By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
The first time I saw it we were in Scotland. I full on freaked out at a small spirits shop in Edinburgh when I noticed this quirky bottle of gin sitting on the shelf. For years, the Monkey 47 had been unobtanium, a regrettable situation for the knowledgeable and gin soaked. None of us had experienced this legendary gin yet, but thanks to the UK's lax wine shop regulations -the old "taste whatever you like" rule was in full effect. We were soon dunking our noses in a few splashes of its magnificence. I think tasting this after several other gins really put into perspective how special it really is. Created through the confluence of British aesthetics, Indian flavors, and the distinctly Teutonic natural treasure that is the Schwarzwald, The Monkey packs an enormous amount of complexity into that little bottle. It's the sort of gin that will save that cocktail you're about to ruin. You could have just as well served it straight because it sips beautifully even at room temperature. It’s quite a departure from your standard recipe gin, although some familiar elements are layered throughout. There is a strong yet soothing evergreen presence. A keynote if you will, but by no means the only focus. On the nose a dried floral aroma is accented by a twinge of spicy ginger. At the front, what seems like a citrus or chamomile quickly morphs into tea tree and sweet herbs, lemon verbena -now cucumber peel and pepper, it just keeps on going. No point in continuing to describe its flavor, its not working. It has a glorious tendency to be completely different with each sip, a true roller-coaster of flavors. Every single one of its 47 botanicals is tuned to the same perfect frequency. It's wild and utterly fabulous, but not in an awkward way. Instead, it seems to be all very deliberate, even stoic. I gladly forked over the £s the shop was asking, as did my colleagues. We nearly cried when we heard it would finally be arriving stateside.