UK whisky and spirit retailer Master of Malt is tapping the navy strength gin trend with a new high quality Bathtub Gin bottled at 57%, made from pot-still spirit with hand-crushed botanicals.
The small batch gin (30-60 bottles per time) is produced by the retailer under its Professor Cornelius Ampleforth brand, and Master of Malt said it believed it was the only gin now on sale made using the traditional cold-compounding infusion method.
Botanicals used include juniper, cinnamon, cardamom, dried orange peel, cloves and coriander, and their crushing marks a change vis-à-vis the original Bathtub Gin, where botanicals were infused whole in the spirit (for 24 hours rather than one hour this time around) to release more flavor.
The result is a fuller-bodied gin (₤41.95/$54.82 for 70cl) with a greater intensity of flavor and a pale gold color, Master of Malt said, packaged in distinctive packaging to befit a premium brand.
According to legend, ‘navy strength’ refers to the British Navy’s historical requirement that alcohol supplied to its ships should be 57% ABV or higher.
The story goes that gunpowder would still ignite if it were dampened by the gin, but Master of Malt said that the theory was dubious, since the gunpowder might ignite but would not explode.
“Rather, the higher strength would ensure that fewer barrels of spirit would need to be carried aboard, thus saving valuable space and weight on the ship,” the company said.
The gin was particularly suited for mixing Martinis or creating gin and tonics, given citrus fruit flavors and the taste of juniper berries and warm winter spices, Master of Malt said.
Here are the company’s own tasting notes:
Nose: “After a big blast of citrus and juniper, top notes of spice arrive, notably cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and clover.”
Palate: “The body is mouth-filling and oily, with notes of juniper, citrus and spice.”
Finish: “The finish is long and lingering, with cinnamon and clove jostling for position.”