Rock Rose gin from Britain’s most northern distillery

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Martin and Claire Murray take delivery of Elizabeth, their new still for gin
Martin and Claire Murray take delivery of Elizabeth, their new still for gin

Related tags: Distillation, Scotland

What is being claimed as the most northerly gin distillery on mainland Britain was commissioned last month, following the installation of a new still - christened ‘Elizabeth’ - in the custom-built distillery at Dunnet, Caithness.

The founders of Dunnet Bay Distillers, husband and wife team Martin and Claire Murray, have distilled and tested the first batches of Rock Rose gin and full production is now underway following the launch of the new micro distillery on August 21.


Over the next three years, the company will receive £83,990 in support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which has helped in the development of the distillery’s Rock Rose gin. Claire Murray has been working with experts in Caithness to research local botanicals which can be used to flavour the gin.

Her husband Martin, who works in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen and has an MSc in process engineering, is now studying for a PhD in brewing and distillation at Heriot-Watt University. As part of his studies, he worked on product development projects.

“Each year we will create a new vintage. Our Caithness botanicals are dependent on our climate, resulting in a truly hand-crafted gin that will change year-on-year, but is still undeniably Rock Rose,”​ said Claire Murray.


“Rock Rose gin was named after our first botanical forage along our Caithness cliffs, where local herbalist Brian Lamb introduced us to Rhodiola Rosea, a rose in the rocks. Hundreds of years ago, the Vikings would pillage these wild exposed cliffs to gather this precious plant, which was thought to give them extra strength to continue with their long, arduous journeys.

“Our gin uses this ‘Rock Rose’ and a blend of local and traditional botanicals to create a unique taste of Caithness in the Highlands.”

The eventual aim is to make about 700 bottles of Rock Rose in every batch, producing about 10,000 bottles a year.

Related topics: Drinks

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