As you will no doubt be aware, Strane Uncut at 76% previously held the record for the strongest commercially available gin. Uncut’s high strength was not a deliberate attempt to create the strongest gin, more a consequence of Pär Caldenby’s pursuit of flavour intensity by introducing a blending stage in the creation of Strane Merchant Strength 47.4% and Strane Navy Strength 57.1%. With Strane Uncut 76% you could say Pär took the concept of cask strength whisky to gin, i.e. if you don’t add water there will be more flavour. As it was, when they launched Strane Uncut 76% they assumed someone somewhere would have a similar gin on the market of similar strength or higher, but as they spoke to gin bars and gin gurus it became clear that Strane Uncut 76% was a new concept and was certainly the strongest gin in Sweden and the UK, if not further afield. Unwittingly Pär had created a new category of gin.
Having eventually claimed that Strane Uncut 76% to be the strongest available, it was inevitable that someone at some point would try to create a stronger gin, and thus after three years they saw three contenders at the start of this year unseat Strane Uncut 76% from the strongest gin podium.
Whilst Pär never set out to create the strongest gin, nor start a strength race, having been challenged, he could not resist responding, which leads us to: Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5%. This is a deliberate attempt to push the boundaries of gin distilling to the extreme, as far as intensity of flavour and strength goes, using a traditional copper pot still. With Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5%, Pär has tweaked the production process to take the intensity and strength to a new level. This was done with a much stronger charge of the still than usual and also by doubling the volume of botanicals, to maximise flavour. Given the high strength Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5% is only to be enjoyed in the smallest of measures, hence it will only be available in 200ml bottles. Exercising due care, it can be savoured neat, ideally chilled, in very small sips (with a glass of water on the side). This delivers an intensive juniper-led flavour impact, with great complexity from the other botanicals, including coriander seeds, almonds, liquorice root, lime and fresh herbs. In Pär’s words, ‘This leaves the palate clean as a whistle’. For a longer serve do try one part Ultra Uncut 82.5% to two parts of Fentiman’s tonic water, on plenty of large ice cubes. Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5% also makes an interesting base for creating your own cocktails, fruit liqueurs and infusions. Commenting on the new release Pär said ‘Strongest gin or not, we believe gin enthusiasts will enjoy and cherish the incredible intensity of flavour that our Strane Ultra Uncut delivers’. Strane Ultra Uncut 82.5% certainly gives a new meaning to flavour-led.