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.

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.

News – Another Twin Rivers Distillery Announcement – World’s Strongest Gin

Last week I received an email from Rivers Distillery announcing the launch of Dee Gin. As I mentioned, I normally focus on writing in depth distillery stories with gin reviews, gin history etc, but its occurred to me to add a news section. You heard it here first! Any other gins out there, do feel free to send me any announcements and I can copy them into my news section. Nothing like a bit of tongue wagging.

Anyway, today I’ve received another announcement from Twin Rivers, a claim to have made the world’s strongest gin! Full announcement copied and pasted below:

“A distillery in Royal Deeside has created the world’s strongest gin, with an ABV of 77%.  Twin River Distillery’s new Naked Gin ‘Uncut’ edition has an initial run of 101 bottles and will launch at Gin Festival: North East at Thainstone House, Inverurie this week.

As one of just four Scottish distilleries to produce the base spirit for its gin entirely onsite, the Twin River team is passionate about the provenance of its products and developing an innovative range of spirits and flavours. Its core product line includes Rhubarb Old Tom, a Naked Gin and some seasonal expressions which are available online and in drinks outlets across the north east.

Ryan Rhodes, brand ambassador for Twin River, said: “When our Head Distiller, Liam Pennycook tasted the uncut spirit straight from the still, he decided it was too good not to share.

“By developing Uncut, we really wanted to push the boundaries – but obviously ask people to enjoy it sensibly. You have to appreciate that most gins are 40-50% ABV so care must be taken when drinking this spirit and a small amount definitely goes a long way. To enjoy the punchy flavour profile, it’s best to sip it over ice with a twist of lemon.

“Our first edition Naked Gin has a strong undertone of juniper which many of our customers love; the fact we make it from scratch in our distillery gives it that extra feeling of provenance that a craft gin should have.”

Commenting on the first taste of Uncut, Peter Sim, founder of Aberdeen and Inverurie Gin Club, said: “On the nose there is a creamy nutty scent, almost buttery from their in-house neutral spirit made from barley.  The alcohol has power, but I still get heavy juniper and a sweet spiciness.”

Last year a 76% gin was created from a small Swedish distillery which was thought to be the world’s strongest gin.”

Exciting times! Second email in two weeks, they’re clearly on the case. Anyone else claiming to have the world’s strongest gin?