A few weeks back I reviewed Strane London Dry Gin which I liked very much. Strane is the old name for the harbour area where it’s distilled, so what can be more suitable for the Smögen Whisky company than having also a navy strength gin in their portfolio? As with the “merchant strength” version, this 57% abv gin is created by blending three small batch distillates (with different flavour profiles) until desired result. Unfortunately it’s not commercially available at the moment, but I was lucky enough to get hold of some drops of the rare liquid.
Nose: I thought that their London Dry effort was quite citrus forward, but it’s nothing compared to Navy Strength – there’s a fresh burst of citrus before the juniper kicks in, and it fades with hints of mint and cinnamon. Surspringly rounded considering the abv. Mouth: Very intense yet smooth, definitely with an emphasis on the citrus with juniper close behind in a balance act with the floral backbone, and with a lingering, spicy and earthy finish with cinnamon, liquorice and coriander fighting for attention. This is a very well balanced gin, which despite being of navy strength is very delicious on its own and without dilution. I have a feeling it’s perfect for mixing!
|Gin & Tonic|
For cocktails, I chose two of my all time favourite gin drinks – and first out was Gin & Tonic (1 part Strane Navy Strength, 2 parts tonic water – build over ice in rocks glass, garnish with lime zest) and to remain consistent I used my standard proportions even though their recommendation is 2 parts gin and 3 parts tonic. For some reason I decided to try it with Carrefour Tonic, which is pretty standard yet on the sweet side, not too far from Schweppes – and to be honest, my favourites Fever-Tree and Fentimans are not available everywhere so I’m always on the hunt for the least bad substitute (although the Carrefour bottle was bought in Berlin since we don’t have it here in Sweden). Anyway, I admit that the tonic didn’t give proper justice to the gin, but with Strane’s intensity and citrus-forward flavour profile the result was still a delicious drink. Note to self: next time I’ll stick to Fever Tree since I think that Fentimans would be too citrusy.
My gin reviews are not complete without the Negroni test (1 part Strane Navy Strength, 1 part Carpano Antica Formula, 1 part Campari – stir with ice, strain into ice filled rocks glass and garnish with orange zest) and now we’re talking! The high abv, prominent lemon and juniper notes together with the long, peppery finish was the perfect match with the bittersweet Campari and herbal complexity of the vermouth. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a close to perfect Negroni, so keep your eyes open for the commercial release of the fantastic new Strane Navy Strength Gin – you’ll definitely not regret buying yourself a bottle, or two. Cheers!