Gin is the must-sip beverage of our age. Friends who were once content with a cheap cider and black are now gin connoisseurs, eager to sample the latest botanical flavourings.
And with this boom came a hearty pouring of competition, with daredevils far and wide curious to explore the extremities of mother’s ruin.
From gin infused with ants, to gin flavoured with kelp, there’s a beverage for the most adventurous of palettes.
And this has naturally led to a fierce, global battle for who can brew the strongest commercial batch.
Swedish manufacturers, Smögen, held the proud title of strongest gin for three glorious years with their 76 per cent Strane London Dry Gin.
However, Scottish distillery, Twin River, toppled them from their tipsy throne in February; after rustling up a 77 per cent bevvy.
It hasn’t taken long for Smögen to bite back at their boozy opponent, hopping right back to the top spot – and not just by a piddly one per cent or so.
Smögen have proclaimed Strane Ultra Uncut – from their their lead distiller, Pär Calndeby – to be an almost impossible 82.5 per cent. Seriously, the inside of my throat is currently clamming shut like a shell at the thought.
According to a press release:
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.
With Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5 per cent, 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 per cent 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.
Robert Ransom, from UK importer Highfern Ltd made the following remarks:
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.
It’s 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.
Robert Ransom will give a Strane masterclass, including Strane Ultra Uncut, at the Just Gin Show on the 28 July, 2018.
Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5 per cent can be purchased from Nickolls & Perks and Master of Malt with an RRP of £33.00 per 200ml.
Certainly an interesting addition to any summer parties you may be throwing. Find out more here
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.