You'd be hard pressed to find a London Dry Gin with a greater sense of place—or terroir—than Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin. It's handcrafted in the Scottish Highlands using a handful of botanicals indigenous to the Speyside and pristine spring water drawn from the surrounding boreal forest. And while Caorunn (pronounced in Gaelic "ka–roon") meets all of the technical requirements of the "London Dry" category, it doesn't drink like the prototype London Dry. So if you're looking for a singular gin experience, Celtic-borne Caorunn is just the ticket.
The critically acclaimed brand is distilled in small batches by famed whisky producer, Balmenach Distillery. There gin master Simon Buley assembles a botanical blend that features 6 traditional botanicals—juniper, orange peels, coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, lemon peels—and 5 botanicals that are native to the Speyside—rowan berry, coul blush apple, dandelion, myrtle and Scottish heather. Growing conditions from the humidity and average temperature to the amount of sunshine and annual rainfall will have an affect on the local plant life, and thus the finished gin.
The hand-foraged aromatics are put on trays and placed in a still called a Copper Berry Chamber, one of only three like it in the world. Built in the 1920s, the still is designed such that the pure grain spirits when vaporized pass through the trays of botanicals and become infused with their flavors and aromas. The gin ultimately makes four passes through the still before being bottled at 41.8% alcohol (83.6 proof).
Caorunn Gin is deserving of its top-shelf status. It has a full, lushly textured body and the engaging aromas of piney juniper, lemon zest, black pepper, cinnamon and subtle floral notes. The palate is an earthy blend of herbaceous, citrus, floral, black pepper, anise and red fruit flavors. The juniper reappears on the long, dry finish.
"With Caorunn we have distilled our Celtic landscape into a glass. The fact that Gin Master Simon Buley oversees every aspect of the production process ensures that the spirit is of the highest quality," says Ibolya Bakos-Tonner, global brand manager for Caorunn Gin. "To promote our gin's terroir-driven profile, we've launched a year-long initiative called 'Forage to Glass' that highlights the use of our locally foraged ingredients to express flavor and a sense of locality in the glass."