Deep in the German Schwarzwald lies the cradle of Monkey 47. It is a rich and complex Gin that has not only convinced Germans but Gin lovers all across the globe. Each year, the brand releases a strictly limited Distiller's Cut that is either produced differently or adds another ingredient to the list of botanicals.
In 2021, for the limited edition, they added a flower called Scarlet Monarda to the mix.
What is it all about?
The Distiller's cut is one of the many special editions of Monkey 47 and is produced and sold once per year only. It all started with the first one in 2010. Back then, only 2,500 bottles of the limited version were available for sale.
In response to the great demand, Monkey 47 decided in 2016 to increase the number to 4,000 bottles and give more customers a chance to get their hands on this sought-after rarity. -I was among those lucky ones in 2021.
- Produced by: Monkey 47 distillery
- Origin: Germany
- Released: September 2021
- Species rara: Scarlet Monarda or Monarda Didyma
- ABV: 47%
- MSRP: $80
The secret ingredient - Scarlet Monarda
For the 2021 Distiller's Cut, they went with a new and long-kept secret element: The 48th botanical, or the "species rara" as Monkey fondly calls it, is Scarlet Monarda.
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 Northeast.
The aroma of Scarlet Monarda is unique and distinct, reminding me of a mix of mint, sage, and oregano, with the petals having a slightly milder scent.
Tasting Notes for the 2021 Distiller's Cut
Monkey 47 is a seriously complex Gin. So it's quite interesting to see that just by adding one ingredient to 47 others, you can alter the aroma and taste of the spirit.
- Aroma - It starts minty, fresh, and herbal, followed by notes of juniper, lavender, and rosemary. As the flavors develop, hints of pepper are detectable.
- Taste - Compared to the regular Gin, it has a much cleaner, clearer lemon note with a herbal spiciness. It's less pine-forward than usual and has more pronounced notes of tea leaves.
Overall, I find the Monkey 47 exceptionally well-balanced and crafted, which results in a unique taste. A refreshing mix of citrus, fresh herbs, and a spicy top note
How to use it in cocktails
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.
It's a fantastic Gin best sipped neat or in a Gin & Tonic. But it also works great in classic Gin cocktails (Link) adding a nice spicy note to the drinks like a Bees Knees, Hanky Panky, or a Gin Sour.
When it comes to special or limited editions of spirits, it's always fun to find out how they compare to the regular product.
I already mentioned Scarlet Monarda joined the list of ingredients but not how it's incorporated. The Monarda petals get macerated together with the 47 traditional botanicals. After the maceration process, the result is distilled twice before it's left to age for three months.
Fresh spring water from the Black Forest is then added before bottling to bring the Gin down to the desired ABV.
How to buy it
The Monkey 47 Distiller's cut is strictly limited. In 2021, there were two different batches.
In the US, they released 4,000 bottles of the smaller 0,375l version. And another 4,000 bottles of the 0,5l version were available worldwide.
If you wanted to get a Monkey 47 Distiller's Cut, you had to be fast. As usual, the Distiller's Cut sold out quickly, and you won't get a second chance. Usually, they do a raffle on their website to make the process fairer.
There are some shops that sell the bottle even now, long after the raffle. The prices are high, though, as these are highly sought-after collectibles.
Generally, if you're interested in getting your hands on Monkey's special releases, follow their Instagram. They promote their upcoming special editions well ahead, giving you enough time to register for the raffles. - Note: the raffle gives the option to purchase a bottle. So, if you're among the lucky ones, you won't get it for free.