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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.

Most contacted by The Herald insisted they have plans to move production to Scotland and that their botanics – the flavourings that make their beverages distinctive – are locally sourced, or even “foraged”.

Many of new Scottish gins hitting the shops this festive season, The Herald can reveal, are made by contract distillers in London and Birmingham.

And, unlike for Scotch, which has name protection, there is nothing to stop brands draping themselves in the Saltire. They fear drinkers will be left with a taste as bitter as some junipers when they realise they have paid a premium to buy what amounts to a supermarket clear spirit with a symbolic dash of Scottish “botanics”, such as heather or seaweed.

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.

Some industry insiders stress that it will never be easy to define exactly what makes a Scottish gin.

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“The trouble is not all Scottish gin is made in Scotland.

Chrissie Fairclough, the Tastings Director at Gin Club Scotland, wants those behind their brands to be absolutely clear and upfront about which category they fall in to.

She said: “Gin sales are booming and Scottish gin is bang on trend.

Entrepreneurs behind the new English-made brands – often with names suggesting they are manufactured in the Hebrides – all insist that they eventually intend to build distilleries north of the border.

They are, they confess, faking it before they are making it.

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