Seasonal releases are always fun to try because they offer…
One look at the bottle of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub Gin Navy Strength and you’re going to want to order it. This is actually true of all of the Professor’s products, as they are wrapped in brown paper and sealed with twine and wax. It looks like a bottle of some sort of old West snakeoil bounced off a covered wagon and landed in your lap – and, fortunately, it tastes absolutely nothing like that. The original Bathtub Gin is made by cold-compounding botanicals into a very high quality spirit. Made in ultra-small batches and continuously taste-tested, this method clearly produces a very clean spirit that is loaded with flavor. The regular Bathtub gin is award winning, and the Navy Strength version is just as highly praised – if not moreso.
Navy strength spirits are bottled at 57% ABV, a significantly higher proof than your average spirit even when compared to other gins, which are often bottled at 45% ABV. Your instinct might tell you that a high AVB spirit can taste very “strong,” and while this is true, it also means that it can carry flavors a lot more clearly than some lower proof spirits. You will pick up the extra alcohol on the nose, but that comes with a bright citrus and hint of spice, both of which are surprisingly clear. The gin is incredibly smooth, with a complex flavor that that has plenty of citrus, juniper, cinnamon and clove. You’ll notice how pronounced the botanicals seem compared to some other gins, where the juniper either dominates the other flavors or the flavors simply become muddled together. It is full bodied and will coat your mouth, which results in a very long, spicy and – again – very, very smooth finish that lasts as long as you’ll let it.
Worth another round? Absolutely. This is a world class gin and it tastes fantastic. It’s almost unbelievable that a gin could be so smooth even though it is navy strength, and you really pick up the complex botanicals and subtle creaminess with each sip. I drink it neat or with a touch of ice. It is full bodied enough to improve any cocktail you could think of, but this isn’t a spirit that I like to mix when I have a bottle around. It is produced in England and can be difficult to find stateside (unless your local liquor store is extremely well-stocked with gin), and I highly recommend ordering it if you see it in a bar.