Hot on the heels of Hernö Swedish Excellence Gin and Hernö Navy Strength Gin, the world’s northernmost gin distillery – Swedish Hernö Brenneri – has recently created the world’s first gin aged 30 days in juniper wood casks. It sounds very interesting in theory, but how does it really taste? Well, luckily for me I have been able to find out (only 87 bottles à 500 ml and 47 % ABV has been produced so far) – and here’s the verdict:
Nose: The slightly yellow liquid has an intense aroma of citrus and juniper with a bold, piney sharpness that’s very intriguing indeed. Mouth: Bright and sharp wooden notes to begin with, which evolves into a creamy sweetness and a strong presence of juniper, coriander, lemon peel – and a long, floral and peppery finish. It’s obvious that the juniper wood casks haven’t been used to make this product smoother, as the aging has added to and intensified the bright and sharp qualities of the botanicals. It’s not as intense as the nose suggested, but still a pretty bold gin which should work great in certain cocktails – but beware, it’s powerful stuff… and pretty amazing!
|Gin & Tonic|
First I made a Gin & Tonic using Fever Tree tonic water, but for some reason it didn’t really work, it was too sharp. I tried again with a different tonic water (50 ml Hernö Juniper Cask, 100 ml Schweppes Indian Tonic, lemon zest) and now it was much better. The somewhat sweeter Schweppes rounded off the sharpness of the gin in a nice way without removing its character, making it a delicious thirst-quencher.
Next, it was time for a Negroni, and the intense flavour of the gin seemed to demand an equally powerful vermouth (30 ml Hernö Juniper Cask, 30 ml Antica Formula, 30 ml Campari, orange zest) and it certainly didn’t disappoint – the result was nothing less than spectacular with the gin and vermouth fighting for attention – however, the winner was of course me who got to drink it.
Another cocktail I wanted to try was Dry Martini (50 ml Hernö Juniper Cask, 10 ml Noilly Prat, lemon zest) and once again a tasty drink, in which the vermouth softened the bright piney sharpness, creating a smooth and very enjoyable version of this iconic concoction.
|Corpse Reviver #2|
Finally, I decided to make a Corpse Reviver #2 (30 ml Hernö Juniper Cask, 30 ml Lillet Blanc, 30 ml lemon juice, 30 ml Cointreau, absinthe rinse) and it’s a great combination where the unique character of the gin was able to shine and add some complexity to the drink.
I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical in the beginning, but after having conducted these scientific experiments I am now a true believer. Hernö Juniper Cask is a great gin with a unique and intense flavour profile as well as a bold statement from this small Swedish distillery, which in a short period of time has received lots of praise from gin lovers all over the world – and rightfully so. I can’t wait to find out what’s up their sleeves next… well done!