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Review

Professor Cornelius
Ampleforth's
Cask Aged Navy Strength Gin

Distillery

Master of Malt, (ATOM Supplies Ltd.) Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK.

Website

Master of Malt

History

ATOM Supplies Ltd. trading as Master of Malt, is one of the UK’s leading online liquor retailers. Established in 1985 they originally concentrated on Whisky but this soon grew to encompass a full range of spirits. Since the 2010’s they have undertaken joint projects to produce individual spirits, supported primarily by Ben Ellefsen, their Sales Director. Under his guidance, the success of Master of Malt own offerings have expanded to include a range of “Origin” Gins and the “Professor Cornelius Ampleforth” range of spirits.

Production

The base spirit is made from a high quality copper pot distillation to which the broken up “bashed” botanicals are added and left to infuse for about 1 hour (rather than using intact botanicals left to infuse for 24 hours as in their original Bathtub Gin). Normally, most Gins would be distilled a further time following the infusion period, however this Gin is simply placed in small 50-liter sized barrels (called “Octaves”) and left to relax for 3 to 6 months. These small casks, having previously been used for aging either Sherry or Bourbon, allow a greater surface area for the liquid to interact with he wood, and subsequently impart a greater flavor and dark yellow color to the Gin.

Once matured these small batches of 30 to 50 bottles are put into apothecary styled bottles, and wrapped in crinkled brown paper (covered with hand-drawn artwork including an image of a British Royal Navy “Ensign” flag and 3 casks), to further enhance its Victoriana presentation. Flax twine is wound around the neck, securing the paper to the bottle, and dipped in black wax to seal it completely. 

Category

Compound Gin, Barrel Aged Gin & Navy Strength Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

57% (114 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$$$$ - $$$$$$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try online direct from Master of Malt in the UK but be prepared to pay an additional 40% for shipping.

Botanicals

Made from 6 botanicals including: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, juniper berries and orange peel.

Name

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth is a fictional character, played by Ben Ellefsen. “Cask Aged” refers to the maturation period the Gin spends resting in barrels. “Navy Strength” refers to the strength of the alcohol required by the Navy for carrying on their ships, because at this strength if the spirit inadvertently spilt on the gunpowder it will still ignite.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is the same “Christmas” aroma of spice, as found in their regular Navy Strength Gin, and faint hints of woody vanilla as found in their regular Cask Aged Gin - No surprises here. These combinations carry on through to the taste with juniper and spicy “Christmas” notes on the palate with a strong smoothness, mellowing the strong alcohol level no doubt due to the cask aging. This manages to tame the Navy Strength beast, whereas one would normally have to do combat with it. The close continues with a similar theme but more of the drying juniper and fruitiness appears at the finish.

We enjoyed this as a straightforward sipping Gin, having found it to make an unusual but nice herbal Gin & Tonic. However this really shines in a Martini with a flavor packed palate of sweet, dry, spicy, oaky notes with herbal and vanilla qualities in the background. It’s a shock for regular Martini drinkers but certainly not an unpleasant experience - we found ourselves wanting more, perhaps due to the novelty at first but concluded it was because of the exciting tastes portrayed. This is one of those “must-try” Gins, where you have to find out what it tastes like for yourself.

Thank you Master of Malt, for combining two already excellent products to make another excellent version.

Awards & Accolades

Silver Medal, World Gin Awards, 2014.



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