Saturday, 20 July 2013

Caorunn Gin - A Sensorium experience and review

A few weeks ago, I discovered Caorunn Gin through a master-class at their Taste of London stand.
I have always been a gin lover from the classic G&T to the more fancy Gin Martini cocktail.

For many years, only Gordon Dry Gin with Schweppes tonic water would do for G&T's
(Fever tree since Schweppes got greedy and replaced some of the sugar by artificial sweeteners in all their drinks !)
Then I discovered Bombay Sapphire with Noilly Prat for dry martinis
Eventually Hendrick, Tanqueray, Plymouth etc in martini cocktails
As you experiment with different brands, you realise that gin, like whisky have many faces, each with its own predominant flavour (Juniper for Gordon, spices for Bombay, and cucumber for Tanqueray)

What does Caorunn say ?

Photo credit : Caorunn Gin webiste

What do I think ?

Caorunn Gin Sensorium in full swing at Taste of London
Photo from Caorunn's Gin Facebook page

Where does it come from ?

As you guess from the name Caorunn is a Scottish Gin.
Scotland is not usually associated with gin, I know !
But Caorunn has mixed the best of both world : Using the traditional ingredients of a London dry gin; produced in a former whisky distillery in Scotland (Balmenach whisky distillery) and added some local botanicals to make it really special

How does it taste ?

The 6 traditional London dry gin ingredients are :
Juniper berries, coriander seeds, orange peel, lemon peel, cassia bark, and angelica root.
Caorunn has added 5 botanicals in its mix : Rowan berry, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion and coul blush apple.

The predominant taste was the Juniper. Good news since this is a characteristic of London dry gin and allows it to qualify as such.
The second note was the rowan berry. A piquant red berry used in Scottish traditional medicine for century.

I found it very interesting to drink dry.
It tasted somehow cleaner and crisper than many gin.
The colour is perfectly clear, like pure water.

What about G&T ?

The classic G&T would add a lemon slice or peel.
Photo from
Caorunn website
I love to add a couple of raspberry to Gordon's and Fever Tree as well as some cucumber to Tanqueray & Tonic.

Caorunn has the particularity of being best enjoyed with thin slices of red apples.
(Remember, one of the botanicals is blush apple ;-) )
Our host allowed me to discover a new tonic water in the process : Fentiman's !
I am sure you have come across their pink or victorian lemonade, dandelion and burdock, shandy or curiosity cola. The retro-victorian bottle and distinctive dog picture on the bottle neck ….
If you thought Fever Tree was a good tonic; Fentiman's is just as good and perfect for a Caorunn G&T.
Fentiman has the particularity of adding botanicals to his tonic water (Juniper berry and Kaffir lime leaf)
And at only 35kcal per 100ml, Fentiman's tonic is slightly dryer than Fever Tree (38kcal per 100ml)

Recipe here :
Caorunn Apple smash Summer G&T recipe

Caorunn Martini's glass with
The 5 botanical seals

Martini - Stirred or shaken ?

For me, shaken please. I like my martini chilled.
But again I have learned some amazing trick from Caorunn :
Churchill used to rinse his martini glass with vermouth, tip the vermouth and fill the glass with gin.
What's the point will you tell me.
Our host demonstrated this with whisky : pour a small quantity of whisky into the glass, coat the glass with the whisky, tip the liquid and add the gin …. Bingo, you have a whisky martini !
I would have never associated the two flavours together but must admit it worked a treat !

Back to the classic martini; my preferences goes towards a dry martini.
Meaning, 2/3 gin & 1/3 vermouth
Shaken with ice

Find a whole range of  dry and wet martinis hereCaorunn gin - Martini recipes

What about martini cocktail ?

A corer for the apple, baller (handy to hull strawberries
amongst many things, zester for the citrus and knife to cut
citrus and apple slices
When I was a small girl, my father sometimes used to enjoy a glass of Green Chartreuse after a good supper on a hot Summer night.
The colour was interesting for a child, very similar to the sickly sweet mint cordial children enjoy with Perrier or lemonade in France but the fragrance was something else … !
I was always allowed to "dip my lips" to taste.
Continentals never saw anything wrong in letting children taste alcohol, even at a small age. The quantity was so minute that it would get us used to various tastes and fragrances.
"Dipping one's lip" was literally dipping one's lip ! You do not take a sip, not enough fluid to swallow but your nose does most of the job for tasting. And you get the tingly sensation of alcohol on your lips.
Iain Griffiths with his creation
At the Caorunn's gin storyteller
competition in London 2012

   Anyway, back to our cocktail !
    Iain Griffiths, Caorunn's guest bar-tender for that day really
    found the perfect combination for me :
     Caorunn gin, Dolin White vermouth, Aperol bitter aperitif and
    Green Chartreuse.
     You can find the recipe on Caorunn's Facebook page

      And so many more here : Caorunn Gin Cocktails

Where can I buy it ?

In London : Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods
All over UK : Waitrose and selected independent stockists
Online :

What is my final verdict ?
Caorunn first of all is a small batch gin. Hand produced with traditional method … Big kudos for this !
The modern / original twist of the Celtic botanical additions make it that little bit special
And finally, considering the superior quality and amount of craftsmanship (and love) gone into each bottle £29.49 is incredible value for money.

I can only give Caorunn gin a 4.8 out of 5 !

Disclaimer : I discovered Caorunn Gin following a win to a competition run by Easy Living Magazine. The prize consisted of a Caorunn Gin Hamper, a picnic hamper and a gin Master Class at Taste of London 2013.
The decision to write this review and the opinions expressed are solely mine and have not been influenced in any way.
This post has not been sponsored by Caorunn, Easy Living or any third party.


  1. You're so right about gins having "different faces". Discovered Jenever when I was in Holland and Hendricks over here. There's a lot more to gin than Gordon's!

    1. The Dutch are really good with gin too.
      Most Jenever seem to have a much lower alcohol content than British gin.

  2. very interesting, great review

  3. I want some. it's a bit heavy on the price but I'm sure it's worth it.

  4. I love Gin! So will definately be giving this a taste! Thank you for the recommendation!

  5. Lovely! I love gin so thank for the review

    1. You are most welcome Nicole.
      Let us know what you thought.

  6. My in-laws like Gin & this sounds like a very good drop. This could be a christmas prezzie. Thanks for the review :)

    1. I am sure they would enjoy it.
      Thank you for stopping by.