Like everything this week Stuart and I are behind, all because of that wedding thing at the weekend. And many of you will be surprised that it was me (Graeme) marrying a woman and not Stuart like most people thought. Because of this little event the Gin posts for this month’s Gin Club will have to be lumped into one. But they will by no means be lacking in fabulous writing (just in grammar and spelling and punctuation – see what I done there)…
First up (and this is in no list of anything we have):
Strane (London Dry)
Strane is made by and at Smögen Whisky, a small craft distillery on the Swedish west coast, Hunnebostrand. The distiller has mainly been producing Whiskey since 2010; however they launched Strane in spring 2014. The Gin is made in a 100 litre pot still, (which by the way is small), hence the small bottles and why we are so happy to get them along. Strane claim that even though (and you can taste this) the still is small they; “take all the more care of each centilitre of what we do make, using plenty of high quality botanicals for every charge of the still”
Strane use a blending process to the distillation which allows them to create all three of their products, I am keen to learn more of the process involved in this “blending” as I wish to know which set distilutes are blended, and I see it like a basic curry sauce which a chef then uses to create the unique ones.
When I think about Strane I think about it getting made (like many Gins we feature) with a lot of TLC and experimentation. I imagine that as it’s not an industrial process that not one batch tastes the exact same as another, which we love. Stuarts buying criteria for a new Gin is often “does the label look like it has been stuck on by hand”?
All the Strane gins use the same botanicals: juniper berries, coriander seeds, lemon rind and flesh, lime rind, almonds, basil, garden mint, sage, cinnamon bark, liquorice root and then two others which they won’t tell us about. One of local to the area and one is unknown but connects to the armed merchant shipping trade.
At Gin Club we are featuring the Strane Merchant Strength 47.4 %. This is a very interesting “little Gin”, it’s not little, it’s huge just made in small quantities so the mix is bang on. I have said this many times but it is a Gin that is made with TLC and it’s rather smooth so you can tell it’s had some love. The taste is led by juniper (it is a Gin), coriander seeds and herby but you also get a wee lick of mint.
We will be serving it as a G&T with Fever Tree garnished with Lemon Peel.
King of Soho
So Stuart has been after this Gin for a while so I politely took the brand rep out for lunch and now we have it. I have known about the Gin for some time and I didn’t connect it at all with Paul Raymond the “King of Soho”. Thank you Paul, if it wasn’t for you my teenage years would have been different, the 1990s might have been more like the 1950s. Stuart wouldn’t have been able to pay me for lifts to Perth in top shelf mags for sure J
Anyway that’s where the Gin gets its name. Paul’s son Howard wanted to capture the spirit of Soho and in tribute to his father developed a drinks brand.
King of Soho is a traditional London Dry made in London and by a mysterious “11th generation master distiller” at Thames Distillers in two small pot stills. It is crafted using traditional methods and for purity it is quadruple distilled. The Gin contains 12 botanicals; Juniper (it is a Gin), coriander, citrus (which I read from our friends at Gin Foundry are mainly grapefruit peel), angelica root and cassia bark (yes this doesn’t add up to 12, I am working on the others). That’s all I will quote from our mates at Gin Foundry on this topic though…
On the nose King of Soho is very well rounded. By that I mean it smells like a classic Gin there is no massive hits of anything which draws you away from smell of Juniper which is what a traditional London Dry should do. I have always been better at the nosing side of things than the taste or texture, but like I said its juniper all the way here with coriander coming through. When you drink it those two small flavours come through straight away (but I need to stress this is a traditional London Dry so it’s meant too). You also get the citrus coming through. A lot of people get a punchy bite of pepper which could be the cassia. One thing you don’t get is a hit of alcohol which is surprising as its not weak stuff at 42%.
We will be serving this as… A surprise as cocktails may be involved on this one J
This name gives me grief; it ruins my dyslexic mind (btw I am mega dyslexic, special reading classes in school with Jon Pennycook and Rowan Marshal). I don’t know if I am to use the apostrophe or not? Anyway I’m going with it.
So Broker’s is similar to King of Soho in the sense that it is again a traditional London Dry. Makers Langely’s near Birmingham claim the recipe is 200 years old. At the distillery they have an old john Dore & Core mini still which was used for the recipe development some time ago (not sure if it was 200 years ago but I am going with it). The Gin is created using the adjacent list of Botanicals (and their connecting source locations): Juniper berries – Macedonia, Coriander seed – Bulgaria, Orris root – Italy, Nutmeg – India, Cassia bark – Indonesia, Cinnamon – Seychelles, Liquorice – Italy, Orange peel – Spain, Lemon peel – Spain and Angelica root – Poland.
To taste like all traditional London Dry recipes Brokers gives you the hit of Juniper, then comes the citrus, don’t ask me to differentiate them all but as there are only two it has to be lemon and orange peel. You also get on the finish (which is after the salvia rushes in when you swallow) the pepperiness of the cassia and cinnamon. One day Stuart and I will get some decent formal training in Gin tasting so these notes can be much better. We used to have tasting sessions but we kept ending up in the ABC or the Cathouse and thought we shouldn’t do that anymore.
This is a fantastic Gin, It’s like a Ronseal product, it does exactly what it sets out to do and that’s create a perfect traditional London Dry.
We are serving this – as a surprise.
Boodles takes its name from Boodle’s gentlemen’s club in St. James’s, London, founded in 1762 and originally run by Edward Boodle. Apparently the clubs most famous member Sir Winston Churchill loved the stuff. But Plymouth Gin also claims the same thing. Winston smoked too many cigars to be able to tell the difference I reckon.
Boodles was created in 1845, and is reputed to be one of the gins to shape the modern London Dry gin, as in Vodka base with Juniper and other Botanicals. In October 2013, Boodles Gin was released in the UK, with a redesigned bottle and an alcoholic strength of 80 proof. The botanical recipe for the gin remains the same. Boodles has always been made in the UK, but had previously only been available for purchase in the US and Japan. I don’t understand this bit of the history; it has only been made in the UK since 1845 but never available to buy here?? How did Winston get his war winning hands on it?
It is bottled at two strengths: 45.2% for the US and 40% alcohol for the UK by Greenall’s Distillery in Warrington, England. But Americans can’t drink like us; surely there should be a Scottish Strength?
Boodles is known for its distinctive floral nose and lingering juniper flavour, with a clean finish.[ It contains a blend of nine botanicals: juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, cassia bark, caraway seed, nutmeg, rosemary and sage. It is made in a vacuum still, a process that allows the gin to retain more of the flavours of its botanicals. It is the only gin to contain nutmeg, rosemary and sage among its botanicals. Unlike other London Dry gins, Boodles contains no citrus ingredients. The designers thought “surely they will add the citrus fruit”? Yes we will pal.
These ingredients add a mellow but herbal quality to Boodles, which balances out the essential piney notes from juniper. It is a unique Gin in that there are no citrus fruits; all the elements come from a blend of herbs and spices. On the nose, this gin is very light with coriander notes. To taste it is herby, with coriander to start which becomes dry and slightly bitter. I think of it as piney.