This week was historic. It’s the week that Britain threw a strop and voted itself out of the EU. I’m having post-Brexit Blues which coincided with pay day which ended up with me in Grape and Grain after work buying myself a bottle of gin. Monkey 47 to be precise. I’ve tried it before but a long time ago, so after an extensive discussion with the shop owner and staff I decided to give it another go. Also it’s German so prices will clearly rocket if we actually leave so thought I’d get it for a good price while I can!
Monkey 47 hails from the Black Forests of Germany and was first produced in 2008. It went on to win Best Gin in the World Gin catagory in 2011 at the IWSC and Gold in the World Spirit Awards. So it comes highly recommended. The name hails from the 47 botanicals used to make the gin, and it is handily bottled at 47% as well (they sure know how to create a strong brand – speaking of which I highly recommend their website). Some of their botanicals are listed on their website’s Encyclopaedia Botanica. Each batch is hand bottled and they list their batch number on the bottle – apparently each batch is subtly different, I guess I’ll just have to buy another bottle to see!
The bottle isn’t sealed with wax, but has a cork edged with a metal ring, going for an old pharmaceutical look. The cork comes out easily and the smell is quite fruity. Nothing overpowering. Mixed with water and the juniper comes to the front. Super smooth and easy to drink, it again has no overpowering taste to it or a chemical burn that some gins have, leaving just a fragrant taste in your mouth. The 47% abv gives it a warmth that isn’t as overpowering as a navy strength gin.
Mixing up a G&T with some light Fevertree tonic it really comes alive. A variety of flavours swill across your tongue. It has that exciting sherbert quality that Cornelius Ampleforths Bathtub Gin has. It’s sweet but not cloying. Tart but not sour. Hints of pepper. I add a lemon wedge which brings out a citrus tone and makes it very refreshing. Wowzers. I’m super sad I haven’t embraced this earlier.
I paid £39 for this at Grape and Grain. Worth. Every. Damn. Penny. Even if it hadn’t been pay day. Get this now and add it to your collection. Yes it’s pricier than Gordon’s but my god it’s more exciting. Masters of Malt stocks it for £36.46 (plus delivery) – and if you need more convincing then check out some of it’s reviews!
You can follow Monkey 47 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If you’re ever in Haywards Heath, head to Grape and Grain and speak to Ed. He loves gin and will happily chat to you about it for as long as you want (until you have to run off and catch a train home in my case) – or they’re on Facebook.
Finally, if you like what you read and see then give me a follow on Twitter and Instagram.
Martin Miller’s Gin is probably the most ‘mainstream’ gin that I have reviewed so far. By mainstream, I mean it is available in shops and bars, but it isn’t quite at the Gordon’s/Bombay Sapphire level.
Launched in 1999, the London Dry Gin made itself unique by blending the spirit with Icelandic water. Whilst it follows the traditional flavours and dryness, but is distilled twice – once with the juniper and ‘earthier’ botanicals which are later blended with the citrus elements – in this case “bitter orange peel from Seville, lemon and lime peel“. Bottled at 40%, this gin is what I would call mid-market – more expensive than a Gordon’s but not the pricey £30+ level of the ‘premium’ gins.
The bottle features a screw top, a sign of a mass produced gin. When opened it has a soft smell to it, not too harsh or dry, with the citrus notes coming through but not over powering. As per my usual method, I mixed the gin with equal amounts of water which released the smell of juniper, although not as intense as some of the other gins I have had. Soft on the tongue, the juniper comes through at the back and a slight bitterness on the front of the tongue hinting at the anise botanical. It tastes quite pure (if that makes sense) – they say it is blended with 100% pure Icelandic water “the properties of which give Martin Miller’s Gin it’s creamy soft palate”. I agree. Creamy isn’t a word I would usually use in this situation but it makes sense once you taste it. It rolls easily over the tongue, with flavour but not over powering.
G&T time. I found a bottle of Fevertree lurking in my kitchen (bonus) so made up a simple G&T (although I didn’t pay attention when I poured it leaving it around 50/50 gin to tonic. Not to everyone’s taste but I reckon that’s about right). As the weather is warming up ever so slightly I’m finding I like more ice in my drink; nothing says summer like a very cold G&T (preferably on the beach about 50 feet from my front door). It has a certain tang to it (this might be the gin or the amount of gin, not entirely certain). It reminds me of Blackwater no 5. in that whilst it certainly has character it isn’t overwhelming with flavour. Add a lime wedge and it comes alive. The extra citrus brings out the subtler flavours. It remains slightly bitter at the back of the throat and the dryness of the tonic enhances that (that taste is one of my favourite things about a G&T – ironically this is what I used to hate before I became a ginaholic). The taste lingers in your mouth. Probably not for those who aren’t a fan of a dry gin (you know who you are). Definitely one for those that like that.
At this point, I usually leave my review, but I’d read before that Martin Miller’s works well with strawberries and black pepper. 50ml gin. Ice. Sliced strawberries. Tonic. Black pepper. It’s lovely. The strawberries give a fruity twist against the dry tonic and the black pepper adds a lovely sense of bitterness. I’d recommend making one of these, plus you can’t go wrong with boozy fruit.
I got my bottle in Waitrose (I was feeling fancy and I treated myself) for £26 and they are currently offering 20% off all gin making it just £20.60 (so head down to get a proper fancy gin and make the most of it).
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