Monkey 47 gin – a review

P1010754This 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!

P1010755Monkey 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!

P1010756The 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.

P1010757Mixing 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.

NB Gin – a review

photoFirst of all – Happy World Gin Day! My favourite day of the year. This also coincides nicely with this month’s Craft Gin Club delivery (well, actually it arrived last week but I went on holiday so I’ve only just got round to opening it). June’s parcel arrived with a bottle of NB Gin Navy Strength (57% ABV), a bottle of Fentimans Sparkling Lime and Jasmine, a small bottle of extra dry Martini and some NB Gin Alco Olives. Yup, olives soaked in gin. Didn’t realise I needed these in my life until now.

In case you couldn’t guess from the box contents, this gin apparently makes a very good Martini, and much of this month’s Ginned talks about Martinis in history, and one of my favourite pieces of writing ever – canapés inspired by James Bond (Quantum of Scallops anyone? No? How about Diamonds are Bruschetta?). I’ll be making my first ever Martini at a later date and will report back.

P1010751NB Gin hails from Scotland (so I can claim to be getting in touch with my heritage as I drink it) and their regular London Dry Gin won the title of “Best London Dry Gin in the World, 2015”. I’ve been following them on Twitter for a while and they have quite the famous following: Johnny Roxburgh, party planner for the royal family loves it and lists it on his menus and they have been the official gin of the Brits after party in 2015 and 2016. Swanky stuff. Navy strength gin is so called as the Royal Navy required gins from the early 1800’s to be bottled at a higher abv as gin was often stored below deck adjacent to the gunpowder. They then noticed that if the gin spilt on the gunpowder, it wouldn’t light, so gin had to be a higher proof to make sure that the gunpowder would still light. Why they couldn’t store the gin somewhere else, I don’t know. But there we go, small history lesson for you. NB Gin’s makers say that the extra alcohol content increases the concentration of the flavours – key botanicals include juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, grains of paradise and ground cardamom. I’m expecting something rather intense.

The bottle has no wax seal so it is nice and easy to get into (it’s always embarrassing when you have to hack the bottle apart). It is very botanical heavy, considering how strong it is you don’t get any nasty gin smell, just fragrant and citrusy. Measured out with some cold water the juniper comes forward and you can sense the strength a bit more. Holding it on the tongue and it has a bit of a kick to it but it’s smooth at the back of the throat. I was expecting that gin burn but it’s easy to drink. There’s definitely a warmth in my chest once I’ve drunk it. It feels thick, it’s certainly not a light and flowery gin, but the flavours are well balanced

P1010752Mixed as a G&T with 50ml of the gin with 100ml of Fevertree’s light tonic water (I was fancy and treated myself) and some of my wonderful plastic ice cubes (people seriously need to invest in these) it’s now starting to smell a bit more dangerous. The smell packed more of a punch than I was expected and nearly recoiled from my glass. It certainly tastes stronger as well. The bitterness of the tonic plays up to the botanicals and the sheer strength of the gin and whilst it remains smooth on the tongue, it’s flavours are much more obvious as you drink it. The producers are correct, the flavour is more intense than I am used to. I believe this is actually my first navy strength gin – even Burleigh’s which made me strangely emotional is is only 47%. Sailors are certainly a hardy bunch. I think it’s safe to say you don’t need many of these in an evening. The intensity of the flavours also make it less “gluggable” (drink responsibly) which is a good thing at this strength! As they recommend the lime and jasmine Fentimans, I add a lime wedge which adds a slightly lighter note and certainly lifts the flavour a bit to make it less heavy.

P1010753All in all, this is different. If you like your gin strong then this is the one for you. I am very interested in trying the normal strength NB Gin to see how the flavours compare. Over on Masters of Malt the Navy Strength gin is £41.95 – slightly more expensive than I think I would pay, but this also isn’t a gin that’s going to disappear quickly!

You can find NB Gin on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Craft Gin Club are there as well (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and if you enjoy my ramblings then give me a follow on Twitter and Instagram.