Skip to content
Close (esc)

Mailing List

Receive 10% off you first order when you sign up to our mailing list today.

What Are Gin Botanicals? Delving into the Essence of Gin's Flavour

What Are Gin Botanicals? Delving into the Essence of Gin's Flavour

Gin, a spirit celebrated for its complexity and versatility, has captivated the palates of spirit enthusiasts. At its core, Gin uses juniper as the predominant botanical, it is the botanical that distinguishes Gin from Vodka or a simple white spirit. To create a unique flavour profile and differentiate themselves from other gin producers, distilleries will use herbs, spices, fruits, and roots as gin botanicals. In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of gin botanicals, exploring their origins, how they're used, and some of the most common and exotic ones you might encounter.

The Basics of Gin Botanicals

Traditionally, gin is made by distilling grain alcohol with a range of botanicals, with juniper berries being the predominant flavour. The choice of botanicals, and how they're infused, significantly influences the gin's final taste. There are two main methods for infusing botanicals into gin:

Maceration: The botanicals are soaked in the spirit before distillation, allowing their flavours to infuse directly into the alcohol. You can read more on types of gin and their processes in our previous blog, The Many Faces of Botanical Spirit

Vapour Infusion: The botanicals are placed in a basket above the boiling base spirit. As the alcohol vapours rise, they capture the essence of the botanicals.

Each distillery has its own closely guarded recipe and method, creating a vast diversity of gin flavours.

The Essential Botanical: Juniper

Juniper berries are the heart of gin, giving it its distinctive piney and slightly fruity flavour. By definition, for a spirit to be classified as gin, it must have a predominant juniper flavour. Juniper berries are not actually berries but female seed cones from juniper bushes, primarily found in Europe. 

There is an abundance of juniper grown in Scotland, however it is currently being monitored by the Forestry Commission due to ‘only a third of remaining sites having strong and secure juniper populations.’ Actions to improve the regeneration are underway but foraging would be detrimental, due to the sheer quantity needed within gin productions. 

Other Common Gin Botanicals

Beyond juniper, several other botanicals are commonly used to create the complex flavour profiles we associate with different gins:

Coriander seeds add a lemony, spicy note.

Angelica root provides an earthy, woody base.

Orris root acts as a fixative, helping to bind the flavours of other botanicals together.

Citrus peels (commonly lemon and orange) contribute bright, fresh notes.

Cardamom pods offer a spicy, aromatic warmth.

Exotic and Unique Botanicals

In addition to the classics, some distillers experiment with local botanicals to craft unique gins. 

Here are a few interesting examples:


Scots Pine - locally foraged and used in our very own Scots Pine Gin!

Sea Buckthorn


The Art of Tasting Gin

Appreciating gin is akin to appreciating fine wine. To truly appreciate the nuances brought by different botanicals, it’s recommended to taste gin neat with a swirl in a large bowl glass. This helps to release the nuances of the botanicals, similar to the experience in wine tastings. 

There is a whole art to becoming well versed in tasting gin. Ideally, a well made gin will be three-dimensional . What does this mean? Well, it means there should be a front, middle and an end palette. Essentially, taking you on a flavour journey through taste as the botanicals reveal themselves to you one by one. So for example, our Scots Pine Gin starts citrusy, followed by spice and finishing off with the more floral notes of juniper and the pine itself. 

Try with a plain tonic as well, this not only gives you an idea of how your next G&T might taste - but normally opens up the botanicals that are most prominent. Citrus tends to be the first to iht people or if it is a spice-led gin, cinnamon or cardamom might pop out!

Gin botanicals are the soul of gin, transforming a simple spirit into a complex and delightful symphony of flavours. Whether you're a fan of classic styles or adventurous in your tastes, there's a gin out there for you, rich in history and crafted with botanicals that span the globe. The next time you enjoy a gin, take a moment to consider the botanicals that make it unique — it’s a journey of flavour worth exploring.

Older Post
Newer Post
Back to top

Added to cart