Scott Gowans talks Gin Distilling
Scott has been part of the team since the opening of our distillery in the East Neuk of Fife. Here he forages, distils and collects Darnley's Gin, ready to be enjoyed by our lovely customers. Scott's main role is producing and developing all the Darnleys gin, although he does help within the whisky distillery and Visitor Centre when required.
How did you become the distiller at Darnley's Gin?
I started my career in the drinks industry by getting a degree in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University. From there I had three options Brewing, distilling and Malting and initially I went for brewing as I loved the quicker and creative side to it. This later saw me running a brewery which also grew in to being a distillery, it was here I really got to grips with gin and enjoyed the creative side of it. From there I solely wanted to be able to focus on creating and producing gins and that led me to here.
What inspired you to pursue that path?
I have always been a creative person be it in art classes or just crafting at home. When I started my degree my dad brought out his old country wine recipe book which really pushed me into foraging and creating interesting wines. This was a really big inspiration for me when moving in to the gin industry and looking at what grows around the distillery. The first gin I created here, 'Very Berry' used the same elder tree to forage for elderberries that my dad and I used to create one of my first wines.
What do you think has sparked the popularity in gin in the last five years?
There is obviously the local factor with more small distilleries crafting new local gins, this can be seen across a lot of food and drink industries. The real factor I believe is the creating of more diverse flavours and the use of local botanicals that really excites the consumer.
Do you think gin will become as collectable as whisky in years to come?
There are certainly some people who collect gin, it was only the other day that I was asked to sign some bottles of our Cottage series, but on the whole I think consumers like collecting whiskies for the rarity. So unless these are very small gin runs or very select cuts of a distillation run, then I can’t see it becoming as collectable as whisky.
Where do you see trends in the gin industry heading in the future?
Over the last few years the gin category has been filled with a lot of very sweet and sugary gins, and has encapsulated a lot of the Alcopop drinkers. From what I've seen is more and more people moving away from this and wanting to drink more London dry gin for example, really embracing Juniper rather than sugar.
What is your all-time favourite release and why?
That’s a difficult one as I like all the gins we’ve released, but at the moment its wild citrus. It really encapsulates the spring/ summer time feel of the east neuk of fife, its also so bold in flavour that I’ve been enjoying it served just over ice, but does make an amazingly refreshing G&T served with a sprig of Mint.
If you were able to share a gin with anybody, living or in history, who would it be?
I would like to say my grandmothers that passed when I was young, but both of them didn’t drink. So my standard answer is Eddie Vedder, being a huge Pearl Jam I have always respected him for not only for his music, but how he has fought and raised awareness for many different social injustices over the years.