Our featured gin this month comes from McLean’s. Strathaven Hedgerow is an exclusive first taste for Craft56° Scottish Gin Club members.
McLean’s (Colin & Jessica McLean) produce gin in batches of no more than 50l from their purpose built gin lab on the outskirts of Strathaven, South Lanarkshire.
Following a series of seemingly unconnected moments and experiences, McLean’s sprung into life in 2017 with their Signature Gin, which was planned and tweaked for 9 months, before being produced in a converted cupboard in Colin & Jessica’s Glasgow flat for Christmas 2017.
Strathaven Hedgerow is an earthy yet delicate London Dry Gin, with a nose that’s light and clean. Juniper, soft fruits and a floral hint all come to the fore, though there’s no sense of competition.
All botanicals used in the distillation were foraged within 5-miles of McLean’s Strathaven gin lab - a process which began during the “daily exercise” regime of the Spring/Summer 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, and one that will continue into the future with additional Strathaven Hedgerow releases now planned on a yearly basis.
This first vintage was distilled with brambles, gorse flowers, hawthorn berries, Scots pine needles and golden chanterelle mushrooms among the botanical profile.
“Strathaven Hedgerow is crafted exclusively with botanicals foraged within a 5-mile radius of our gin lab. In total, this first vintage is the result of 240 hours of botanical foraging and processing. The botanical profile will change with each future release, based on seasonal availability of botanical ingredients and our growing knowledge of our local flora.
This first vintage is fuller of body than the nose lets on, sweet summer berries, resinous conifer needles and woody angelica begin to vie for dominance. None quite achieve it; creating a spirit of impeccable balance.”
The Perfect Serve
Serve over ice, with either Fever-Tree Medeterranean Tonic or Walter Gregor Original Tonic, and garnish with citrus fruit - ideally pink grapefruit peel or slice of fresh orange - or a sprig of mint.
On the inclusion of Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, Colin said:
“Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic is our "house" mixer. It's light, refreshing, has a welcome sweetness and works with every gin in our range. Without too much in the way of botanical flavour we believe that Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic allows the gin to do almost all of the work, and throughout our recipe development for Strathaven Hedgerow, this one naturally found its way into our tasting.
When Craft56° offered us the chance to release Strathaven Hedgerow in partnership with the Scottish Gin Club, they supplied us with a range of Scottish tonics and mixers to find the perfect Scottish match.
In truth, we didn't expect Walter Gregor to take the top spot, but hands down it did. Typically it isn't a natural partner for the other gins in our range, all of which are already packed with citrus flavours. Walter Gregor's Original features lemongrass, orange, lemon and lime!
Strathaven Hedgerow however is without headline citrus notes, and Walter Gregor Original Tonic sets off it’s fruity, floral, sweet and earthy notes perfectly.”
We’ve supplied both Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and Walter Gregor Original Tonic to allow you to balance one against the other.
- ABV: 43.1%
- Location: Strathaven, South Lanarkshire
- Released: July 2021
The Strathaven Hedgerow Gin is made using a total of 11 botanicals. The botanical mix includes brambles, gorse flowers, hawthorn berries, Scots pine needles and golden chanterelle mushrooms.
All images © Craft56°