After the visit we’re delighted that we are looking at a couple of the more innovative products out of Perthshire.
Our first tasting feature is on the Strathearn Heather Rose Gin (40%abv).
We tried this with Fever Tree tonic and an orange slice garnish.
The first really striking aspect is the colour that you get. We start out with a lovely honeyed caramel looking gin and upon adding the tonic we get a gorgeous dusky pink shade reminiscent of a long slow Perthshire sunset (you do get these in Scotland honest) or a cooled blush Zinfandel. A really stunning and notable change from what you start with in the glass.
A bit uncouth we know but the nose out the bottle was almost Grand Marnier like- quite pronounced orange with floral notes. However the nose in the glass sees this calm down quite a bit with lighter floral notes and we’d agree that a Prosecco character does come out. Diving in to these a little further you pick up the rose petal character and behind that the fruit notes of orange and lemon while any juniper note is far from domineering.
To taste, you notice how well blended the flavours are. The rose carries through but is well balanced by the heather and citrus notes- my citrus possibly being enhanced by the orange garnish. The gin has a great mouthfeel with it, making it a rounded drink and the underlying notes of juniper and coriander are very subtle and again take a little time to come through on the palate. Heather Rose as you’d expect very definitely caters toward the floral rather than spicy end of the gin spectrum.
The finish is where the juniper and spice comes through. It finishes well and fairly short but has provided a lovely balanced drink. Absolutely a late setting sun drink or gorgeous aperitif.
Secondly from Strathearn we tried the Uisge Beatha Chestnut Wood (53%abv).
This is a really interesting drink from the point of view of the process and depth of colour that it achieves in such a short space of time. Distillers have experimented with different wood types over the years with oak obviously being the absolute predominate wood used. However Strathearn’s Uisge range have used Mulberry and Acacia as well as the Chestnut that we have tried here.
The wood comes from Slovenia and the barrels used are fairly small at around 30l capacity each. They are first fills and so, combined with the smaller volume of new make spirit, there is a far greater interaction between wood and distillate . This has the effect of accelerating both the development of colour and flavour. The Uisge range are bottled after only a month or so in barrel.
The Chestnut wood that we have tried is the darker of the three examples. It comes in a lovely caramel toned form which we mixed with water- it did start at 53% abv to be fair.
On the nose there is quite strong spice and some vanilla tones. As expected for a younger spirit the nose is quite forceful.
On the palate there is an excellent black pepper characteristic which is set beside a fairly strong vanilla note. This is a combination that works well.
On the finish the warming alcohol gives way to a softening spice and and a sweet caramel note which belies it’s true age. An unusual drink and one to have fun with.