Scottish Highlands Serve Up New High Proof Gin Release: Caorunn Highland Strength - Gin Raiders
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Scottish Highlands Serve Up New High Proof Gin Release: Caorunn Highland Strength

Caorunn Gin and Highland Strength sit side by side.

Let’s take a trip to the mountainous, emerald region of Scotland with a sip of Caorunn Highland Strength gin. Bottled at an impressive 54% ABV, this spirit truly “means business.”

First introduced to the U.S. in May, Highland Strength highlights peppery, pine notes and boasts a “lingering finish and luxurious mouthfeel.”

Caorunn (pronounced “ka-roon”) is a Scottish small-batch distilled gin that derives its name from the Gaelic word for rowan berry. This special little fruit — cranberry-like in flavor — is one of five Celtic botanicals at the core of Caorunn Gin.

Hailing from the Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands, Balmenach Distillery has been producing gin since 2009. The distillery is the only one in the world with a working Copper Berry Chamber. Originally used to distill essential oils for perfumes, the American-made 1920’s chamber now works hard in “extracting maximum flavour to create perfectly balanced and delicious gin.”

Both the unique still — housed in a whiskey distillery — and Caorunn’s hand-foraged botanicals contribute to the brand’s “clever” identity. Rowan berry, heather, dandelion, bog myrtle and Coul Blush Apple are all locally sourced for Caorunn.

“Not just ingenious – it’s Gin Genius,” Caorunn noted.

Let’s Taste These Gins

First, Caorunn Gin and Highland Strength will be enjoyed neat. Then each gin will be served in a gin and tonic with a red apple slice, per the brand’s recommendations.

Caorunn Gin

Neat: It smells softly floral and of green apples. When sipped, sweet herbs stand out — we presume this to be the heather, dandelion and bog myrtle. The initial impression we get is that of an herbal tea with a squeeze of lemon. The rowan berry lingers at the end with a dry, slightly fruited finish.

Gin and tonic: The apple is a sweet addition that adds a light fresh fruit scent and flavor. The herbal elements are softened and we are left with an easy-drinking cocktail.

Highland Strength

Neat: The ethanol hits just as hard as it dissipates. Juniper and pepper follows soon after. There aren’t any apple notes in this one, as the juniper really takes hold of the experience. Mint and pine sticks around in the long, dry finish.

Gin and tonic: A strong gin makes a strong gin and tonic. The tonic does not dwindle the gin’s powerful pine note. This comes across as classically juniper-forward in flavor. A fun apple snack is munched at the end.

When drinking the two gins side by side, Caorunn Gin makes for a more interesting experience when sipped neat. Highland Strength stood up better in a gin and tonic.

These are both fine gins made with unique ingredients. If you want a taste of Scottish botanicals, stick with Caorunn’s flagship gin. If you seek a bold pine sip to elevate a favorite gin cocktail, the high proof expression is the way to go.

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