11 years ago we reviewed a fresh new release from Caorunn Gun, infused with such exotic botanicals as rowan berry, bog myrtle, and Coul blush apple. (See the link above for the full list.) Now Caorunn is out with a “Highland strength” edition, nearly 25 proof higher in strength than the original. (Botanicals here are the same, only the abv has changed.)
It’s a surprisingly fruit-heavy gin, dropping sweet orange and grapefruit notes on the nose first, followed by a gentle hit of juniper. (Essentially it’s got the same notes as standard strength Caorunn, but backwards.) Duskily earthy as it develops in glass, the palate is informed first by mandarin orange notes, then greener elements of thyme, sage, and rosemary evolving. Quite peppery on the finish; here I find the gin departing more than expected from the original expression, with more bite and less vanilla sweetness than in the original. Water tempers the heat nicely, allowing some of that sugar to be coaxed out — though you’ll need to work at it.