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February 22, 2022 (edited August 11, 2023)
4.25 out of 5 stars
Very special gin. The juniper is very pronounced with the other botanicals taking a back seat. If mixing it needs a strong cocktail to balance like a savoy martini or a drink with thyme or rosemary. The other route to go is to add a bit of syrup or fruit to balance the juniper. I drink chilled but watch out, it has quite a punch
Bless be gin that does not fuck around. As hard as it is to find Navy strength gin, I am so ecstatic to have found one that triples the essence of why we love gin: the juniper berry. Ever since my favorite flavor profile became bitter, juniper, and in turn, gin, has become a lovely staple in the bar (albeit more so in the summer), and very exciting to taste and explore. The problem, as this applies to most other spirits as well, as anything that's worth a damn will either never be found, or never be distributed in the first place. I decided to go into Sipsmith blind, and although I've never heard of this distillery and also very much dislike London gin, let's see if they can at least make the Navy, any Navy for that matter, proud.
Guess what, juniper on the nose. Duh, although there are layers of different notes here. I'm definitely getting clean, whole juniper berries with a vegatal backing, pine and black pepper forward juniper paste, and citrus or even soap notes from classic distilled juniper. Or so I imagine. It's clean, but this also comes from a good hit of ethanol, which is both enjoyed in the glass as it is burning to the inner nostril.
I could swear I have wet, whole juniper berries in my mouth upon first sip. This develops indeed into a vegetal body, which is very, very dry, although has just a touch of citrus to slightly balance it. Near the finish is where it becomes the hottest, but is not hot enough to deter the appreciation of the juniper. The finish is more of the raw juniper berry, just slightly brighter than tasted up to this point.
I actually do not like this, and honestly, the only reason is due to the immense dryness typical of London gins. The juniper is captured in all it's glory here, but unfortunately, is not complicated by any other flavors. I have to think that, if this were a typical American gin, a good portion of citrus and/or floral extras would work immaculately with the juniper bomb. Thankfully, this still has great uses on a bar, and would make a hot and damn good gimlet or gin & tonic.