Caorunn gin – (41.8%)

Gin

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This is my second gin review and again I’ve decided to go local….(ish).

This gin is distilled at the Balmenach Distillery which is probably better know as a whisky distillery. This distillery is located in Cromdale about 30 miles south of Elgin.

When being made the gin is infused using a berry chamber from the 1920’s. The ingredients are spread on trays and the spirit vaporised and left to pick up the flavours from the 5 botanicals.

The local botanicals used are rowan berries, Coul Blush apple, heather, bog myrtle and dandelion which supplement the more traditional juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root and cassia bark.

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As this is only my second gin review I’m still pretty new at this. If I have made any mistakes please contact me and I’ll rectify them.

The notes were done in three stages. Neat, with a tea spoon of water and with tonic water.

The gin pours completely clear.

Neat.

Nose – Initially sweet on the nose with floral notes, citrus flowers, juniper, apple skin and vanilla spice.

Taste – Floral up front with notes of apple and heather. There are herbal notes along with clean refreshing citrus and juniper. Feels very think and substantial in the mouth with an almost marine (sea air quality) at the end of the taste.

Finish – The finish is spicy and floral but refreshing. Even neat there are no overt notes of alcohol but there is a long lasting herbal dryness.

With one tea spoon of water.

Nose – Initially sweet but this time with more of a citrus oil note coming through, floral notes again with hints of heather in the background. Next comes a hit of juniper, this is followed by soft apple notes and vanilla. There is a slight spice to the nose maybe pink peppercorn.

Taste – Now much more apple coming forward with a fruit sugar note. This followed by juniper and a slight spice. Toward the end of the taste there is a refreshing almost peppermint note which replaces the spice.

The finish is dry and long lasting with the same sea air note at the very end.

With tonic.

Nose – Orange blossom, soft sweetness and notes of lemon peel. There are juniper and floral notes which come through. At the end there is a slightly medicinal herbal note.

Taste – Much more floral, with citrus and cucumber. A huge punch of apple and vanilla follow. Hugely refreshing with a slight dryness.

Finish – Much dryer with a long lasting citrus rind bitterness.

I picked up this gin from Oddbins for around £30. It’s a very intense and rewarding drink and I’d definitely recommend picking this up!

Cheers!

Pilot – Double Mochaccino (10.5%)

Beer

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Pilot are an Edinburgh (Leith) based brewery, founded in 2013 by university friends Matt Johnson and Patrick Jones.

Sadly though Pilot have disappointed me in the first line of their label prologue. NO PUNS! Really Pilot, really?! I just hope the beer doesn’t leave me on the runway…. Yeah I know *get’s coat and leaves*.

The beer is a milk stout brewed with coffee, cocoa nibs, vanilla, demerara sugar and treacle. Which to be honest sounds like a heavenly combination.

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The beer pours completely jet back (yes another pilot pun!), with a thin coffee cream coloured head which remains on the beer long after pouring.

The nose hits you hard with a burst of good quality milky coffee, followed by dry dark chocolate, soft brown sugar and soft spice. As the beer warms more notes of spice and darker stronger coffee notes come through.

The flavour is rich with coffee and dark chocolate. This is followed by soft vanilla and hints of treacle. The end of the taste has a soft and not unpleasant note of alcohol. The finish is oily and the flavours linger long after drinking, but the mouth feel leaves me wanting slightly (it’s just a touch thinner than I hoped).

I really enjoyed this beer and love this brewery’s will to experiment with flavours and ingredients also!

Cheers!!

Yeastie Boys – Sly Persuader

Beer

Ch ch ch ch ch check it out!

Wait, what…no.

The Yeastie boys are a brewery based pretty much exactly on the other side of the world from me, in Wellington, New Zealand.

The brewery was opened in 2008 by Stu McKinlay and Sam Possenniskie. There are a roster of three core beers along with a plethora of seasonal and limited releases.

Happily a number of their beers have made it to our shores lately and the label of this beer compelled me to write about it.

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This 6% Extra Pale Blonde Ale was made as part of an experimental group of beers in the fantastically titled “Spoonbender Series”. These were released in June 2014 and brewed in collaboration with wine makers Some Young Punks. The beer contains Pacifica & Nelson Sauvin hops along with Extra Pale Pilsner Malt, Maize, Torrified Wheat & Botrytised Viognier Candi-sugar

The beer is a light amber to golden colour with a thin white head which dissipates to a ring around the inside of the glass.

The nose is full of stone fruits, apples, pear, soft waves of malt and soft berries. There are lighter spice notes following at the end cinnamon and nutmeg seem to come to mind.

The flavour is again quite soft with herbal notes of fresh parsley coming forward, this is followed by peach, pear and malt sweetness. The finish is drying with a prickling dryness and maybe some notes of noble hops(?) on the finish.

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I am a huge fan of this brewery and of the beers I’ve tried none have disappointed. I hope to see more of their beer here in the future.

I was able to get this bottle from the Deeside Drinks Emporium but their beers seem to be widely available.

Cheers!

Woodford Reserve (Distiller’s Select 43.2%)

Bourbon

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I’ve taken my first foray in to the world of spirits with gin now I’m going to delve even further with Bourbon.

This to be honest is a type of spirit I’ve only taken notice of fairly recently and it is again not something I know much about.

Hopefully I’ll be able to pick this up as I go along and maybe again press-gang the little I know about beer in to tying to decipher this spirit…..and hopefully what I write will make some kind of sense.

Woodford reserve may have to be a drink where I put my prejudices against large brands aside, having looked in to their claims to be “small batch produced” & “artisanally made”. I found they are owned by Brown-Forman who own Jack Daniels amongst a host of other brands.

Hopefully they are just a backer and have nothing to do with the production, which is housed in the oldest working distillery in the USA.

Even when opening the bottle a waft of malt sweetness seems to appear in waves from the bottle. On pouring the whiskey is a light amber / rose gold colour.

I poured the whisky 15 to 20 minutes ago in order to allow the smell of alcohol to dissipate and allow some of the other notes to come forward.

The smell initially is very sweet almost like a burnt caramel and toffee, this is followed by aromas of stewed apple, butter, corn, cinnamon and a very light note of dried ginger.

Tasting without water: The taste seems more rye like, there are the sweet notes but these seem to fall away and be replaced by a dark malt bitterness. There are still notes of burnt caramel and vanilla fudge but these are a prelude to notes of clove, cinnamon, ginger, a floral grassy note and rye. The taste finishes with a smooth butter like note which coats the mouth.

The nose with water: The notes of Toffee and Caramel are more apparent with water. The sweet notes are even more apparent but this time they are followed by a rose water note. The spice notes have mellowed there are still notes of cinnamon but this is now dominated by apple and vanilla.

The taste with water: The beginning of the taste remains dry with much more rye and red malts coming forward. The sweetness remains with caramel and toffee at the fore but there are also dark sugar and treacle notes. There is again a note of rose water but this is followed by clove, cinnamon and ginger. The finish with water is sweet but to me slightly drier.

This is again a completely new territory to me and hopefully my tasting has made sense.

Having looked past my big brand prejudice I found myself really enjoying this whiskey and being challenged by what it had to offer. I bought this for £26 from Oddbins but it’s available widely and seems to be an excellent “starter” bourbon.

Cheers!