Iron Balls Gin Review

By Timo Torner / Last updated on August 7, 2023

Iron Balls is a boutique gin from Bangkok produced by Ashley Sutton. It's based on a coconut and pineapple spirit and flavored with Asian-inspired botanicals.
Iron Balls Gin Review

Based on a spirit made from homemade coconut and pineapple wine, the taste of Iron Balls Gin reflects its Southeast Asian heritage. The tropical spirit base and botanicals like cinnamon, ginger, and lemongrass make this gin almost inimitable.

Iron Balls Gin comes in a unique bottle shaped like half a cannonball, sealed with a genuine cork stopper. It's decorated with a white label and golden lettering. The handwritten batch numbers, the copper elements on the bottle, every part of this packaging, and the marketing are well thought-out.

Iron Balls Gin Review Summary

  • Produced By: Iron Balls
  • Owned By: Iron Balls
  • Product Websiteto product website
  • Production Location: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Classification: New Western Dry Gin
  • Known botanicals: Juniper, hillside ginger, lemongrass, coriander seeds, coconut, pineapple, and citrus fruits
  • Base Spirit: Coconut and pineapple spirit
  • Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
  • Proof: 40% ABV
  • Price: $60 / 700 ml
  • Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Tasting Notes

The gin reflects its strong Southeast Asian heritage with fruity notes and spices.

When I first smell the gin, I get a lot of fruity notes. The pronounced sweetness of Pineapples mixes with lemongrass, citrus notes, and ginger. 

While this is certainly not common, there are a few other, less traditional, Gins with similar nosing profiles.

Tasting Iron Balls neat is a pleasant experience. It's so mild that it's hard to believe that the spirit contains 40% alcohol. On top, it tastes sweet and fruity with notes of pineapple, mango, and citrus. The finish is slightly spicy and brief, with a dominant taste of ginger and lemongrass. What is missing are strong notes of juniper. They do exist but are not as pronounced as you would expect from a Gin. 

On ice

The tropical and fruity flavors are slightly muted when serving Iron Balls Gin on ice. In return, you get a more pronounced juniper taste. However, overall, I prefer the flavors when sipping it neat as then, the gin is not only fruitier but also more complex.

Cocktails

Our review on Iron Balls Gin in classic gin drinks:

Gin & Tonic

An Iron Balls Gin and Tonic is best served with a slice of pineapple and some Thai Basil leaves. It is fresh, vibrant, fruity, and refreshing like no other Gin and Tonic I have drank before.

The tropical vibes immediately take me back to the beaches of Thailand. The combination of mango, pineapple, Thai basil, and spice is gorgeous, and you need to remind yourself that this drink is beverage is an alcoholic drink and that you should not drown in one big gulp. 

I suggest slightly increasing the ratio of gin to tonic. A 1:2 ratio instead of the standard 1:3 made the drink even better.

Negroni

In a standard Negroni, Campari and sweet vermouth cover the delicate fruity flavors almost entirely. However, in our Coconut Negroni mixed with Coconut Rum (I like to use Mahiki), the balance of flavors was much better. The addition of coconut rum emphasized the coconut flavors and highlighted the fruity flavors of the gin.

Dry Martini

I really liked the taste of Iron Balls in a Martini. The rather sweet and fruity flavors require a better balance, though. We tried the classic dry vermouth options first like Noilly Prat and Dolin, but we found Riserva Carlo Alberto the best fit. 

The fruity notes worked surprisingly well. Also, the balance between sweet and bitter is just right, making Iron Balls an excellent base for a Martini.

Where is Iron Balls Gin from?

Iron Balls Gin is distilled in the heart of Bangkok, making it one of only a few Gins produced in Thailand. The distillery is located right in one of the most exclusive and popular areas of the city, inside the associated bar called the Iron Balls Distillery.

You can literally walk from the bar counter to the still with ten steps. I've never seen a similar setup, but it looks and feels surreal to be sipping your drinks so close to the machine that produces the gin in your drink.

What is Iron Balls made of?

Details about the ingredients or botanicals used in the Iron Balls Gin are kept secret from the public. Only a few botanicals- juniper, hillside ginger, lemongrass, coriander seeds, coconut, pineapple, and citrus fruits - are known to be part of the recipe.

When joining the distillery tour, I also learned that, instead of regular grain spirit, Iron Balls uses a concoction of fermented pineapple and coconut to create a kind of wine. This base then gets distilled into a pineapple-coconut Vodka.

Besides that, there is not much information on the contents. So I will make a guess based on its taste. Tasting and nosing the spirit there are some hints that the following ingredients could play a role in the Iron Balls Gin:

  • Hillside ginger
  • Coriander seeds
  • Coconut
  • Pineapple
  • Lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • Pepper
  • Mango
  • Orange peel
  • Tangerine

Do keep in mind that I base this on speculation. The actual ingredients are not confirmed.

Iron balls gin bottle

Bottle design

Just by admiring the attention to detail in the bottle design, you can get an idea of how much effort was put into the creation of this product. The handcrafted bottle is shaped like a cannonball, uses genuine cork to seal the bottle, and has handwritten batch numbers.

Conclusion

There is no denying it. I am totally in love with this gin. But from a more objective point of view, this is an excellent New Western Dry Gin you definitely should try. 

It pushes the limits of the Gin definition and delivers on taste and design. The price usually is around $60 - in liquor stores and when buying it directly in the distillery. 

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