Not to be a person to stereotype, but I don’t think it’ll be far-fetched to draw a link between Monkey 47’s German roots and those classic German attributes of precision and meticulous attention to detail.
While most gin brands are made from around 12 botanicals, German-born Monkey 47 Gin is made with a whopping 47 (that’s right, 47!) different botanicals. Each was carefully curated and selected by head distiller Christoph Keller after countless taste experiments documented obsessively across excel sheets.
If you’re wondering, the eye-watering list of 47 botanicals are as follows: Juniper, Almonds, mint, allspice, elderberry, English Hawthorn, Pomelo, orange, blackberry, clove, licorice, sage, acacia flower, ginger, jasmine, rose hip, lemon verbena, camomile, angelica, nutmeg, musk mallow, lavender, coriander, grains of paradise, Scarlet Monarda, Marshmallow, spruce shoots, black pepper, cardamom, cassia, Cinnamon, cranberry, cubeb peppers, honeysuckle, lemon, lemongrass, lime leaves, orris, cranberry, lingonberry, pimento, ambrette, bee balm, dog rose, lemon balm, blackthorn (sloe), sweet flag.
While you’d be forgiven for not being able to remember all 47 botanicals, the key ones to keep in mind if you’re tasting this gin would be the use of hawthorn, blackberry and lingonberry. These fruity botanicals were specifically added to invoke a distinctive “Black Forest feel” in the Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. Apart from the flagship Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin though, another popular expression from the German brand is the Monkey 47 Sloe Gin - made by taking the Schwarzwald Dry Gin and macerated with German sloeberries for three months.
Today, we’re doing a back-to-back tasting of the Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin and Monkey 47 Sloe Gin. So let’s get to it!
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin - Tasting Notes
Nose: Very bright and fruity. I get notes of rose, citrus and juniper at the fore, with some subtle fruity underpinnings of blackcurrant and black berry notes adding depth.
Palate: The sweetness of blackberries, blackthorn, and stewed raspberry jam comes forth first, before being joined by more earthy, herbaceousness notes of licorice root and pine. Upon further sips, I also get some light spiciness of coriander and cinnamon. All these fruity, vegetal notes held together by an earthy juniper backbone.
Finish: Medium, with notes of juniper, pepper, lemon and some lingering berry sweetness.
What stands out for this gin is how big, punchy and powerful it is. It’s remarkably flavoursome with lots of different fruity, herbal, and spicy notes being held together in a harmonious balance, perhaps reflecting the eyewatering amount of 47 botanicals that have gone into this gin. Its truly a contemporary gin - juniper here isn’t a main star but more of a backstage production manager that brings all the various flavours onto stage.
Because it’s so flavour-forward with such a bold presence on its, this is a gin that can be readily drunk neat, or with tonic or soda water. I would be less inclined to use it in more complex cocktail recipes, as I think this gin has enough character to speak for itself and might not be so mixable.
Monkey 47 Sloe Gin - Tasting Notes
Nose: Fruity, sweet notes of lingonberry, blackthorn, and redcurrants come to fore, reminding me of the beloved childhood drink Ribena and some hints of sarsaparilla.
Palate: Stewed fruit jam notes abound! I get bold flavours of raspberry jam and lingonberry jam, with an apparent sweetness that makes go down very easily on the palate. Bold spicy accents of cinnamon and star anise add complexity and reminds me of comforting mulled wine! The texture is medium-bodied and robust.
Finish: Long. The finish is aromatic with notes of berries, a slight citric twang and a long woody finish.
This is a very approachable gin with a friendly sweetness that lends itself well to sipping neat. I’m a big fan of sloe gins, and I particularly like this one because it doesn’t hold back on those stewed fruit jam notes and those wonderful cinnamon and star anise spice accents. Very satisfying, with a great smooth, silky mouthfeel that lingers on the tongue in a very enticing way!