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Review

Strathearn
Heather Rose 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 amber colored 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 distilleries logo.

Category

Distilled Gin.

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

Unknown but includes: heather, honey, juniper berries and rose petals.

Name

Named after the key botanicals used: Heather and Rose petals.

Tasting Notes

On the nose are floral notes (heather and rose) with hints of fruit and juniper in the background. On the palate this lightly sweet spirit has juniper and honey fruitiness with many floral notes (heather, lavender & rose – we’ve even heard it described as “Turkish Delight” and can concur!). On the close the floral attributes continue with elements of sweet orange and spice coming through. Although many of the flavors are not unusual in themselves, it does have an overall unusual but very pleasing flavor profile for a Gin.

We found this Gin was best taken neat over ice, where all it’s subtleties can be enjoyed to the fullest. However an interesting facet of this Gin is what happens when you add tonic water to it, the amber color changes to white with soft pink coloration, apparently due to a reaction between the quinine and the rose petals. Poetically this is said to resemble the pink flowering heather clad hillsides of Scotland. As a subtle Gin it is somewhat overpowered by the tonic water and, while still detectable in traces, the power of the floral bouquet is muted significantly. However, this is not necessarily a bad option and it can make for an excellent summertime G&T - we suggest using edible flowers (e.g. nasturtiums, zucchini etc.) as garnish.

The gentlemen at Strathearn Distillery have produced yet another interesting and worthwhile Gin.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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