It was like something out of a John le Carré novel: a phone call came through asking me to be at a certain place at a certain time. 'Come alone' they said, 'Can Mollydog come?' I asked. 'Oh, all right then' said the voice.
So today off I went to the rendezvous point: The Unit Gym at Banchory. Sitting there like an unfit ostrich amongst toned flamingos I was an easy target to spot. The frosty weather, also meant that I was literally, the Spy that came in from the cold.
Fashionably late, my guests arrived - it was the Twin River mob. Their topic was their new Twin River Naked Gin 'Uncut' Edition. Feared by many as the strongest gin in the world, this is a fabled beast coming in at 77% ABV.
Twin River Distillery is based in Banchory and is part of Deeside Brewery. They have already offered Twin River Naked Gin, but also a Navy Strength, a Rhubarb Old Tom and Spiced Plum Gin - now they have 'UnCut' - a very limited Edition that they planned to launch and showcase at GIN:NE's pre-Festival Red Carpet Event at Thainstone House on Thursday.
I went into my bag and pulled out my trusty enamel gin cup. They filled a thimble!
On the nose there is a creamy nutty scent, almost buttery from their in-house neutral spirit made from barley. The alcohol has power but I still get heavy juniper and a sweet spiciness. This 'uncut' version of Naked Gin has only a few ingredients - Macedonian juniper and angelica, giving a deep resonance; cassia bark giving warmth, rose root for sweetness and all cut with the sherbet sparkle of grapefruit.
I take a deep breath, then sip it neat. Astonishingly light, the alcohol evaporates, like mist burnt away in the morning sun and strangely it cools to spice. Then there is the cleansing sherbet zing of the grapefruit. All finished with a sweet floral undercurrent from the rose. The mouth feel is incredibly creamy.
My tum was now experiencing a gentle central heating that was very pleasantly warming. Emboldened, I got out my cup, and helped myself and added Fever-Tree premium tonic in a 1:2 ratio. With tonic the grapefruit really sings - making this a full bodied gin that has a light high-hat of citrus that gives it a refreshing feel; and on the close the warmth and sweetness of the cassia and rose. This would make a mean Martini!
Ryan and Liam of Twin River Distillery
I was sitting and smiling - then I had an idea and ordered a coffee. Could 'Uncut' stand up to coffee and become that very elusive creature - the after-dinner gin. 'Yes, Yes' and thrice 'Yes', infact the grapefruit becomes even more prominent. Coffee is known for its cleaning, astringent effect and this usually kills a gin. But with 'Uncut' they both held hands and started to sing - each isolating the other and making the gin more 'ginny' and the coffee more 'coffeey'. It was call-and-return antiphony in a cup and glass. Maybe, not correct english but 'Uncut' is at 77% ABV and I was getting a little excited.