After serving honorably in World War II, Commander Montgomery "Monty" Collins of the Royal Air Force was discharged in 1951 and moved to the Northern Black Forest where he opened a country guest home nicknamed "The Wild Monkey." The Black Forest area is notorious for producing some of the world's finest fruit liqueurs, and so Collins eventually began experimenting with distillation. In time, he perfected the recipe for his very own gin, which became the signature spirit served at The Wild Monkey until the 1970s.
"When I heard about a special gin that contains classical spices and also ingredients from the Black Forest such as spruce shoots and lingonberries, I left my job and began doing research with the aim of bringing this gin back to life," says Alexander Stein, who resurrected Collins' gin. After two years of research and development, Stein, together with master distiller Christoph Keller, settled on a recipe that called for 47 unique ingredients. The ingredients include acacia, acorus, calamus, almond, angelica, bitter orange, blackberry, cardamom, cassia, chamomile, cinnamon, citron verbena, cloves, coriander, cranberries, cubeb, dog rose, elderflower, ginger, grains of paradise, hawthorn berries, hibiscus abelmoshus, hibiscus syriacus, honeysuckle, jasmine, kaffir lime, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, lemongrass, licorice, lingonberries, mondara didyma, nutmeg, orris, pimento, pomelo, rose hip, sage, sloe and spruce.
The ingredients are steeped in French-made molasses alcohol for 36 hours prior to being distilled through an Arnold Holstein copper-pot still. Keller combines traditional maceration and distillation techniques, as well as vapor infusing certain ingredients, to gather precise amounts of the more volatile botanicals and accentuate more sublime flavors.
Bottled at 47% ABV, Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin has an aroma of wood spices, vegetables, citrus and pine. The aroma gives to way to an incredibly complex bouquet of flavors, including earthy spices, fruit, herbs and tart citrus. The finish is rich and bursting, with a hint of lemon balm.
Monkey 47 earned the World Spirits Award Gold at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, and was named one of the ten best gins by The Independent. The gin also earned a score of 93 points from the Beverage Testing Institute in 2014.
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