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Review

Strathearn
Caledonia Classic Gin

Distillery

Strathearn Distillery, Methven, Perthshire, Scotland, U.K.

Website

Strathearn Distillery

History

Hailed as the smallest commercial distillery in Scotland, Strathearn Distillery opened in late summer 2013, some 215-years after the previous distillery had opened in the Methven area. The business started back in 2010 when current Directors Tony Reeman-Clark and David Lang (along with brand ambassador David Wright) discussed the possibility of opening a distillery. A company, The Whisky Garden Ltd., was established in the fall of 2010 and a plan of action started – taking until the beginning of 2013 for all the permissions to be obtained, before the stills could be ordered. The final license, to make and sell the liquor, was eventually issued to the distillery at the end of summer 2013.

The distillery is based in a building of a renovated 160-year old farmstead, where they have sought to recreate the style of farm distilling from the 1700’s, by using equipment (including the stills), materials and methods from the era. Today they produce Whisky (available from 2016) and a range of Gins, while providing tours and spirit-making workshops: Gin across a half or full day experience and Whisky across 1, 3 or 5 daylong courses.

This, one of their initial Gins, was first issued at the launch of the distillery in November 2013.

Production

The distillery has two copper alembic stills: a 1,000-litre (265 Gallon) wash still and 500-litre (130 Gallon) spirit still. These Hoga stills have been handcrafted by Galician coppersmiths in Salvaterra de Miño, Spain (near the Portuguese border) and are more traditionally used for the production of spirits like Calvados, Cognac, Eau-De-Vie and Pisco. The Moorish styled domed shaped heads on top of the stills have been made larger than usual to provide greater reflux (the curves allowing alcohol vapor to condense on the surface and fall back into the pot of the still, creating a form of continuous distillation usually achieved with a column still) and create a higher level of alcohol purity in the finished spirit. It is believed these are the only stills of this type and style to be found in Scotland.

Using local grain and botanicals where possible, the Gin is made in small batches with each stage of the process being hand crafted, including the bottling and corking. The light yellow/amber Gin is presented in a clear squat cylindrical glass bottle, with flat round shoulders. It has orange and black colored text and images screen printed on the bottle, including the icon bird of prey that makes up the distillery's logo.

Category

Distilled Gin, in a London Style, although tastes more like a New Western Dry.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$ - $$$$$. Not available in the USA, try Master of Malt in the UK but expect to pay an additional 40% for shipping. 

Botanicals

The exact numbers of botanicals are unknown but it includes: grapefruit (Spain), juniper berries, kaffir lime (leaves), lemon (Italy) and star anise.

"Citrus hystrix leaf" by Fatrabbit - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Citrus_hystrix_leaf.jpg

#mediaviewer/File:Citrus_hystrix_leaf.jpg

Name

Today “Caledonia” is the poetic or romantic name used for Scotland. It is thought to come from a Celtic tribal name Caledones, Calīdones or Caledonii and it’s literal translation means “possessing hard feet” (supported by the Welsh word “Caled”, which means “hard.”). This name could easily be referring to the land (mountainous and rocky), the people (i.e. their hardiness) or their character of enduring or being steadfast.

Whatever the etymology the Ancient Romans picked up on the name and, although they came to call Scotland “Pictavia” (after a confederation of tribes), they initially referred to Scotland as Caledonia.

Being made in Scotland, this is a great name to use for this Gin.

"Caledonian-pict" by Iantresman at en.wikipedia - Source: William Howitt, John Cassell, John Cassell's Illustrated History of England: From the earliest period to the reign of Edward the Fourth., Editor: John Frederick Smith, Publisher W. Kent and Co., 1857. Page 6Transferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caledonian-pict.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Caledonian-pict.jpg

Tasting Notes

On the nose is citrus (lemon). On the palate is zesty citrus with juniper and green herbal notes in the background. On the close, the citrus lemon is joined by some lime notes, plus a clear liquorice (star anise) flavor. This is a fully-fledged citrus forward Gin with some nice underlying aspects of simplicity.

This is billed as both an “Old London Gin Standard,” (which we understand but did not find) and a “new-style citrus gin” (which for us is exactly what we found) but is perhaps better described as a New Western Dry Gin. We only managed to sample a small quantity and that went down very nicely when taken neat (over ice), so much so there wasn’t much left for mixing! In a Gin and Tonic there was no surprise, with the lemon citrus flavor coming through, the distillery recommends a grapefruit garnish but we believe this is perfectly fine without any garnish.

We clearly need to get our hands on more of this delightful Gin to conduct a through investigation into its mixing qualities and versatility. However, it makes a perfectly nice sipping Gin (think sunsets on the veranda) and, the founding gentlemen of Strathearn Distillery are to be heartily congratulated on this their inaugural Gin – a quality product, from quality people, following a quality process.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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