Master of Malt, (ATOM Supplies Ltd.) Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK.
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.
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.
Compound Gin, Barrel Aged Gin & Navy
57% (114 Proof).
$$$$$$$$ - $$$$$$$$$. 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.
Made from 6 botanicals including: cardamom,
cinnamon, cloves, coriander, juniper berries and orange peel.
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.
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.
Silver Medal, World Gin Awards, 2014.