Win! Tickets to the Taste of London Show, in association with Puerto de Indias!

Have I got a treat for you!

I’ve teamed up with to offer 2 lucky winners tickets to the Taste of London Show!

Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin is giving you the chance to win 2 tickets to Taste of London next week! Join Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin in Regents Park for the ultimate foodie paradise, with culinary masterclasses from world-class chefs, cocktail demonstrations and live entertainment!”

There is SO MUCH going on at this show. Rather than me list at all here, click here to be directed to the Taste of London website.

Each winner will win 2 tickets so they can go and take a friend. Tickets are for the evening session, 5.30pm – 9.30pm, Friday 21st June.

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“With spring in the air – finally! – there is no better time to treat yourself to a delicious G&T. Puerto de Indias, the distiller of Puerto de Indias premium gins, has officially launched its hugely popular Strawberry Gin to the UK this month, and its set to tickle customers pink.

With pink gin quickly becoming a favourite in recent months and a firm staple on drinks
shelves across the country, gin lovers will be delighted with the news. Gin has exploded in popularity over the last few years, and it doesn’t look set to stop any time soon.
Amazingly, the first batch of the gin was made by accident after brothers Jose Antonio and Francisco Rodriguez Fernandez were trying to create a strawberry liqueur which resulted in this fashionably fruit-forward Spanish gin.

Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin is crafted in traditional copper stills in Seville’s oldest
distillery. The worldwide bestseller is made with delicious strawberries grown locally in Seville, with 100% natural ingredients and boasts a deliciously sweet, smooth taste with hints of citrus and aniseed as well as the iconic strawberry flavour. On the nose, the gin explodes with strawberry flavour and a touch of juniper and aniseed, making it the perfect pairing for a premium tonic water.

With a crowd of loyal customers in native Spain amassing sales of six million bottles in 2018 alone, it is the fourth bestselling gin in Spain and ranks on the list of top ten gins worldwide.

The gin takes on the stunning pink colour of the strawberries, giving it a vibrant look, which guarantees to grab attention. The perfect serve for Puerto de Indias Strawberry Gin is over ice, garnished with fresh strawberry slices and a wedge of lime, topped up with premium tonic water.”

So how do you go about winning this glorious prize?

I’ve shared this post via a tweet. Find the tweet (it’s probably what’s led you here, if not you’ll find it pinned to the top of my Twitter profile), comment on it with who you would take and share.

T&Cs: The competition opens 9pm Friday 14th June 19 and closes 9pm Sunday 16th June 19. The 2 winners will be announced Monday, each winning 2 tickets, when I will also contact you for your address to send them. Do keep an eye on your social media as we want to get them out first class asap Monday to ensure they arrive in time for Friday 21st June. One entry per person. Over 18s only.

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Happy Giniversary to me! – Four years since my first post!

Four years ago today, I posted my first post on this blog, and what a wonderful four years it has been!

Although it feels peculiar, and maybe a little self indulgent, to write about me rather than someone else, it feels right to take a moment of reflection and to size up my progress. Reading my first ever post, a brief introduction to the blog and how I was at that point just falling into love with gin, is actually quite emotional. Initially I spoke to distillers that came into the bar I worked in. One of the first pieces I wrote on a distiller and their gin was Paul Bower of Twisted Nose. Although I was lucky to have the access to distillers that I did through my job, I was keen to get further afield to visit some distilleries. In those early days I would contact distillers through Twitter and ask if I could visit. Sometimes I would hear back, sometimes I wouldn’t. Of those that let me arrange a visit, some would treat me like royalty, others would give me ten minutes and seemed suspicious that I was only in it for the booze, quite certain that they were never going to hear from me again. And no, I won’t divulge who.

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A rather happy girl. This is when I received the semi finalist for remote tasting in the World Gin Awards 18. 

Now, I absolutely understood that it would be this way until I built a reputation and I tried very hard to build a good one. I am a conscientious writer. Despite my cheeky nature, I try to be fair and respectful in what I say, both in my posts and my social media. I like to encourage and motivate others to do well in their gins and their blogs too. It was important to me to be reliable and early on, writing those first few reviews, I actually sent them off to the distiller to look over, as I was concerned that perhaps I had made a mistake with a detail and was terrified of putting up something that was ‘incorrect’. I know, I know. I lacked confidence back then. That all changed when I met Alfie Amayo, who at the time, was working as a Brand Ambassador of COLD. I had an amazing night in the distillery talking shop with him. At the end I asked if I could send him my article to check. He looked at me, saying nothing for a short while. Eventually he said “No. I don’t want you to send it to me. It’s your work, it’s your thoughts. You shouldn’t ever send it to anyone. You put it up for you.” That really resonated with me. In the early days you feel that you were doing it for others, but really, you’re doing it for you. That moment changed everything for me. That’s when I really started to feel like Under the Ginfluence was mine.

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Alfie Amayo of COLD and myself after a long night of talking shop, as you can tell from my eyes!

Blogging is very much a labour of love. You do it because you love it. Not because you’re trying to make anything from it. I think that if you did, you would lose patience. It took time toiling over posts to get a like, perhaps a share. There were points when I would feel disheartened. But, I somehow found myself seeking out the next gin to write about. I had a compelling curiosity to find out the information for me. And, I just love to write so sharing came naturally. I found I revelled in storytelling, in sharing my rather infectious enthusiasm with others.

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Gin of the Year at Bombay Sapphire Distillery. Left is Ginadingding, myself, Whatskatiedoing and Steph from Boutigue-y Gin

The first brand to contact me to write on their gin was Batch, and in June 2015 they sent me a bottle of their Premium Gin. I still remember how excited I was, how my hands clumsily unwrapped the package and cradled the bottle as if some sort of trophy. I had the most fabulous day trying it with different mixers to see which worked best. I was so proud of the fact that I’d been contacted, rather than contacting other people. It was a sign that things were starting to grow.

And grow they did. Especially when I met David T Smith, Gin Expert and Historian, on the deck of HMS Victory, for the opening ceremony of HMS Victory Cask Aged Gin. I was fascinated with his knowledge and we met up to talk about gin. I was hoping to write a feature on him for my blog, but as it happens we never got to that. He was more interested in what projects I could help him with. He has been intrinsic to a lot of opportunity for me, especially the judging. I owe you a big thank you, David.

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On HMS Victory for the opening ceremony for the first cask on HMS Victory Cask Aged Gin. Some of the staves were wood from the Victory herself. A very special gin.

The judging has been an incredible development. David picked up on my ability to taste and asked me to help out at Gin of the Year, held at Bombay Sapphire Distillery. Visiting the distillery alone was a joy and I felt really privileged to be a judge. I found I really enjoyed getting stuck into the differences in flavour, and how the gin worked. I loved sussing out the quality and seeing how the gin alludes to what it claims to be. It really was the start of something special. I still do Gin of the Year, and now also the World Gin Awards, have recently judged at the American Distilling Institutes Judging of Craft Spirits in San Francisco (there are nine posts on my blog, one for each day of the trip and you can find the first one here). And, in July I’ll be at the IWSC for all four days of the gin judging, which is a big box tick for me. Judging has become a key part of what I do. It has allowed me to taste such a huge variety of gin and really pay attention to each one. It’s also been fantastic for networking. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, the gin industry is incredibly friendly. I now have a little gin family spread far and wide and bumping into any of them at an event is a delight.

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Judging for the American Distilling Institute in San Francisco. Definitely one of the best adventures that I’ve had.

Networking opportunities also grew during my time working for GinFestival.com. Almost every week I’d be in a different city, with different brands on stalls. I made the most of that to talk to them all, try all the gin and look to arrange write ups. One of my favourites from this period was Cotswolds Distillery. Written in June 2017, the article hardly seems relevant now, but I still love it. Since that was posted they’ve released their whisky to great acclaim and have finished building their visitor centre. I’ve got a lot of love for their distillery and they know it. As well as Networking, GinFestival.com taught me the valuable skill of the masterclass. A few years ago I was scared to get on stage and read my poetry. At GFs height, I was holding masterclasses for almost 200 people a time.

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Masterclass at Gin Festival Portsmouth. Photo courtesy of Tom Marshall photography. http://www.hobotomphotography.com

I should add as well, that GF brought me my Gin Festival family who were the most amazing set of people to work with. We worked hard and played hard. The year I had touring around with them will always have a massive place in my heart. I love you team.

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Pack down of a GinFestival was often followed by a great after party, normally held in the lobby of a hotel.

Blogging is a beast. Always there begging for attention and for nurturing. My life has become more and more about gin. Anything I was doing, could it go on the blog? Sitting down to a meal with a gin, I’m asking if should I take a photo to upload? Will it help my social media? I find it hard to leave things alone, even to my detriment and it all became a little obsessive. In the years since I started blogging, my life has become much more busy. I’ve studied and completed a BA in English and Creative Writing, I’m now half way through an MA in CW, and I’m now a self employed writer, as well as working at the University. So, I’ve had to lay a few rules to myself as otherwise it could all get a little too much. Sometimes the social media goes quiet for a few days. It’s ok, I’m just doing other life things. I used to stress myself out trying to turnaround a review in a matter of days. Now if someone contacts me, I give them an idea of lead time and give myself plenty of time to do it. I’ve learnt to relax in what I’m doing. It’s my ship. I’m in control. I’ll tell people how I work, rather than try and work like them. Taking these steps have been hugely beneficial to my mental well being and my productivity.

So, if you made it to the end of this, thank you! Here we are. I had other work to do today. Yet, I’ve just spent the last four hours sat here, writing this. It is a compulsion. I am compelled to write. I do it because I love it. I do it because I love gin.

Bringing it Home – The Gin Sessions, Hayling Island, Saturday 1st June 2019

I’m very pleased to say I’ll be dusting off my masterclass hat to make a special appearance at a great event lined up for Hayling Island on Saturday 1st June.

Now you may have read my previous post on The Gin Sessions, if not then I recommend you get the background on The Gin Sessions and it’s importance to me here. Unfortunately I was unable to attend last year as I was at a family event. But now, my time has come and I’m thoroughly looking forward to teaching a little gin history.

As well as the gin bars, Brockmans will have a stand for you to indulge in their trademark decadent spirit. And, there will also be an appearance from the recently launched Portsmouth Distillery and their gin. Based in Fort Cumberland, Eastney, this is a great opportunity to meet them and get to know their spirit, Fort gin, and what else they are up to.

I had a quick catch up with Gin Sessions herself, Naomi Good:

I’m really looking forward to returning to Hayling Island, and sharing my love of gin. We will have all the usual antics, live music, street food, over sixty gins, a cocktail bar, masterclasses, and industry experts.

For those of you who don’t know, Hayling Island is a gorgeous little retreat on the South Coast. The picturesque backdrop for parts of both Naomi and my childhoods, it has a special sentimental value to me and I’m going to take great pleasure in bring some of my knowledge to the party. It’ll be a great day, for sure.

You can get tickets for the event through Eventbrite. Hope to see you there!

News – Hussingtree Gin – Asparagus Edition

Pleased to receive an email from Hussingtree Gin today with some news on a new release. Always happy to share new releases so do feel free to email me with news! Not sure how I feel about Asparagus gin, although I’m very curious as to how it could be used in cocktails:

We’re really excited to announce that the new addition to our range is Asparagus Dry Gin. A truly unique premium dry gin using Worcestershire asparagus as a main botanical.

Numerous distillers in the past have attempted to incorporate asparagus into their gins, but with varied success. We have spent over six months experimenting with distilling processes and botanical blends, to understand the best way to unlock the vegetable’s flavour. And we’re thrilled with the result.
Distilled using the one shot method in a traditional alembic copper still, the result is an incredibly smooth, distinctive dry gin.
Through distillation the asparagus delivers an earthy, nutty-sweetness on the palate. Our blend of botanicals, enhanced by local brine salt that’s added during the distillation process, complements its characteristics wonderfully.

Garnish your Hussingtree Asparagus G&T with a couple of fresh mint leaves. Perfect for springtime.

We’ll be launching our Asparagus Dry Gin to coincide with the British Asparagus Festival, which kicks off on 23rd April at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton. We’ll then be at a number of events during the subsequent weeks, including The Worcester Gin Festival and The Three Counties Spring Show. Visit the events page on our website by clicking here to find out more. A few new dates will be added shortly.

Bottles of our Asparagus Gin will be on the shelves at a select number of bars, hotels, venues and retailers. And of course, you can purchase a bottle (available as both 350ml and 700ml) from our website when it’s available later in the month. We’ll drop you an email to let you know when it’s online for purchase.

You may also notice in the pic above that our labels have evolved. 

These are being launched at the same time as our Asparagus Gin. The new labels provide greater stand out on shelf and improved differentiation between the variants in our growing gin range.

Enjoy your next tipple!
The Hussingtree Team

Happy New Year! – What’s on in January? A lot, that’s what

Good Morning!

This is an usual post from me, more of an update than a feature. I’ve been getting involved in more and more projects, which I love. However, I have found it gives me a little less time to write large posts. So, one of my new years resolutions is to make a concerted effort to post little and often to keep you all up to date with my shenanigans. I’ll still be writing the larger pieces though, they’re my favourite.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! It’s been fantastic to have a few days off with loved ones, and a bit of a rest too. I also hope you enjoyed opening your Drinks by the Dram and Boutique-y Calendars as much as I did! They’ve really upped their game from last year. I’m consistently wowed by new gins. They keep coming, and with such good quality! The possibilities for creation really are endless.

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The next couple of weeks are going to prove rather busy at Ginfluence central. I’m finishing an article for Gin Magazine, judging at the World Gin Award finals and then wrapping up the first assessment of my MA. Needless to say, I’m feeling the pressure somewhat, but it is so very good to be busy.

On the 18th however, I’m going on an adventure.

I’ll be flying out to San Francisco to judge the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of Craft Spirits! It’s a great event and I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the fantastic industry people out there (and taking lots of notes for sure!) I’ll also be spending a couple of days either side of the judging to take a look around San Francisco, to learn a bit of it’s literary history and get myself into some gin bars. Top of the list is Whitechapel, although I’ll certainly be heading for others too.

I’ll be there until the 27th, posting updates as I go, rather than writing a large piece when I get back. Please do get involved with suggestions! It’s my first time in San Francisco and although it’s only a short stay, I’d like to squeeze in as much as possible!

#ginfluenceinsanfrancisco

Happy January, you lovely lot!

 

Gin of the Year 2018 – The results are in!!

A few months ago I attended the wonderful Bombay Sapphire Distillery to judge for the Gin of the Year Award 18.

The results are in! I’ve just received the press release and I’m delighted to share it with your good selves.

“The Craft Distilling Expo are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Gin of the Year Competition. Entries came from around the world and were all launched in the past year or, if older, had never been judged at the competition before.

The judging panel consisted of distillers, professional gin judges, drinks writers, and gin connoisseurs.

The event was kindly hosted at Laverstoke Mill, home of Bombay Sapphire and special thanks go to Sam Carter and Dr Anne Brock, as well as the judges and the custodian of the competition’s score system, Sara Smith.

All gins were tasted blind and scored from 0-100. The Three top-scoring Classic, Contemporary, and Signature Botanical gins were then judged in a second round with tonic water to determine the winner of each category.”

So, let’s see who won!!!

Best Classic Gin 2018
Dartmouth English Gin, Dartmouth Distillery Company

Classic Gin – Highly Commended
Henstone Gin, Henstone Distillery
Domestique Gin, Puddingstone Distillery

Best Contemporary Gin 2018
Gin EVA Mallorca, Winterling Maier CB

Contemporary Gin – Highly Commended
Bathtub Gin Explorer’s Edition, Ableforth’s
Gata Gin, Colonel’s Microbrewery & Distillery
Procera Gin, Procera Distillery

Best Flavoured Gin 2018
Makar Cherry Gin, Glasgow Distillery Co.

Flavoured Gin – Highly Commended
Double-Sloe Gin, Whittaker’s Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

Best Signature Botanical Gin 2018
Finger Lime Gin, That Boutique-y Gin Company

Signature Botanical Gin – Highly Commended
Pink Grapefruit Gin, Haven Gin
Mojito Gin, Conker Spirit (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

Best Aged Gin 2018
Greensand Ridge Rye Cask Gin, Greensand Ridge Distillery

Aged Gin – Highly Commended
Aged Perry’s Tot, New York Distilling (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

“The Craft Distilling Expo brings together the world’s pre-eminent distillers, still makers, packagers, marketers, professionals, and connoisseurs – all participants in this newly expanding industry – in an Expo and Conference offering talks, workshops and displays, and including the annual Gin of the Year competition. This year’s Expo was held on Wednesday 26th – Thursday 27th September at the Boiler House, Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.”

For more information, please visit http://www.distillingexpo.com.

 

News – Darnleys Gin Cottage Series Goes Very Berry

This just arrived in my emails. Some might say it’s hot off the press:

31st July 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Darnley’s Gin Cottage Series Goes Very Berry

Darnley's Very Berry Pack Shot

Darnley’s Gin launches ” Very Berry” as the inaugural release in its range of limited editions under the banner, Cottage Series. This is the first recipe to be developed by Scott Gowans in his role as Distiller and the first product to be released from the brand’s new Scottish distillery, adding to the existing three core expressions. Inspiration for the recipe was taken from the countryside in which the Darnley’s Gin cottage sits.

Distiller Scott Gowans in front of cottage PRESS

Distiller Scott commented: “Inspiration for Very Berry came from the countryside of the East Neuk of Fife, home to Darnley’s Distillery. I selected the signature botanicals of sloe berry, rosehip and elderberry which all grow wild around the distillery cottage and sugar kelp which is farmed off the nearby coastline. The overall taste is floral and fruity, giving a different taste profile to the others in the Darnley’s range.”

TASTING NOTE

Nose: Sugar Kelp gives both sweet and salty notes with rosehip adding a fragrance of raspberry and hibiscus.

Palate: Tart and bitter up front with rich fruit from elderberry and sloes.

Finish: Finishing with a sweet and aromatic character over the palate balanced with a coastal mineral flavour reminiscent of the sea breeze at the beach near our distillery.

Developed by Scott on a mini still in the Darnley’s Gin Cottage, the recipe was then scaled up for full distillation using a combination of traditional distillation and vapour infusion. This is the first time Darnley’s Gin has used this in production. 

The four signature botanicals (rosehip, elderberry, sloe berry and sugar kelp) are loaded into a muslin bag and placed into the vapour basket above the pot still holding the neutral grain spirit, juniper, angelica and coriander. This creates the delicate, floral flavours to be embedded in the spirit.

Very Berry perfect serve

SERVING SUGGESTION:  Enjoy 3 ways

•Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and a red berry garnish

•Tonic and grapefruit garnish

•Good quality grapefruit soda, like Bon Accord Salted Pink Grapefruit Soda.

Just 2100 bottles of Darnley’s Gin Very Berry was produced and is available in a 50cl bottle at 41.5%abv. Very Berry is available in the UK only and is retailing at Darnley’s Gin Distillery, their on line shop and available exclusively through Inverarity Morton for wider distribution.  It has an SRP of £27.95.

-ENDS –

This sounds pretty lovely. I’m loving the idea of those flavours. Fresh, salty, sweet, tart and breezy. They were some extra information included about Darnleys that I’d like to share, a little bit of the history side of things:

Darnley’s Gin was launched in 2010 as ‘Darnley’s View Gin’ by one of Scotland’s longest established and experienced wine and spirits makers, the Wemyss Family (pronounced ‘weems’). Their family seat at Wemyss Castle in the Kingdom of Fife was established in the 14th Century and it is here, in 1565, that Mary Queen of Scots first met her future husband, Lord Darnley – an occasion that inspired the ‘Darnley’s Gin’ name many centuries later.

So there you have it. Keep those news stories coming.

 

News – Fever Tree shares up by 15%

I’ve just read an interesting article in the Guardian that said Fever Trees shares had jumped up by 15%.

I think a lot of us are pleased about this.

Please excuse the rather old feature photo. I read the article and felt compelled to write something. I used this photo when I wrote a little article about Fever Tree 3 years ago when I was able to ask Luke Benson some questions about what they do there. I was working in a gin bar at the time which is how I got the opportunity to talk to him. This was were I first discovered Fever Tree and I’ve never looked back since. There was a lot of passion on them and that really caught my attention. They thought outside the box, with products like the Mediterranean tonic, boasting some incredible savoury flavours and less quinine than most tonics, making a good recommendation for those who are a little sensitive to it.

However, it’s a changing market. Essentially, Fever Tree created the artisan tonic. And, people love a good idea. Nowadays we are spoilt for choice with amazing brands offering everything from the most well balanced tonic you can get (the quinine level is juuuuuusst right), to amazing flavours that have added a whole new level to the scope of flavour you can achieve with a little experimentation and golly, isn’t that one of the fundamental facets of the gin boom.

From your Delightful Double Dutch to your straight up Distillers Tonic, there is everything to play for in this game. And I used to say that perhaps Fever Tree had hit their point. They’d done what they came to do. They changed our idea of what tonic water could actually be. They upped the game and in turn they changed gin and tonic forever. There have been changes. Co-founders Charles Rolls and Tim Warrilow, selling out a stake but still retaining 14%, just enough to still keep their finger in the pie. Where to go from here? Would the quirky new flavours outrun them? How could they adapt?

Well it seems that their reputation has a particular robustness that is almost impenetrable to attack. I speak from experience when I discuss the loyalty of Fever Tree fans. Whilst working as a Brand Ambassador for a gin at Gin Festival Ltd’s events, I witnessed first hand the transition in event sponsorship from Fever Tree to Schweppes and although it could have been worse (no riots as such), it wasn’t a smooth one. Every other question was “What do you think about this?”, “How has this happened?” and simple statements like “This is a mistake”.

I’m going to bold here and I’m going to share my opinion on what was, at the time, a very sensitive topic. When it comes to me, personally, my loyalty lies with Fever Tree. They changed the game. Schweppes have finally realised they had to do something and they had the money to throw at developing a whole new range of premium tonics. The range is good. I love some of the flavours. But the heart was just lacking a little bit, for me. But that’s just my opinion and we’ve all got one of those.

Long live Fever Tree. This resilience to an ever changing market full of innovation and new ideas allows Fever Tree to sit, solid as a rock, with various tonic waters lapping at their sides. Don’t me wrong, they’re not invincible, but all things considered, being “comfortably ahead of forecasts” is a pretty good place to be indeed. I love some of the new tonics coming out, there are some amazing things out there and we really are at a ‘next level’ stage. But, I just love the idea of a beach, and the one, slightly larger stone, slowly eroding over time, with the tonic waters and smaller stones it has created, swirling gently around that steadfast base.

 

 

News – Worlds Strongest Gin – Strane reclaim their title – #2 Official Press Release

Following my yesterday’s article on Strane’s new gin, I received a response from Robert Ransom of Highfern Ltd, with the full press release and further comments:

July 2018

Sweden’s Smögen distillery has released Strane Ultra Uncut Gin 82.5% in a deliberate attempt to regain the record for the world’s strongest commercially available gin. 

Strane London Dry Gin Ultra Uncut 82.5% is a limited edition variant of Strane London Dry Gin. Whilst the high strength of Strane Uncut 76%, which previously held the record for three years, came about as a consequence of the unusual way Strane Gin is produced, Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5% is a deliberate attempt to push the boundaries of gin distilling to the extreme, as far as intensity of flavour and strength goes, using a traditional copper pot still. 

Back in 2014, looking to preserve the intensity of the flavours in gin distillation, Pär Caldenby, distiller/ proprietor of the Smögen Distillery, developed a methodology where three base gins are distilled and then blended to create complexity and balance, before the addition of water. As Pär Caldenby blends the base gins straight from the still, before the addition of water, he became accustomed to sampling Strane ‘uncut’, and decided to create the ‘Uncut’ addition to the Strane Gin family, along with Strane Merchant Strength 47.4% and Strane Navy Strength 57.1%. For Pär Caldenby, ‘Uncut’ refers not just to the consequential high strength, but more importantly to the intensity of flavour when undiluted. In so doing Pär Caldenby invented a new category of gin, and created what was the strongest gin available in the UK for three years. 

Strane Ultra Uncut with glass copy LR

With Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5%, Pär Caldenby has deliberately tweaked the production process to take the intensity and strength to a new level. This was done with a much stronger charge of the still than usual and also by doubling the amount of botanicals, for massive flavour.  Given the high strength Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5% is only to be enjoyed in the smallest of measures, hence it will only be available in 200ml bottles. Exercising due care, it can be savoured neat and ideally well chilled, in very small sips (with a glass of water on the side), which delivers an intensive juniper-led flavour impact, with great complexity from the other botanicals, including coriander seeds, almonds, liquorice root, lime and fresh herbs. In Pär Caldenby’s words, ‘This leaves the palate clean as a whistle’. For a longer serve Pär Caldenby suggests one part of Ultra Uncut to two parts of tonic water from Fentiman’s, on plenty of large ice cubes. Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5% also makes an interesting base for creating your own fruit liqueurs and infusions.

As far as we are aware, prior to Ultra Uncut the record for the world’s strongest gin was held jointly by two gins at 80%, one Danish and another from South Africa. Thus we believe Strane Ultra Uncut at 82.5% reclaims the record of world’s strongest commercially available gin for Strane, whilst also offering flavour intensity of the very highest order. Robert Ransom, from UK importer Highfern Ltd said, ‘So far Pär has distilled every drop of Strane Gin and Smögen Whisky personally. He did not intend to start a ‘strength race’, but as a pioneering distiller, having been challenged, could not resist responding’.  Summing up Pär Caldenby said ‘Its flattering that others have copied our Strane Uncut as regards strength in abv. I have enjoyed the challenge of taking this to the next level in all respects. However, strongest gin or not, I believe gin enthusiasts will enjoy and cherish the incredible intensity of flavour that our Strane Ultra Uncut delivers’.  

So there we are.

I’m with Pär here. I don’t think I’d have been able to resist responding either. I also agree that it’s important to note that although the strength of a drink certainly tickles a little excitement in us, it’s the taste that really hooks us. I’d love to give it a go. The idea of lime and herbs sounds really interesting. Apparently the first chance to try it will be at a Strane Masterclass hosted by Robert himself at the Nickolls and Perks Just Gin Show, in Stourbridge, on the 28th of July. Get yourself there if you’re nearby. It sounds like a great event and a rare opportunity to try a true showstopper. It will be available shortly through Master of Malt, for the appropriate price of £33 for a 200ml bottle.

Robert also kindly clarified the other uncut gins mentioned in the initial article I read on Master of Malt. The Danish gin is Skan der Bronx 80%, which was apparently a deliberate attempt to be stronger than Strane Uncut. Taking a look at their website is intriguing as although they’re honest about their intentions to “beat the Swede” in a rather tongue in cheek manner, they don’t actually clarify much on the way it’s made, i.e. is it a London Dry, or name the distillery that makes it either. There is also Pienaar and Son’s Drought Gin 80% from South Africa, released at uncut strength to save water. Pienaar are a great little distillery, included in Cape Town Gin Route, as covered by my first guest writer Yolisa Qunta a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks for getting in touch, Robert. Great information to add to a really interesting story. I hope things go well at the Just Gin Show.

 

 

 

News – Worlds Strongest Gin – Strane reclaim their title

You may remember a little while ago I shared some news that Twin Rivers had released a new gin. At 77%, it had just pipped Strane’s uncut to the title of ‘World’s strongest gin’. I wrote an article on it, which you can find here. It I noted the previous standing 76% gin and Robert Ranson of Highfern Ltd, the UK importers of Strane, were kind enough to get in contact with a response.

I was very impressed with his response to the news. It was fair, congratulation Twin Rivers on their new title, whilst simultaneously reinforcing the Strane Brand in a rather polite manner. If you’d like to read more on that, the article can be found here.

Strane Gin LR
The Strane Family photo needs an update

That was back in February. And it seems that these events have sparked a little something. Yesterday Strane announced the launch of a new gin. A stronger gin. The strongest gin.

Strane Ultra Uncut is bottled at 82.5%, firmly toppling Twin Rivers and regaining their title. So far I’ve only found the news through Master of Malt’s nightcap. I hope they don’t mind me quoting from the article, but a spokesman has said that the release is, “a deliberate attempt to push the boundaries of gin distilling to the extreme, as far as intensity of flavour and strength goes…” I wanted to use this quote as these words sound rather absolute. It leaves me wondering if anyone is going to dare to top it. As a friend of mine online said, “How strong is too strong?”.

It also has me wondering if ‘uncut’ gin could or will become an official gin category. Are there are any uncut categories at gin awards and if not when could we see one. I’ve got some experience in judging (it’s one of my favourite activities) and the Navy Strength category is more varied that you’d think. Gin at a higher ABV can change the order in which flavours hit the palette and there is lots of flavour in there, that come through despite the strength. Distillers taste uncut gin to determine when to take the cut so there is still a discernible difference in strong gins.

The title of Worlds Strongest Gin seems to be a slightly confusing affair. Previous to this article, I was under the impression that Twin Rivers was the only distillery to have produced a stronger gin (officially. There are no doubt various unmarked bottles around the world). However, on Master of Malt there is mention of distillery’s in Denmark and South Africa. I’d love to find out what these gins are, if you can help then please get in touch.

I have emailed Robert to see what his thoughts are. But being a Sunday I’m not expecting a response immediately. I thought it best to get this news out there. If I hear from him then I’ll certainly let you know.

Congratulations Strane. You may return to your throne.