Tuesday, 5 July 2011

SW4 Champion Strength - Gin of Champions @ 47%

Yesterday saw Mr Hartley and me heading over to Graphic Bar to enjoy the joint first birthday of the Juniper Society and SummerFruitCup. The celebrations were fueled by SW4 Gin (check out their new website here) and Sip or Mix. SW4 was the first gin to sponsor the Juniper Society a year ago and has since become part of the family, not just at the Juniper Society, but here, over at the IAE.

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 hello@sipormix.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.

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