Deep in the German Schwarzwald lies the cradle of Monkey 47. It is a rich and complex Gin that not only convinced Germans but fans all across the globe. It is by far the best-known Gin coming from that Germany, and one reason is the unusual complexity of the original Monkey 47 Gin.
Every year, the masters at the Monkey distillery bring something new to the market. This year, 2021, it is a Gin based on the traditional recipe but refined and tweaked to create something new and exciting – The Distiller’s Cut. The Distiller’s cut of Monkey 47 has a still short but already famous tradition -the first one is from 2010. For the batch from back then, only 2,500 bottles of the limited version were available for sale.
In 2016, Monkey 47 decided to increase the number to 4,000 bottles. That gives more people the chance to get their hands on this sought-after rarity. -I’m one of these lucky ones, as you might have guessed.
The new ingredient – Scarlet Monarda
With the 2020 Distiller’s cut, there wasn’t an additional ingredient. Instead, Monkey 47 decided to age their Gin in Mizunara oak. Mizunara oak barrels made of trees with at least 150 years of age lend the Gin deep oaky notes making the taste of the Gin remarkably dry. For the 2021 Distiller’s Cut, they went with a new and well-kept secret element. An ingredient that finally can be revealed.
The 48th botanical, or the “species rara” as Monkey fondly calls it, is Scarlet Monarda. And as exotic as this botanical might sound, the Monarda Didyma (its Latin name) used in this year’s Distiller’s cut actually grows on a farmstead just around the corner of the Monkey 47 distillery. The herb, also known as bee balm or Oswego tea, comes from the lower parts of the Swabian Jura mountains. And it also grows in large parts of the US, mainly in the North-East.
The aroma of Scarlet Monarda is unique and distinct, reminding me of a mix of mint, sage, and oregano. Btw. the herb is a perfect way to season roasted meats and game, too. The aroma of its petals is slightly milder and makes for a beautiful addition to leafy salads to bring a pinch of spice and color to the dish.
When it comes to special or limited editions of spirits, it’s always interesting to see what has been done differently. As for the ingredients, you know already that Scarlet Monarda joined the list. But by digging a bit deeper, I discovered that, indeed, only the precious and milder petals of the flower are used and macerated.
The Monarda petals get macerated together with the 47 traditional botanicals. After the process, the result gets distilled twice before it’s left to age for three months. To finish the Gin and to bringing it down to the desired level of alcohol, fresh spring water directly from the Black Forest is added.
The Taste of the 2021 Distiller’s Cut
As you perhaps know, and as I already mentioned, Monkey 47 is a very complex product. The original product has an exciting flavor profile. It starts with fresh minty and herbal notes, followed by notes of juniper, lavender, and rosemary. As the flavors develop, hints of pepper are detectable. Overall, I find the Monkey 47 very well-balanced and crafted, which results in a unique taste.
For the limited 2021 Distiller’s Cut, things are a bit different. The Gin is smoother and a little more elegant. A Dry Gin with a refined but not overpowering spicy top note from the Scarlet Monarda. The spiciness of the Gin goes well with notes of herbs and citrus, creating a significantly different taste that’s hard to compare but absolutely tasty.
How to get the Distiller’s Cut
The Monkey 47 Distiller’s cut is strictly limited. This year there are two different batches. In the US, there will be 4,000 bottles of the smaller 0,375l version. And another 4,000 bottles of the 0,5l version will be available worldwide.
If you want to get one, better be fast. The Distiller’s Cut usually sells out quickly, and you won’t get a second chance. -First come, first served. To make it fair there’s raffle that ends on October 6th, find out more about it on their website.