Top-Shelf Gin: 10 Unique Brands to Try

Gin brands have been around for ages and are continuously evolving, changing, and multiplying. From popular to craft, award-winning to best priced, unique flavored to sipping smoothness, a few have risen to the top, scoring themselves a spot on the top shelf of many bars, hotels, and homes. Although top shelf is usually classified as top price, not all of the selections below are based on bank breaking capabilities. Rather, they are based on quality and taste, many of which can be found in your local liquor stores or purchased online. Without further delay, we present to you the 10 top-shelf gin brands to try.

Monkey 47:
Crafted using 47 different botanicals mainly grown in Germany’s Black Forest, Monkey 47 is no ordinary gin. Accompanied by a unique back story, the brand is inspired by an Indian born British WWII pilot that helped rebuild the Berlin Zoo and in the process helped a monkey named Max. The mixtures of the botanicals are perfectly balanced between citrus, pine, tart, pepper, and herbal notes for a beautiful aroma and smooth finish that one might even call a work of art.


The Botanist:
With its Scottish heritage front and center, the Botanist takes pride in distilling a spirit that is routed and grounded in its land. The 22 botanicals infused gin has managed to create a spirit that is universally loved and enjoyed all while being environmentally forward. Utilizing sustainable growth and waste avoiding practices, the brand provides a slow-distilled spirit that uncovers layers of flavor and complexity with each sip.


Highclere Castle Gin:
The castle on the bottle might look familiar as it is the set for the British show Downton Abbey. Highclere Castle Gin is produced in England’s oldest gin distillery and is inspired by the castle’s gardens and local ingredients grown on the estate. The award-winning spirit merges tastes of herbal and citrus with oats and sweetness that result in a uniquely smooth finish.


Ki No Bi:
Translating to “The Beauty of the Season”, the brand is first to hail from Japan, using a variety of botanicals and ingredients regionally grown. The rice-based spirit is layered with flavors of citrus, flowers, and local herbs that perfectly combine for a unique floral gin with hints of earthiness.


The Italian gin is a bit of a minimalist compared to others who have made the list, using only five botanicals in addition to juniper in its distillation process. All blended together with the purest source of Italy’s mineral water extracted from the spring of the Monviso Mountain, the brand is a juniper forward, crisp masterpiece.


Playmouth gin is the one and only brand that makes plymouth style gin. It is distilled in the same location and under the same process since 1793. A classic gin, Plymouth uses Dartmoor water and seven botanicals that create a peppery, floral flavor spirit that is as unique as its creators.


KOVAL Barreled Gin:
In comparison to most gins, KOVAL Barreled gin is extremely unique in its production process. Starting out with Koval’s dry gin, the spirit is transferred into whiskey barrels where the flavors are mixed into liquid gold of sweetness from the wood and whiskey remnants, resulting in a uniquely different gin taste of butterscotch.


Nolet’s Gin Dry Reserve:
Next on the list is a limited edition gin from the makers of Nolet’s, inspired by Carolus Nolet, Sr., a 10th generation distillery owner. The bottles are so scarce they are given out annually and are individually numbered by hand. Made using both traditional and exotic botanicals, the spirit results in a mixture of sweet and herbal notes.


Watenshi Gin Bottling Note:
Last but not least, comes the gin at the highest of shelves. Though the brand’s price can be steep, the distillation process is as unique as it gets. The gin is made using the angel’s share of the Cambridge Distillery gin, which would normally be evaporated. This results in only 15 milliliters of spirit during production, making it the smallest of small batch distillation with only six bottles made in the process. To top it off, the spirit is poured into a hand-blown glass bottle, finished with silver.