There were various party games and one of these was a lucky dip; I was lucky enough to pick up a bottle of the rare 47%ABV SW4. This had a very limited production run (just 15 bottles); one of these was siphoned down into miniatures, so there are just 14 left. My understanding is that the majority of these will be sold to a lucky few and each will be signed by Martin Price (Mr SW4) himself. It's the same botanical mix as SW4, but is bottled at 47%ABV rather than the usual 40%ABV.
Very soft and smooth, especially for 47%; juniper and citrus come across first, followed by some spice. When compared to the 47%, the 40% seems a lot more earthy and rooty. The 47% seems to have a stronger flavour profile and a great warming (but not burning) effect on my throat.
Gin & Tonic
Initial thoughts: juniper, light spice and fresh. Strength in both the juniper and citrus and you can tell this is a stronger gin & tonic, but, like Plymouth Navy Strength, the strength does not ruin the drink.** As the ice melts a little, the flavours open up and I'm now getting some angelica, too, and a touch of anise at the end. Tasty, with a long finish.
Martini (5:1) with Dolin Dry
Exceptionally clean and crisp, and very easy to drink. Works really well with Dolin vermouth and there are juniper, citrus and floral/perfume notes, although none of these are overpowering. The main feature, though, is how clear and clean it is; it would be difficult to tell it was 47%. Superb.
I'm fond of both the 40% and the 47% SW4, but I think that, generally, the 40% is more versatile for cocktail making and the 47% is better to be drunk on the rocks or in a Martini. The Martini it made was exceptional. I'm glad I got a chance to try 47% SW4.
* For more detail contact Jenny at email@example.com
** Some gins can pull the strength off, and some can't. I've had some gins that tasted like they were 50% and they were only 40% or 37.5% - the alcohol was that rough.