This is no ordinary gin. Monkey 47 has crafted an incredibly unique and high-quality elixir – presented in an amber apothecary style jar – from 47 botanicals (most gins average around 10) grown predominantly in Germany’s Black Forest, or Schwarzwald. The backstory to this gin is pretty remarkable, revolving around an Indian-born British Royal Air Force Commander stationed in Germany after WWII who helped rebuild the Berlin zoo and, in the process, came to support an egret monkey named Max. The gin itself pushes the boundaries of the category. An initial familiar aroma of juniper leads you down a winding path where citrus (bright lime), pine, tart berry, pepper, and loads of herbal and beautiful bitter notes deepen the surprisingly smooth finish. Where some gins aim for clarity and precision, Schwarzwald dry gin finds harmony with a symphony orchestra full of flavors. The complexity of this gin (47% ABV), made from a base spirit of molasses, makes it somewhat of an enigma, a work of art to meditate on. So don’t hesitate to sip this neat or on the rocks to experience its range of aromas and flavors before integrating it into cocktails.
Stirred cocktails offer the best opportunity to experience the wide range of Schwarzwald gin’s flavors. Try this with a perfect martini, or better yet, a gin-forward Negroni, where the gin’s aromatics rise to greet you and its bitter notes round out the finish.
G&T / Highball variations: 3.5/5
Martini variations: 4/5
Shaken cocktails: 4/5
Negroni variations: 4.5/5
Gin Review: 4.5