Caorunn Gin… Beat the Mumbai heat!

Yes this is a whisky blog.

However I did warn that from time to time another tipple or two may make an appearance.

And I think we CAN make an exception for this gin – given that it is made at a malt distillery – Balmanech.

I’ve had the opportunity to sample it thrice in 2015:

  • Once at a BMC member’s home in a highly convivial social evening
  • Again as the ‘starter’ to sip before getting down to the serious business of a whisky master class with Stuart Harvey, Inver House Master Distiller
  • A wildly popular ‘appetiser‘ for a Whisky Ladies evening with Karen Walker

In all cases, it was served with an apple and an equal portion of tonic to gin. Perfection!

Bright, light, highly refreshing. Delicate notes.

As Karen shared, the five points of the red star bring together the Caorunn gin elements – bog myrtle, rowan berry, heather, coul blush apple, dandelion.

Yet since then… only a whiff in Winnipeg’s liquor mart.

Til today! Thanks to my partner’s recent trip to London, our liquor cabinet is graced by our very own bottle.

As Mumbai’s 2nd summer comes upon us, temperatures rise, a chilled G&T or other assorted beverages seem just right! Oh happy days!

Caorunn Gin (Courtesy International Beverage House)

Caorunn Gin (Courtesy International Beverage House)

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Getting distracted in a Winnipeg Liquor Mart…

It started off innocently enough… “Let’s go pick up a few things for tomorrow’s open house!”

My sister and her partner kindly host a gathering when I’m back in my hometown of Winnipeg. This time her partner suggested we head over to the local “LC” (Liquor Commission) and grocery store to stock up on a few drinkables and edibles for the celebration.

Cue wide-eyed kid in a candy store dazed expression… because the array of wines, beer and other liquid libations available in your regular old liquor store in Winnipeg far outdo your local Mumbai “wine shop”. They also have multiple tasting corners to try before you buy – I’m a HUUUGE fan of this concept!

First I was introduced to a “Growler Bar” where you re-fill your empty growler (1.89 L) or howler (946 ml) with beers on tap. Naturally everything is available to sip before you commit.

Growler Bar (Photo:

Growler Bar (Photo: Liquor Marts)

Then I was distracted by the whisky section and a helpful lass who shared tales of her adventures with craft distilleries in BC… which turned from various whiskies to other offerings…

Fort Richmond Liquor Mart

Followed by further digression to another sampling counter where I revisited the delightful Caorunn gin. Which lead in turn to an exploration of:

  • Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 40% (Batch 18) from Ontario – remarkably nuanced with 22 botanicals weaving together to awaken your senses with a teasing perfume
  • Spain’s Gin Mare 42.7% with its Mediterranean flavours of olives, rosemary, thyme, basil and mandarin is bolder and shouts out to be transformed into a wicked martini

Dillon's + Gin Mare

Apparently my father’s quest to obtain Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was remembered! “Hey you are the one that lives in India and writes about whisky, aren’t you?”

Rather than hoard bottles, when Northern Harvest Rye initially flew off the shelves after Jim Murray catapulted it to his global top spot, Canadian liquor stores were re-stocked with the remaining 200 cases at the same price… with free samples being generously shared so the public could enjoy. How utterly Canadian, eh?

While we were decidedly delayed in completing our simple shopping list, what fun to while away some time with friendly knowledgable staff while sampling a few interesting wares not readily accessible in Mumbai!

Any local liquor store that you enjoy visiting?

Related posts:

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies with Karen Walker and Caorunn Gin

To ease into our evening with Karen Walker, Marketing Director of InterBeverage Group, we began with a refreshing gin cocktail that greeted our ladies as they waltzed in the door from all corners of Mumbai.

Some chose with soda, some preferred tonic. All had their gin topped with a thin slice of apple.

Caorunn Gin (Courtesy International Beverage House)

Caorunn Gin (Courtesy InterBeverage House)

Caorunn Gin aka the appetiser

Here is what we found:

  • Nose – Like a perfume! Strong dandelion, sense of ‘branching out’ into different elements
  • Taste – Comparable to Hendrick’s yet more nuanced. Sweet, smooth on the tongue, complex with layering
  • Finish – Let’s just say, we all thought it was a brilliant ‘finish’ to a hard day’s work and a very welcome way to begin our whisky evening

Karen shared the care taken in sourcing and blending five local botanicals to make a gin that is distinctly Scottish, given life in their Balmenach distillery.

Without a doubt, the Caorunn Gin was a complete hit and several whisky women later blamed the sample for sparking a re-interest in gin!

Up next:

Related posts sampling with Stuart Harvey:

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Mumbai’s Whisky Ladies meet Karen Walker of Inver House

Now… I could tell you serious stories of sniffing, sipping, swishing, swilling, and eventually swallowing.

However this is the tale of how a bunch of women got together one evening and managed to still stand after five (or was it six?) fabulous beverages.

Some of Whisky Ladies of Mumbai

Karen with some of Whisky Ladies of Mumbai

Whisky Ladies go pro!

Yes… it was the night we graduated to power point presentations with insights from a real live whisky professional! Who just so happens to be the absolutely delightful, entertaining and highly knowledgeable Karen Walker, Global Marketing Head for Scottish Brands of InterBeverage Group.

Here is what we sampled with Karen with full posts about the Whisky Ladies experiences:

Related posts sampling Inver House offerings with Master Distiller Stuart Harvey from earlier in 2015:

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