At any time, an estimated twenty million whisky casks are maturing across Scotland. These are all exposed to ‘the Angels’ Share’, the name given to evaporation from casks during maturation. You can't blame the angels for taking their pick, after all they are bound to enjoy some casks more than others and there's nothing the hard working distillers can do but watch their efforts disappear.
The Angels’ Nectar Blended Malt Scotch Whisky is bottled for whisky drinkers to savour, created from a selection of lovely Speyside and Highland malt whiskies.
Angels' Nectar Original Tasting Notes:
•Colour – An honest, natural, light chardonnay.
•Nose – Sweet, vanilla, fruit syrup, apple, pear, the delicious aroma of an apple pie in the oven.
•Taste – Heather honey and lemon.
•Finish – A hint of spice.
•A vibrantly fresh whisky, served just the way the angels like it
My sample was provided by spirits bottler Highfern Ltd, established by Robert Ransom in 2014.
The label for this whisky brand features a striking fractal design, with an angel shaped ethereal mist, within which angels can be seen enjoying their share.
The bottle is labelled 'Strane - London Dry Gin - Merchant Strength'. For those who don't know, this doesn't mean that it is made in London - in fact this one comes from a small Swedish distillery. Back in the day though, most gin distillers were in London and in the 1700s gin was the drink of choice. Originally used as a medicine, it was cheap, the opium of the masses. People went to great lengths to obtain it; a cattle drover sold his daughter for a gallon of the stuff while a coachman pawned his wife for a quart bottle. Thankfully, no-one would go as far as that to get a bottle of gin these days!
Anyway, to be a 'London Dry', among other stipulations, the gin must be distilled to over 70%. Water is usually then added to reduce the gin to a bottling strength of around 40%. Oh and if you're reading this and calling it 'Strane' , it's actually pronounced 'str-AAH-nEE' or 'Stra-anne'. Got it?
Strane is a handcrafted small batch gin from Swedish distiller Smögen Whisky AB. It is created in a 100 litre pot still with worm tub condensers, at the Smögen Distillery, one of the first distilleries in Sweden to produce Single Malt Whisky.
Twelve botanicals are used in this gin - juniper, basil, mint, coriander, cinnamon, sweet almond, sage, lemon peel, lime, liquorice and two secret ingredients. (I wonder what they are?) These botanicals are used to produce three base gin styles; juniper, citrus and herbal, in batches of 45 litres. The base gins are then blended to produce the three expressions; Merchant, Navy and Uncut.
Strane Merchant, the core expression, is bottled at 47.4% Vol and blended to emphasise the smoothness that the high copper contact in the tiny whisky pot gives the spirit, while at the same time providing enormous depth and strength of character, led by the juniper, coriander seeds and mint.
The Smögen Distillery (above) was designed and built by pioneering distiller Pär Caldenby, ( above with his dog Dante). It is sited on Sweden's west coast north of Gothenburg with every drop of Smögen Whisky and Strane Gin distilled and blended by Pär personally. Commenting on the Strane Gin family, he said, “As a whisky man, it struck me that the art of blending should work very well with gin, as a good gin is about character and also – most importantly – about balance. To create the massive depth of character while retaining balance, the tiny pot still with its worm tub is important, but the blending makes it whole. Eminently sippable and makes an enticing G&T with the likes of Fentiman’s or Fever Tree.”
Gin is the drink of the moment, gaining popularity all the time. Why not do yourself a favour and get yourself a bottle of Strane? When you taste it, you'll be glad you did.
Strane London Dry Gin: Merchant Strength 47.4%, Navy Strength 57.1% and Uncut Strength 76% .... wow, that is strong!
Strane Gin is distilled by Smögen Whisky AB, represented in the UK by Highfern Ltd who supplied my tasting sample.
Besides importing Strane and Smögen, Highfern are the proprietors of Angels’ Nectar Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.
You can buy Strane Gin from lots of places including Drinkfinder, Gauntleys of Nottingham, JL Gill , Master of Malt, Nickolls and Perks, Robertson's, shop4whisky.com , Evil Eye, Storehouse, Woodwinters and The Whisky Exchange.
Not just any old vegan burger though, this one is so posh It comes with Truffle Mac Cheeze and Caviar (plant-based of course!)
Caviar and truffles have long been favourites for those accustomed to life's finer things.
However, for vegans such posh nosh is usually a no-no - caviar typically consists of the pickled roe (or eggs) of fish. The good news is that 'The Mayfair' launched by burger brand Miami Burger, gives vegans the chance to enjoy such foods guilt-free, with caviar made from black kelp seaweed and black truffle-infused oil.
The first of its kind in the UK, the vegan burger also comes with fresh rocket salad and truffle-infused salt - a delicacy popular with celebrity chefs. Customers can order truffle-salted fries on the side.
With 95% of vegans considering themselves healthy eaters according to a YouGov survey, they'll also be pleased to know that The Mayfair contains 447 calories and under three grams of saturated fat.
Miami Burger's Food Development Chef, Tom Halford, who designed The Mayfair says: “This burger is ideal for those who enjoy something unique, yet still want to stay healthy. We cater to a discerning clientele in the first place: vegans. Among this group, there are many who still want to enjoy fine food, yet who find it hard to find what they're looking for. Our recent launch in Shoreditch means that city workers now have easy access to our burgers. We're sure the limited edition of The Mayfair will be a hit, as it's not only luxurious, but also healthy. Caviar and mac cheeze shouldn't go together on paper, but we were all surprised at how great the saltiness blended with the mild plant-based cheeze. With recent NHS figures predicting that obesity will double in the next two decades, we're keen to help the country quit its junk food habit. We can do this by offering alternative options to gourmet food, both vegans and non-vegans can opt for The Mayfair to maintain their healthy lifestyles.”
The burger's raw patty alone contains just 0.6 grams of fat (that's before you grill it) . Two low-fat patties will be available for £3.39 in Morrisons from July and the brand also offers staples such as the Classic MB, with 87% less fat than a McDonald's Quarter Pounder without the cheese. The truffle-salted fries are oven-baked, not deep-fried reducing fat by 70% and healthy natural sweeteners are used instead of sugar.
Tom adds, “We want to make gourmet low-fat burgers the go-to option for time-pressed customers, starting with London's city workers, who are famously stressed and overworked. This is why we launched in Shoreditch, our goal is to help health-conscious professionals stay on top of their game.
“We can't wait to make a bigger impact when we launch in supermarkets next month.”
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk