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.
Gin School anyone? With a comfy bed for the night, just a short stroll away? Then Hull is the place to be. A new Gin School and contemporary boutique apartment hotel have created the perfect summer mix for a 'gin-tastic' weekend.
Go back to the classroom for a different education experience by creating your own blend of gin at Hull's Hotham's Gin School, before returning to a designer apartment at The Hideout - with your bottle of personalised gin of course.
The weekend experiences offer discounted tickets to award winning Hotham's Gin School (£125 for two) plus 10% off a stay at the Hideout Boutique Hotel.
Following its UK City of Culture success, Hull is not only seeing major regeneration and a boost in visitors, but also the creation of a thriving local food and drink scene. 'Made in Hull' is fast becoming an emerging theme for the city, with restaurants, gourmet street food, gin distilleries and microbreweries joining an already well-established Ale Trail.
For a memorable gin experience, the Gin School session includes a chat with a distiller over a glass of Hotham's Gin and Tonic, as well a chance to try their gin range, before you head over to the Botanicals Bench to create your own recipe with the help of experts before distilling it… while enjoying a gin-based cocktail.
Finally, bottle, name and label your unique creation, leaving the School safe in the knowledge that, when you finish enjoying it, you can buy another bottle, or even have it recreated by expert distillers and delivered straight to your door.
The Hideout, which opened in 2017, is an independent, family-run contemporary boutique apartment hotel offering 15 quality self-catering apartments in the heart of the city. Each features a designer bathroom, integrated open-plan living area, fully equipped kitchen and is decked out with luxury designer furniture and modern technology
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