Caorunn is a small batch hand-crafted Scottish gin. The name is the Gaelic word for Rowan Berry, which is the botanical at the heart of the product.
Price: ~ £28
Coul blush apple
Caorunn gin is vaporised through the world’s only working Copper Berry Chamber. The five key, locally foraged botanicals are mixed with the other, classic botanicals and spread across the four perforated trays of the chamber, where the spirit is vapour infused to make the final product.
I am quite excited to review this gin as I know that it is very highly rated. I bought it on sale at the supermarket some time ago and must admit that at the time I was underwhelmed, so I’m keen to take another try!
Caorunn has a fairly distinctive bottle shape in that it has a round top with pentagonal bottom. Sitting prominently at the front is a bold red five-pointed asterisk which is pretty much the gin’s trademark. Both are nods to Caorunn’s five Celtic botanicals which are also labeled around the bottle neck. There’s a handy guide to pronouncing the name on the front label, and everythig else is kept very simple and clean, which is how it stands out so well.
The aroma is very clean and fresh, with a rich, creamy pine rising from the glass. There are late notes of bitterness which no doubt come from the rowan berries, but they’re softened by a delicate citrus and wrapped in the faintest hints of sweet spices. It is a lovely smelling gin, but subtle, not punchy.
Neat, there’s nowhere near the viscocity I am used to from a lot of gins. It’s watery, but in a good way that makes the gin feel all the more fresh and clean. The first thing I taste, beyond that juniper kick, is a gentle spice with a hint of apple, quickly followed by a robust citrus flavour that coats the tongue. The bitterness of the rowan berries is kept well in check by the other flavours, while the heather glides along the outsides beautifully.
Add a splash of water, and those apples start to bob around nicely, but with an enhanced bitterness that just about remains pleasant. There are much greener flavours here, fresh and leafy, but bordering on a sour, bitter, earthiness. The citrus helps keep things light and fresh though.
Finally, as per Caorunn’s recommendations, I served up a G&T (1:1 ratio!) with a slice of apple (Jazz, for anyone interested!). It’s lovely and crisp, with a lot more sweetness than you might expect. The smell of the apple adds to the taste, and there’s a real sense of that wild, foraged element.
Caorunn is a very good gin, but its subtlety is where I think both its strength and its weakness lies. It’s cool and composed, but slightly aloof in that to really appreciate it you need to pay it a lot of attention. Easy for a review, but I think less effective in an everyday drinking scenario. The flavours, nice as they are, do not quite stand out enough to really make this gin as special as everything about it is designed to make it sound, and while the quality is unmistakable, there’s just not enough to it for me to really make it shine.
Remove half a feather if you like punchy, full-bodied gins.
Caorunn is available online and in supermarkets
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.