I love Sundays! A day to catch up, rest, relax and… drink the world’s strongest gin! Strane is a 75.3% Swedish gin. Yup what a whopper and I would say, with the exception of trying Hill’s absinth when it was finally made legal here back in the day, I think this is the strongest alcohol I’ve tried and definatly the strongest gin I’ve ever had.
So, to the gin. Firstly Strane is a London Dry made in Sweden by Smogen Whisky Distillery. It’s bottled at the strength it comes out of the still (uncut) at a whopping 75.3%.
On the nose there is a savoury hit with a lemony citrus note which quickly gives way to a most interesting flush of minty, fresh almost camphor like wafts of icey Swedish winter. It’s a lovely sensation!
Tasted neat it’s strong, obviously, but not unpleasantly so. There is hard hitting juniper followed by the savoury/mintiness and stays quite fresh and crisp although still retaining the herby deep element. At the very end there is a sweetness, which builds as you sip – possibly from the licorice, and as the ice melts it becomes a very sippable dram indeed.
With tonic the gin opens out and the character changes substantially. The citrus really comes to life with pleasant acidic notes followed by an unexpected ‘fizziness’ over the top and back of the palate, I can’t put my finger on it, maybe some sort of pepper element, or related to the 2 un-named Swedish botanicals used.
Juniper is there of course but the sage, basil and mint give Strane Uncut an additional herby blast which gives this gin a very interesting character and quality which is very distinctive.
Lemon peel seems an obvious choice as a garnish but I’d like it with a small basil leaf, un-bruised, just sitting on the top, happily complementing the lovely, very well made gin!
As an interesting point, back in the 18th Century, gin was sipped fresh out of the still and was around 140 proof which is 80% abv, so when you sip this gin you could imagine yourself back in a gin-shop in the 1700s taking a dram and contemplating how your shares in the South Sea Company are faring… however the quality of this fantastic gin is worlds apart from the gins your brethren of 300 years ago would be sipping!