, McLean’s gin was made in possibly Scotland’s smallest distillery, a cupboard in their flat in Glasgow, but now the McLean’s Gin Lab has moved to a new home in the rolling countryside of Strathaven.

Colin and Jess are now married and they celebrated their wedding with the release of a limited edition Something Blue Gin. We wanted to find out a bit more about Mr & Mrs McLean, so we had a chat with Colin.

How did you meet?
We met at a mutual friend’s 21st birthday party (Hi Holly!) on the Isle of Arran. Our eyes first met on the bus to the venue (Corrie Hall) and I asked a mutual friend “Who’s she, then?”
As the night went on we got talking, and I guess the rest is history. It was a beautiful night and we saw three shooting stars! 
Not entirely coincidentally, we got married on more or less the exact spot almost 6 years later.
How did you begin your Scottish Gin journey together?
Jess’ folks got me a “Make-Your-Own” gin-kit for Christmas 2015, and a couple of months later after a mild panic (I’d forgotten to get her something for Valentine’s Day, oops) I first put the kit to good use. We cracked open the bottle for a taste on Valentine’s evening and were pleasantly surprised to find that we rather enjoyed it!  3 years on, we’ve somewhat refined the original recipe since then and have added 5 more, including “Something Blue”, which we released to celebrate our wedding last year.
What’s the best thing about working together?
We’re almost always on the same page with respect to what we think is best for the business, and we’re close enough to (politely) disagree on the odd occasion that we aren’t.  Although I take care of the day-to-day runnings of McLean’s Gin, we’re definitely on an even footing when it comes to the big decisions and it really helps to have someone to discuss big ideas and opportunities with. No new gin is released without Jess’ stamp of approval!
What do you like to do together when you’re not working?
We love travelling, but don’t have the chance as often these days with it only being ourselves at the helm. McLean’s Gin doesn’t run itself! 
We also love hiking (preferably when it’s a bit warmer and drier) and exploring; good food and the odd Scottish gin (or three). We’re also STUPIDLY excited for the final season of Game of Thrones hitting in April!
Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?
Nothing planned as yet, but February is looking pretty busy. We’re heading to Rothesay for the Bute Gin Festival from 8th-10th February, run by Craft 56 Scotland. Last year’s event was fantastic and so we’re really looking forward to a bigger and better event this year I guess it’s work, but a 4 course meal paired with 4 of the gins from our range and a few nights in a beautiful, historic hotel certainly makes it a great experience. 
We’re big science fans and are heading to see Brian Cox on February 19th, too, so most likely a quiet, cosy Valentine’s this year. We’ll probably enjoy a McLean’s Signature for old times’ sake! 

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