“Distilled with Wonder” is how the Raven’s put it. The first time the brand strayed away from their classic London Dry to a Distilled Contemporary Gin was back in 2018 for a seasonal release of Hrafn Winter. It was so popular that it is back and now a season core product in their range.
To be released on International Scottish Gin Day Saturday 24th October. But available to pre-order now from www hrafngin.com
I was kindly sent a sample of Hrafn (pronounced ra-vn) Winter Gin to review.
Being a big fan of their Valhalla Gin I was intrigued when they talked about a Winter Edition at an event earlier this year. Talking to the team behind Hrafn Gin is an absolute pleasure, these guys are in the business for all the right reasons, their spirits are made with integrity, taste incredible and I am happy to say they have me as a supporter. The gin was gifted but as always my review and all opinions are my own – as are any mistakes.
So, who are the Ravens? One of the principal Gods in Norse mythology, Odin, had two ravens Huginn and Muninn (meaning Thought and Memory) who oversaw the lands and reported back to Odin. Like a shaman he sent his thoughts and mind to the ravens. This mythology inspired two other ravens when they were already on a quest of their own. Callum and Peter Sim, being whisky lovers and one night enjoying an Island malt posed the question “How can we create a sipping gin with character?” They wanted to make a gin that was longer in flavour and deeper in taste than the usual gins they had tasted. They wanted something smooth that didn’t need to be mixed.
Thought and Memory is their signature gin and has won many accolades, such a Gold at this years Industry Gin Masters. The spirit is distilled in Royal Deeside and takes twice as long to distill as most gins. This gin is the base for their Hrafn Winter which then uses two other distillates. Omani Myrrh comes from pure resin from the Dohfar region and Royal Green Hojari Frankincense, a rare incense once only available to Sultans are distilled individually by Ravens Spirits and added to Thought and Memory to create Hrafn Winter. Mandarin is such a deep citrus flavour that combines a little bitter bite to the sweetness and it comes through so much here. A long, slow distillation process ensures that all the botanicals release their flavour slowly which adds to the journey of taste, the length at which you enjoy the drink. And finally the flavours are allowed to rest and marry as they compound for 4 weeks, ensuring a more mellow spirit.
The label design features the two raven’s from an engraving by US artist Larry Vienneau, which I find so attractive. I think personalised artwork on a label is a brilliant touch and sets a story as well as a deep brand identity. The deep purple of the label along with the gold lattice ensures a celtic touch. The brand’s Scottish provenance alongside Callum’s signature are displayed proudly and makes sure the product is unquestionably superior. If you ever need a lesson in how to appeal to the avid gin consumer then talk to these guys. They have a really in-depth website – how many gin websites have you scrolled through for information but all you get are quotes and marketing spiel? Hrafn actually give out their botanicals list (juniper, angelica, coriander, cassia bark, cubeb pepper, orris root and mandarin) and are unswerving in their open explanations. More than just a bottle label and a website you get complete transparency which at the moment is a thing to be treasured. The final seal for the bottle’s style is a bespoke copper closure decorated with their crested logo, a really nice touch.
On the Nose
Juniper freshness, straight away a mandarin sweetness and a subtle intriguing spice note. Not too overwhelming on the spice like I was expecting from a winter edition. Very restrained.
Juniper forward undoubtedly. Magical floral notes mingling with the citrus on the first sip. Rich, is how I would describe the mouthfeel, not quite creamy but coating your mouth and different flavours hitting different points in your mouth. More depth building with the next sip, think oud woody notes and gentle spice all tied up with that sweet mandarin. The floral notes keep humming gently while the sweet spices come and go.
Sweet, luscious and moreish. It’s soft and dreamy with so much going on yet the flavours don’t overwhelm. As I mentioned before there is some serious restraint going on where spicing is concerned. It’s seductive in the same way skin smells after a bath rather than when drenched perfume.
Distilled with Wonder indeed.
The first thing I did after tasting this neat and with tonic was to whip up some cocktails.
Hrafn Winter 75
•20ml Lemon Juice
•15ml sugar syrup
•50ml Hrafn Winter
•125ml rosé Prosecco
Shake the lemon juice, syrup and fin together with ice then pour into chilled coupé, top slowly with the prosecco.
Sublime. Couldn’t ask for a better French 75 riff and this i one I would use to pull out the stops this festive season. A proper treat.
Hrafn Raffles Sling (sippingandstyling way)
The guys here have a great list of Hrafn cocktails and they are all amazing, but sometimes we just need things to be a little simpler for making at home so I have eased off the ingredients for this to make it make at home friendly – for the full recipe check out the Hrafn website. Keep your eyes peeled to Instagram soon where I will be going through my list of substitutions for cocktail ingredients too!
•60ml Hrafn Winter
• 20ml Kirsch
•120ml pineapple juice
•20ml lime juice
•dash of bitters
Shake everything and pour over an ice filled hurricane glass and garnish!
You can get free p&p as well as a great 10% discount using code ISGD10 until 23rd October 2020 in celebration of International Scottish Gin Day going to www.hrafngin.com/shop
Will you be getting in the festive spirit early with Hrafn Winter Gin? Let me know what you think.