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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Caorunn Gin Review, in which a New Spirit Earns its Place in My Drinks Cabinet

Now, it's no secret that I think social media is a fine and useful thing, allowing you to talk to interesting people and find out about good stuff of which you would otherwise have been ignorant. It has, however, exacerbated a condition to which I have always been prone: FOMO - or, Fear Of Missing Out. Over the Easter weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a few days in South Wales: it was perfect, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Twitter was quick to remind me though that every single other person in the whole world (or so it felt) was living it up on cocktails at the Caorunn gin tasting at Manchester's Redbank and having a very jolly time indeed.

Turns out however that Caorunn Gin are kindly souls: a couple of weeks later, an envious postman brought me this little lot and I was able to stage my own gin masterclass with an unappreciative cat (who was, nevertheless, the perfect audience due to his lack of interest in drinking any of my precious gin). Caorunn Gin (which takes its name from the Gaelic for rowan berry, the main Celtic botanical in the gin) is handcrafted at a whisky distillery in the Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands, and as well as rowan berry contains four other local botanicals: dandelion, coul blush apple, bog myrtle (if I ever have a daughter, this is what I plan to call her) and Scottish heather. Combined with more traditional botanicals such as juniper berry and coriander seed, this produces a crisp, fruity taste that I really enjoyed: Caorunn sensibly suggest serving your gin and tonic with a slice of red apple to bring out the botanicals, although as my garden offers more in the way of dandelions I might start pushing this as a serving suggestion instead.

Caorunn sent me a tasting kit which included a glass (already one of my most treasured possessions) and a little 5cl bottle of gin, but I genuinely enjoyed it as a change from my usual favourites of Hunters or Hendricks and will purchase more (as you can imagine, 5cl doesn't last long round here, even allowing for a gin-hating cat). Caorunn was launched in 2009 and remains small batch distilled, but is widely available at places such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Oddbins. They also sent me an exciting scratch 'n' sniff style coffret containing the five Celtic botanicals, so if you want to pop to Sainsbury's first and get us a bottle then you're very welcome to come round for the full sensory experience - minus the coul blush apple, which I'm afraid I've eaten. It was almost as delicious as the gin, which you can find out more about here.

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