In the second feature of our series on the Scottish Gins that made the top 10 of our Consumer Choice Awards in 2019, we feature McLean’s Gin, who hit the number 10 spot last year.
Like most of the Scottish Gin producers we have met and learned about, McLean’s Gin has a unique background story, but we think theirs is a little more unique than most…
The gift that kept giving
It all began when founder Colin McLean was given a gin making kit by his partner, Jess as a Christmas gift back in 2015, due to his love of making beer and other experiments. Fast forward a month or so to Valentine’s Day, (well the day before) and he realised that he had completely forgotten to buy Jess a gift. But there, staring him in the eye was the gin-making kit … The romantic gin he made exceeded all expectations, so Colin decided to investigate how to make his own recipes.
The following Christmas, the couple’s family all received bottles of what would become McLean’s signature Gin and encouraged them to make a go of it. So that did.
Without a still, Colin decided to embark on compounding gin, often called “bath-tub” which dates back to the 1700s. Compound gin is created by soaking the botanicals in neutral spirit, then filtering the liquid to produce gin, so no distillation method is used.
Until recently, McLean’s gin was made in possibly one of the smallest distilleries, a cupboard in their flat in the south-side of Glasgow, but now the McLean’s Gin Lab has moved to a new home in the rolling countryside of Strathaven. Along with the move to the new premises, Colin gave up his job in construction and is now 100% dedicated to producing the McLean’s range.
Having received rave reviews for the signature McLean’s Gin, Colin and Jess began experimenting with new flavour combinations and a wide range of McLean’s Gins are now available, including Citrus, Floral, Spiced and Cherry Bakewell!
To celebrate their wedding in 2018, the couple released their ‘Something Blue’ Gin, that has a beautiful blue tint that comes from the addition of butterfly pea, a botanical found in Thailand.
We caught up with Colin to find out what the future holds and how it felt to be named in the top 10 Scottish Gins as voted for by the public:
This year is all about the gin that we created to celebrate our wedding in 2018; Something Blue. It’s fast becoming our biggest seller and always goes down a storm at tastings and events. It’s being spotted more and more frequently on the gantries of some of Scotland’s most esteemed wedding venues, as well as regularly featuring as great little wedding favours in 5cl form! We now have the capacity to personalise these, too. We’ll be developing the Something Blue brand to make it the go to gin for your big day, but trust us when we say you don’t need to be tying the knot to enjoy the unique flavour of this intriguing spirit.
Jess and I will also be kept pretty busy juggling the management and growth of McLean’s Gin alongside raising our new little McLean Twins, Harriet and Freya!
We can’t lie about this – when we learned we were in the top 10 it was both a dream come true and a huge, huge shock! We’re so grateful for the support we’ve had from our fans and followers so far and we hope we can go from strength to strength and keep doing you all proud.
We really love the McLean’s Gin story and wish them all the best with their gin production and managing little Harriet and Freya! Is McLean’s your favourite Scottish Gin this year? Or one of the hundreds of other choices out there? Your vote matters, so get voting in our poll today!