Name: Euan Harris
Website/Blog: From The Gin Shelf
Summary: 'From the Gin Shelf' is a Scottish-based gin website. It was founded in 2017 as a vehicle to share my passion for gins from Scotland and around the world. Most of what I write are reviews, but I also do the occasional thought-piece too, as well as Q&As with distillers and others from the gin world.
How and why did you get into gin?
I suppose I was like many people, in that Hendrick’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities when it came to gin. When I first started drinking, gin was never on the radar. It was Bombay Sapphire or Gordon’s, neither of which appealed at the time. (I’d like to point out that I’m now a fan of the former!)
I guess part of the problem was how it was served in bars, often with draft tonic or little ice, when I look back. Hendrick’s really did change my opinion on what gin was, and could be. In my mid to late twenties, I then developed quite a severe allergy to beer, so started exploring gin more. I lived in Australia for a year and enjoyed their emerging gin scene with the likes of West Winds Gin. Sadly, I left Melbourne just as Four Pillars launched!
What else do you do as well as gin blogging?
I work in digital marketing, so blogging has always been a way of testing things I couldn’t do so freely in my day job. Before 'From the Gin Shelf', I founded and ran an online music magazine, but it became too much to manage this when my family arrived. Most of my time is now taken up with my lovely wife and children, who are 2 and 4. Once the darlings are tucked up in bed, I can then enjoy a gin!
Who are your website and social media profiles for and why should gin lovers make sure they have a read and follow you?
I had no expectations when I started this two and a half years ago - it was really only for myself. That largely remains the case and if people enjoy reading it, then that’s great! The site is for anyone who loves good gin. I try and review older as well as new gins. The reason being, people often overlook established gins in search for something new. Martin Miller’s Gin, for example, remains as good a gin as you can find and it’s over 20 years old! My social channels are more for engaging with others, including the great blogging community out there. If you want to talk about gin, hit me up! Always happy to do that!
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf and what are some of your favourites at the moment?
Isle of Harris Gin should always be on anyone’s shelf, particularly mine, given my surname! If you want to impress your guests, that’s the bottle to do it! Beefeater Gin is probably one of the most underrated gins there is and I’d always have it on my shelf, as well as Martin Miller's Gin, Rock Rose Gin and Four Pillars Gin.
My favourites change on a regular basis, but Isle of Harris is definitely up there, as well as Mackintosh, Garden Shed, Rock Rose, Edinburgh Seaside and Pothecary Trinity.
If you had to choose a favourite way to serve gin, what would it be?
I’m very much a gin and tonic fan. What I love about gin is being able to taste the different botanicals throughout the journey and the humble G&T is a perfect way to do that for me. More complex cocktails are great, but I like the gin to be the star of the show.
Do you have a favourite gin bar or gin event that you'd recommend to gin lovers?
I’m from Glasgow, so Gin71 and The Spiritualist are two of my favourite bars. For events, I think Em and Paul at The Gin to My Tonic do an incredible job with their shows. I’ve been to the two events in Glasgow this year and last, and what they manage to put together is fantastic. Once the kids are a little bit older Junipalooza is top of the list, ideally back to my old stomping ground of Melbourne, but that might be a bit of a stretch!
What is your top tip for people just starting to discover gin?
Think about the flavours you like and try and find a gin that works for you. Also, look for garnishes you like – are you an orange fan, as opposed to lemon, for example, as that can make a difference to your enjoyment. Tonic can also be the turnoff for new drinkers, as opposed to the gin, so maybe look to go half and half with soda water, or look to flavoured tonics – a Martin Miller’s with Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic water, a strawberry and cracked black pepper is a brilliant place to start!
Do you have any top tips for aspiring gin bloggers?
Go in without any expectations. Do it for yourself – don’t put pressure on the number of posts you write or how much traffic you get; focus on enjoying it first. Engage with the community - there are a lot of great sites and bloggers out there who are happy to talk gin with anyone – Natalie and Martin from The Gin Cooperative, Olivier from Gin Foundry and of course Paul from The Gin Guide! Interact and have fun.
What do you see for the future of the gin market in the next few years?
I don’t think we’ve quite hit ‘peak gin’ just yet. Sales before Covid-19 were still going strong but that’s largely down to the growth in flavoured and ‘pink’ gins. I think we’ll start to see a reduction in new brands (which is a shame), in fact we’re seeing that already. But the market’s still being flooded by new expressions from existing brands – and many of these are the flavoured style already mentioned.
Sadly, I can also see brands starting to fall away, particularly as the big players continue to expand their range. I can’t see how it’s possible to sustain the number of brands in the category when that happens. In Scotland there are pushing 100 distilleries that make their own gin, let alone those who contract distill. The cream will rise to the top and endure.
Head over to From The Gin Shelf to discover Euan's reviews, interviews and more!