Distiller, Scott Gowans

Ginspired Scotland is delighted to talk gin with distiller, Scott Gowans from Darnley’s Gin.

Steeped in Scottish history, Darnley’s Gin was borne from inspiration dating back centuries ago. Lord Darnley first met his wife to be, Mary Queen of Scots in 1565. Darnley’s Gin was created at Wemyss Castle, Fife on the east coast of Scotland. The elderflower growing wild around the castle inspired their first gin recipe.

The derelict farm cottage next to their whisky distillery in the village of Kingsbarns is where, following a transformation into Darnley’s Distillery & Gin School, Darnley’s Gin is produced.

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Ginspired Scotland spoke to Scott Gowans to learn more about their award winning Scottish Gin.

What’s your favourite comment from someone tasting your gin for the first time?

“Oh that’s a gin I can drink”. Working on the same site as a whisky distillery, I often meet visitors who tell me they don’t like gin, whisky is their drink of choice. However after tasting our “Smoke and Zest” Gin where I smoke barley over pine wood, the same barley we use to make Kingsbarns whisky, they all of a sudden go “Wow!!… I like that”. The first bottle of this gin sold in our shop was bought by a gentleman who had just finished a whisky tour!

What are you most passionate about professionally?

Creating new gins and coming up with something that hasn’t been done before or having a new take on it.

If you had a robot to do one part of the gin process, which part would it be?

Weighing up the botanicals!

What makes you smile most days?

My daughter.

What does success mean for you?

Being happy in life and work.

Who would you swap lives with for a day?

Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, just so I could play some amazing songs in front of a live audience. (I have no musical talent so hopefully I would adopt his skills!)

What subject was your favourite at school?

Art and Design. Just having the freedom to create whatever you could imagine. Biology came a close second. 

What’s your favourite botanical?

At the moment I’d say Lemon Balm. Mostly due to growing it for Darnley’s Gin School and convincing people to use it. They are often surprised at how much citrus it brings to the table.

How long can you go without checking your phone?

8 hours……. if my daughter lets me sleep that long.

Who’s your drinks industry hero?

Anyone on a packaging line. Filling packaging is a long hard day which often goes unsung. Without these people we wouldn’t get our products to market. You can do the best job brewing, distilling, blending etc but if your packaging line team don’t do their job properly, then it’s not worth it.

What can you not live without?

The means to being creative. Being a gin distiller gives me the perfect outlet.

What would you like to do but are too scared?


What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

When someone told me that a gin I had made was their favourite. It’s the simple things. 

If you had limitless funds, where would you holiday?

South America

Have a look at the Darnley Gin’s website for details on how to buy online and learn about ‘Dorothy’, their gin still.

Whilst at the moment Darnley’s Gin distillery tours and gin school experiences are at a temporary halt, why not build your own holiday itinerary for your future travels and adventures by visiting our interactive gin map, the Gincyclopedia.

We have everything you need to plan the most amazing Ginspired trip around Scotland.

Gincyclopedia – interactive gin map and free holiday itinerary builder

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