Day count to Christmas: Less than one hand. Day count till NYE: Exactly two hands. This is getting exciting! And while by now I hope that you’ve found most of your gifts (Or Santa might write you down on the naughty-list), I still have two more recommendations to make, because let’s face it, the get-togethers and parties will last at least another month.
THE HOLIDAYS BY SOBERON: MONKEY 47 BARREL CUT
By now, I’m pretty sure that Schwarzwald’s own Monkey 47 doesn’t need any introduction anymore. And if, for any reason, it does… Read this article I wrote about them!
Their regular ‘Schwarzwald Dry Gin‘ is a staple on many menus and in most ginlovers’ households, their Sloe Gin a bit more difficult to track down, (but hey, sometimes half the fun is in trying) and their Distiller’s Cuts are pretty infamous… Most people ‘know’ they make an annual Special release with a ‘Species Rara‘, but few have seen them in the wild (or captivity), let alone tasted the magic that’s yearly being bottled in the old apothecary flasks.
And then all of a sudden, during a small get together for spirits enthusiasts called ‘BCB’ (Bar Convent Berlin), there it was… Striking all those passing by their booth with awe, creating a buzz on socials ‘THERE’S SOMETHING NEW! WHAT IS IT? WHERE CAN WE GET IT?‘ It was crazy… I remember talking to a bunch of fellow Ginthusiasts while the first sightings were made… this bottling immediately became talk of the town for the rest of the day. Luckily we had some ears and eyes over in Berlin and soon we knew what was up: The Monkey had been aged and has been baptized ‘Barrel Cut‘.
The concept of ‘Barrel Aging’ on its own is nothing groundbreaking ‘anymore’. We’ve seen it happen the past couple of years on all kinds of casks, from Juniper to Port, from Sherry to Bourbon and Scotch, the choices and experiments have been plenty. And then there’s duration, some of these gins were merely finished on casks for a couple of weeks, others got aged for over two years, the differences here as varying as the choice of cask. Ultimately leaving us with both legendary bottlings and some that won’t see a second aging cycle.
And now the Monkey joins the ranks. Of all possible barrel options, the German brand decided to work with Mulberry Casks. The Mulberry Tree is no stranger to aging, yet is by far any of the ‘popular’ choices (unlike European and American Oak for example). Still, with a rich history in usage in several German regions, the team of Monkey found it the perfect match for their gin, and it actually works really well.
Monkey 47 Barrel Cut ages in newly made, lightly toasted, barrels of 110 liter, which are stored in an old grain storehouse. The gin rests there for 180 days before being bottled. Because of the quite lengthy aging in first-fill barrels, the color of the Barrel Cut is a quite dark hue of gold, almost mahogany. (Which you can see in the above picture).
After about half a year of aging, the vibrant complexity of the standard expression has been mellowed down quite a bit, yet is now nicely enriched with lots of wood, dried fruit, dare I say some cocoa? and definitely a hint of winter spices. It’s sweet and heartwarming, more raw, yet ever so gentle. Letting it breathe for a second before nosing and tasting definitely gives room for quite some flavor evolution and while there’s lots of new things going on, the unmistakable ‘Monkey Signature’ is still apparent.
More info on the bottling itself can be found on their website. When interested in buying, currently your best bet would be a specialised German online boozestore or a German Friend/Gin mule if you have one.
Stay tuned for one final recommendation!
Disclaimer 1: All pictures and text are property of Matthias Soberon / Served By Soberon. Nothing can be used or copied without written permission of the author and the addition of credits.
Disclaimer 2: These ‘Holiday-Recommendations’ are entirely personal and all chosen by me. While some items might have been gifted for the purpose of reviewing, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations that were chosen for me in stead of by me.