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In an age where authenticity and provenance are held in such high esteem by an increasingly discerning consumer base, ambiguous claims about origin are starting to be examined more closely.“Gin fans deserve to know that when they buy a gin with a Scottish place name on the label, for instance, that the gin is at least distilled and bottled in Scotland.

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All the big names are from north of the Border: Hendrick’s; The Botanist; Edinburgh Gin; and - more recently - Harris Gin.

“In fact, Scotland can now boast making 70% of gin consumed in the UK.

The newsagents next door which sells hazelnut toffees and her Daily Record. She makes endless pots of vegetable soup, a bit bit of hoch floating inside like a fish. She still walks faster, rushing me down the High Street till we get to her cleaning house. Finally bored I start to pick some notes, oh can you wash a sailor’s shirt oh can you wash and clean till my gran comes running, duster in hand. The woman comes too; the posh one all smiles that make goosepimples run up my arms.

From her window you see noisy kids playing hopscotch or home. 3 By the time I am seven we are almost the same height. I sit in a room with a grand piano, top open – a one-winged creature, whilst my gran polishes for hours. Lovely, she says, beautiful child, skin the colour of café au lait.

What’s the point in buying her anything my mother moans. At night I climb over all the newspaper parcels to get to bed, harder than the school’s obstacle course. But she still doesn’t settle down; even at 70 she cleans people’s houses for ten bob and goes to church on Sundays, dragging me along to the strange place where the air is trapped and ghosts sit at the altar.

Her bedroom is my favourite: newspapers dating back to the War covering every present she’s ever got since the War. I spend hours unwrapping and wrapping endless tablecloths, napkins, perfume, bath salts, stories of things I can’t understand, words like conscientious objector. What does she want with anything modern, a shiny new pin? Chewing for ages over the front page, her toffees sticking to her false teeth. Till finally she gets to like the hot running water in her own bathroom, the wall-to-wall foam-backed carpet, the parcels locked in her air-raid shelter.

There are businesses re-distilling imported grain neutral spirit or GNS.

And there are those which simply come up with an idea for a brand or a recipe and have that made at an industrial plant, usually in England.

“This kind of thing would never be allowed within the whisky industry as the laws governing the production of scotch whisky are strict, in order to protect its stellar reputation.

“There are Scottish gin brands appearing overnight, without having to raise capital, build a distillery and start production.

The contract made gins can save this money and put it into advertising and marketing not to mention taking away jobs from the local community where the gin purports to be from.” Brands manufactured entirely or largely in England or abroad include Tyree Gin, Barra Atlantic Gin, Gordon Castle Gin, Glasgow Gin, Leith Gin, Dundee Gin, Mull’s Whitetail Gin, and Shetland’s Blackwoods Gin.


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