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 – 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.