Magic Rock – Un-Human Cannonball (11%)

Beer

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Writing about what is probably the most hyped up British beer is difficult. Magic Rock have managed to recreate a little slice of the American craft beer market by selling their annual release in one extremely limited shot.

The beer is a triple IPA which weighs in at 11% abv and is made with fresh American hops.

Magic Rock were founded in 2011 and are based in Huddersfield, England.

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The beer is a very cloudy hay yellow colour with a thin yellow tinged head.

The nose hits you as a huge blast of American hops with pineapple, mango, pine and a soft sweetness. This is followed by malt, caramel and peach along with a slight berry note.

The flavour is instantly bitter with citrus peel and grapefruit pith. There are notes of orange, tropical fruit, pine resin and caramel. This is finished by a herbal bitterness. There is no note of the HUGE abv.

The finish is intensely dry with a prickly bitterness.

The hype around this beer is justified it is frankly brilliant.

This beer is very limited and is sadly unavailable until the next run.

Cheers!

The Swedish gin experiment.

Gin

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I’ve always had a strong connection with Sweden (My mum is from Gothenburg). So when I had the chance to pick up some gin made in Sweden I jumped at the chance.

I picked up three bottles in all, from three different parts of Sweden.

I’ve only just started gin reviewing and three in one is a little daunting. I’m going to lay this out as logically (at least in my head) as I can. So I’ll tell you a little about the gins and go straight in to the reviews after.

The gins are made by The Spirit of Hven, Svenska Eldvatten & Hernö Gin.

Normally I do these with a set of notes with tonic, for the sake of brevity I’ve skipped this.

I’m going to start with The Spirit of Hven, who are based on the island of Ven which sits between Sweden and Denmark. This gin is organic, non chill or carbon filtered and bottled at 40%. It also comes in a fantastically shaped conical bottle!

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Straight:

The nose is a little spice forward with hits of black and pink pepper, aniseed, cardamom and vanilla. This is followed by sweeter notes of white sugar, juniper and a dried wood hit almost like oak. There is a sea air brine note which reminds me of olives.

The taste is quite balanced and rounded, the spices wash over your palate leaving a soft  juniper flavor in the background. There are notes of red fruit almost like cherry stones which finish in a cranberry like dryness. There is a sweet and spice note to this which is a wonderful balance.

The finish is dry with a long lasting aniseed note.

With water:

The nose become much sweeter, the vanilla note is much more prominent. There are now notes of smoke and hay along with the spiced aromas which now tie in much more closely and provide a much more balance aroma.

The flavor too is now sweeter with the fruit and aniseed notes coming through at the beginning of the taste. This is followed by notes of juniper and an almost resinous woody flavor.

The finish is much dryer with an almost medicinal aniseed and juniper flavor.

Next is Göteborg Gin by Svenska Eldvatten. This is a more traditional style of gin which is bottled at 45%. (Don’t imagine I’ll need to tell you where this is from).

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Straight:

This is much more citrus and juniper forward on the nose. This is followed by notes of pine, sugar, blueberry and soft vanilla spice. There are slight herbal notes but this adds to what is a very well balanced nose. At the very end there is a light sea salt (marine) quality.

The taste starts with intense citrus and juniper followed by a soft spice note. This is followed by a bittersweet (burnt caramel maybe?) flavor. There is a redcurrant note followed by again a sea salt flavor. The taste finishes with a ginger like prickle across the tongue.

The finish is dry but smooth.

With water:

The nose now has much more of a marine (sea side) quality to it. There are huge hits of citrus and juniper followed by brown sugar and cardamom. With the water the berries come more more to the fore and balance out the nose nicely.

The flavor has juniper, lemon and sea salt. There are sweet notes followed by lemongrass and notes of pink pepper. With water there is this almost beach side freshness which is beautifully refreshing!

The finish is a long lasting dry hit of juniper.

Finally is Hernö Gin who are based in Härnösand, around half way up Sweden on the Baltic coast. (Unless you know where Sundsvall is that’s the best I can explain). This is a London style gin bottled at 40.5%.

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Straight:

The nose is hugely floral and grassy. The juniper comes forward followed by something quite resinous in the background. There is a slight minty herbal note at the end.

The flavor is pungent with huge floral and lavender notes. There are sharp herbal and resin notes. There are notes of coriander and lemon peel at the end.

The finish is dry with a long lasting herbal note.

With water:

The floral note is almost instantly calmed and this allows the more herbal tones to come forward. There is a light almost tree sap sweetness that come through followed by lemon and juniper.

The flavor is much more juniper forward but I still find myself getting distracted by the floral lavender notes which I find a little overpowering for my tastes. The end of the taste is a huge blast of herbal flavours almost like you’ve pushed your face into a pot of parsley.

The finish is very dry and floral.

It’d be impossible to surmise all of these gins in one go as they’re so different. In their own way they are all fantastic, challenging and enjoyable drinks!

It’s great to see such verity in just three expressions of the same drink and I can’t help but feel excited about whats next!

I purchased these from Master of Malt.

Cheers!

Crossbill Gin (43.8%)

Gin

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Following my recent penchant for tasting gin I thought I’d give another one a go!

This time not based quite as close to home but Aviemore isn’t that far away.

Crossbill caught my eye because they are doing something just a little different to other distillers. They’re producing a gin using 100% Scottish juniper in partnership with the Forestry Comission.

To be fair many people use Local as a byword for quality and I want to see if that can be proved by the use of Scottish juniper (and rosehips) in this gin and find if it has any effect on the flavor!

Founded at the end of 2013 this distillery is now in full production but from what I can understand (If I’m wrong I’m happy to be corrected), batches are produced when the juniper is harvested (in October).

The gin is made using only two botanicals. As you may have guessed these are Juniper and Rosehip which is again produced locally.

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So on to the gin!

Appearance: Crystal clear with a slightly syrupy quality in the glass.

Neat:

The nose is intense with red fruit, orange, white sugar and herbs. After a small amount of time in the glass notes of pine and citrus peel come forward. The aroma is surprisingly complex for such a small number of ingredients.

The initial taste has huge amounts of pine, orange, mint and sugar. There are floral notes and a huge hit of juniper. The feeling in the mouth is intensely dry with a slight alcohol spice.

With water:

The nose opens up more with more pine and juniper coming through. This is followed by notes of orange lemon peel and notes of herb. Red berries come through from the rosehip ending in a sugar sweetness.

The flavor has again more notes of pine, a slight grain sweetness and a soft red berries. The middle of the taste becomes more bitter with juniper and fresh herbs finishing with a dry citrus note.

The mouthfeel is slightly oily but drying.

With tonic:

The nose has much more citrus and pine coming forward with huge hits of red berry. The notes are floral with hits of bitter juniper.

The flavor is sweet with red fruit, juniper and red berries. There are notes of dry herb lemon and cloud berries at the end of the taste.

The finish is dry but refreshing.

This is a straightforward to point drink, rich with red berries and floral notes from the juniper. The ingredients give this gin a unique selling point and in my mind really had to deliver. It really doesn’t fall short!

I picked this up at Hammerton Stores, Aberdeen. This is also available on Crossbill’s own website.

Cheers!