Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Caorunn Temptation

Scottish Craft Gin

    Caorunn is a small batch gin crafted in the modern style using traditional techniques.  Pronounced "ka-roon", it takes it's name for the Celtic word for Rowan berry which is one of the botanicals used in the recipe.  Although it is technically classified as a London dry gin, it is a much more balanced gin.  One could argue that it is the forward juniper flavor that makes gin what it is, nonetheless the evolution of gin continues.  The distillery uses what is listed as six classical gin botanicals as well as five Celtic botanicals.  Some of these are shared with Dingle, the Irish gin discussed previously in Dingle Dangle.  But what I find most interesting is the inclusion of Apple, specifically, the Coul Blush Apple.  This really sets this gin apart.  What was the Gin Master thinking?  I can only imagine two scenarios.  Either he was going for a balancing act between the juniper and earthy botanicals , or perhaps, he was devilishly trying to tempt us with the apple, a modern day gin brewing Eve.

    Now, Caorunn is a relative new kid on the block, but, it is produced at Balmenach Distillery, which was first licensed in 1824 by James MacGregor for the production of Scotch whisky.  The distillery is delightfully situated in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. This area is known for the natural springs which provide the water for the distillery and is the natural basis for Balmenach spirits.  
"The skills and knowledge of spirit distilling have been passed from father to son in Balmenach throughout the past 2 centuries and traditional processes are still used to produce whisky.  One of the distillers, namely Simon Buley is also a gin aficionado and for a while had played with the idea of making a truly Scottish Gin at the working malt whisky distillery. He wanted especially to use the ancient skills and recipes of spirit making and to harness the uniquely pure Scottish Highland water of the surrounding Haughs and the age old Celtic botanicals that grow on the surrounding hills of Balmenach Distillery." - says the website.

     Here then is the Gin Master at work with the unique Copper Berry Chamber that was made in the 1920s.  It is a round chamber with copper frame and carries 4 trays. The botanicals are spread on the trays, allowing the grain spirit vapour to meet the botanicals over the largest possible surface area during the infusion process and to pick up the aromas and flavours of the botanicals.

Celtic Botanicals

Rowan Berry 
From the old Gaelic word Caorunn or Rhuda-an. This piquant red berry has inspired Celtic medicines and recipes for generations. It forms the very soul of Caorunn.

Bog Myrtle This fragrant plant conjures up images of Highland walks. It infuses a soft, sweet resinous aroma to Caorunn Gin.

Heather Heather is an integral part of the Highland landscape. With its subtle perfumed undertones with a nuance of honey it is also an integral part of Caorunn gin.

Coul Blush Apple First fruited in Coul, Ross-shire in 1827 this is a Celtic creation. Its clean, sweet, aromatic taste forms a perfectly balanced compliment to our other ingredients.

Dandelion Leaf Since ancient Celtic times the Dandelion has been used as a herb. It lends Caorunn just a hint of sharpness

Traditional Botanicals

Juniper Berries Juniper berries are at the heart of our handcrafted Scottish Gin. They have been lending their subtle bittersweet aroma to gin since the 17th Century.

Coriander Seed The spicy, sweet aroma of these seeds conjures images of dishes full of exoticism and warmth. They add a subtle flavour of pine and pepper to Caorunn Gin.

Orange Peel Orange peel adds to the crisp refreshing flavour of Caorunn Gin. With its pleasant sweet odour and slight hint of bitterness it makes the perfect companion to our carefully chosen Celtic Botanicals.

Lemon Peel Lemon peel is an essential flavour of Caorunn Gin with its fragrant citrus top notes and aromatic bitter taste.

Angelica Root Fabled for centuries in Chinese medicine as a healing herb this enigmatic root also provides a sweet warm taste to Caorunn Gin.

Cassia Bark Like Coriander seed this exotic spice lends its fragrant aroma to Caorunn Gin. Its sweetish taste is reminiscent of cinnamon but with more delicate flavour and depth of character.

     To the nose, there is a light pine with a citrus aroma.  The taste is very balanced.  I think that this is the least juniper flavored gin that I have sampled.  The sweetness of the apple is evident which is backed with those sweet bog botanicals as well.  The juniper is in the background with the citrus and cinnamon flavors coming through.  The finish is smooth, lacking any kick.  This one reminds me of Dingle, as they share many of the same ingredients, but with the addition of that sweetness.  It makes a fine dry martini.  As mentioned previously, if you are one of those juniper forward types, this might not be the gin for you.  But, on the other hand, if you are feeling a little adventuresome and would like to get off the beaten path, then Coaruun is very tempting indeed!

How do you like them apples?

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