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.

News – Strane statement on Twin River’s ‘World’s Strongest Gin’ claim

Recently I shared news that Twin Rivers had brought out a new gin, the world’s strongest gin.

Previously, as far as I was aware, Strane had one of the strongest gins. They have 4 in the range and the uncut edition was pretty renowned at a whopping 75.3%, 76% in the second batch. I did wonder at the time what they made of the announcement and to my surprise, my wondering has been answered, with an email I received this morning from Robert Ransom of Highfern Ltd, UK Importers of Strane gin. He wanted to issue a statement congratulating Twin Rivers on their new gin and I said I’d be happy to put it up in my new ‘News’ section:

“News has reached us over the weekend of the release Twin Rivers Naked Uncut Gin, bottled at 77%. Whilst I am yet to try this new gin, I congratulate Twin Rivers on the launch, and concede that Strane Uncut London Dry Gin 76% is no longer the strongest gin on the UK market.

Strane Uncut London Dry Gin was first bottled back in 2014, and came about as a consequence of the unusual way Strane is produced, not a deliberate attempt to produce the strongest gin. Looking to preserve the intensity of the flavours in gin distillation, Pär Caldenby, distiller/ proprietor of the Smögen Distillery, developed a methodology in which three base gins; citrus, herbal, and juniper are distilled with the same 12 botanicals but in different ratios. The bases are then blended before the addition of water to create Strane Merchant Strength London Dry Gin 47.4% and Strane Navy Strength London Dry Gin 57.1%. As Pär Caldenby blends the base gins straight from the still, he became accustomed to sampling Strane ‘uncut’, and decided to create an ‘Uncut’ addition to the Strane family. For Pär, ‘Uncut’ refers not just to the consequential high strength, but also to the intensity of flavour.

We first imported Strane Uncut London Dry Gin, at that time 75.3%, to the UK in the spring of 2015. Initially we were careful not to claim that it was the strongest gin, but as we received feedback from gin journalists and gin bars, it became clear that the next strongest gin in the UK market at the time was less than 70% vol..

It was always inevitable that at some point Strane Uncut would be knocked off the ‘strongest gin’ podium. We are simultaneously flattered that Strane Uncut has been copied, and surprised that with the current interest in gin, that Strane Uncut was the strongest gin available in the UK for so long, for three years from 2015 to 2018.

Strongest gin or not, Strane Uncut London Dry Gin 76% remains the original Uncut gin, and delivers a wonderfully powerful juniper burst, which we believe gin enthusiasts will continue to enjoy.’

Robert Ransom, UK importer of Strane Gin”

Strane Uncut - wall_preview

Interesting stuff. Everything moves so quickly in the world of gin! I am planning to write on Strane soon. I’d also really love to compare the two gins to see what the differences are in flavour. Fingers crossed that’s an option down the line.

Personally, I’ve always found the gin industry to be a very friendly one. When I work at Gin Festivals and give masterclasses on gin history, I like to dispel the myth that it’s cut throat and competitive, despite being such a saturated market. The way I see it, there are so many variations of flavour, locality and story. Good gin drinkers want several different bottles of gin at home and certainly with myself, there’s a sense of collecting and trying different ones so there’s room for good products. However, its inevitable that sometimes products will clash and it’s good to see such clashes being handled diplomatically. Thanks for taking the time to get in touch Robert.

So whichever gin you drink next, do raise a glass to yourself, all of us gin drinkers and everyone involved in the industry. After all, we’re all in this together.