But a lot of the flavour and mouthfeel of the drink actually depends on the strength, so it’s something that we’ve chosen very carefully.
Looking around our range of products you might be tempted to think that Dan just really likes the number 46. He does, actually, it’s a good, solid number, but there’s some chemical reasoning in there too! Starting with the whisky, the legal minimum strength in the UK is 40%, so we knew it was going to be at least that. But 46% is quite a common strength for whiskies these days for one crucial reason – it’s the minimum strength at which the fatty acids, which are flavoursome bits, will stay in solution at room temperature. This sounds a bit techy, but what it means is that if the whisky were bottled at 44%, for example, those fatty acids would emulsify, coming out of solution and forming a murky haze. By bottling at 46% or stronger, they don’t emulsify so you maintain a lovely clear whisky in the bottle.
Now, we only have to worry about those fatty acids appearing because we haven’t filtered them out using chill filtering – but that’s a matter for another post!
And that reason applies to our gin as well – we use really oily botanicals, like all that fresh citrus peel, so we need enough strength that the oils from the botanicals won’t make it hazy in the bottle. So you have to get it cold or diluted for our trademark pearly louche to appear.
There’s also the added benefit for both the whisky and the gin that they taste pretty delicious at 46% ABV too, it seems to us to be just the right balance between flavour and alcohol. Cheers!