As with New York Distilling Company’s other gin offerings [Dorothy Parker, Chief Gowanus] a history lesson is necessary to get the reference:
Matthew Perry was a Commodore in the U.S. Navy. He rose in the ranks of the Navy in part due to his efforts in the War of 1812, where he nearly died when a shot caused a cannon to burst. He later was stationed in Key West, and in the mid 1830′s in the New York Navy Yard. His accomplishments in his later life including being an outspoken advocate for modernizing the navy (hail Steam!) and his work in helping Japan open to the West.
He died in 1858 of Rheumatism, and complications caused by [gulp] alcoholism. So gin fans, let’s enjoy Perry’s Tot responsibly, alright? For Perry?
Now on to the Gin
As a reminder, this is Navy Strength. 114 Proof. So expect a punch on the nose and on the palate.
The nose has a nice gin like stability, juniper, orange and a hint of cinnamon. Believe it or not, it does not have a strong nose in the way that other Navy strength gin often have.
The taste is acutely juniper based, but there’s some levels of depth. The early taste leads strongly with citrus, and then mid palate cinnamon, juniper and a peculiar floral sweetness. The finish is a well rounded earthy juniper finish, a touch of anise, angelica and juniper bite, fading with pronounced heat that never overwhelms.
The wildflower honey which is listed among the botanicals is the only unusual one of the bunch. Overall the gin has a classic character that lets the spice notes rise and take center stage for a brief moment. The juniper is never too far out of sight.
Mixed Drinks and Cocktails
Gin and Tonic seems to heighten the emphasis on the spice notes. Heightened awareness of angelica, grapefruit rind and a touch of anise. Robust and powerful for sure, but nice. Has a certain smoothness to it. You get this same sort of surprising smoothness for a spirit of this proof when you have it in the Martini, although it still reads as a tad too bracing for me in this drink. I tend not to drink Navy strength martinis, and although this is good, it’s probably a bit too strong for me in a 7:2 ratio. A dash of water dialed it down, but cost some of the potency of flavor that I liked about the cocktail.
I thought it also did well in a gimlet, standing up and those earthy notes and juniper were well balanced by a second source of citrus. It played harmoniously with the already present citrus notes in Perry’s Tot.
Finally I thought it made an exquisite Negroni. Warm cinnamon and candied orange rinds, bright grapefruit on the edges and a piney juniper tinge. Quite excellent and highly recommended.
In pretty much any cocktail, it presents its point of view, bringing an earthy juniper centered punch to the mix, but without overwhelming with heat. Excellent in the Aviation, it brings a heightened awareness of that mid-palate sweetness we spoke of in the tasting notes. Also equally as successful in the Last Word, amplifying the subtle anise notes on the finish. As good as it was in the Gin and Tonic, I think it is at its best in cocktail-craft.
Price: $32/ 750 mL
Origin: New York, United States
Best consumed: Memorable in the Negroni, a great addition to any cocktail that you want a little bit of gin punch in.
Availability: Illinois and Washington
Rating: Bold and memorably flavored without being too overpowering. One of the finest Navy Strength gins I’ve had and one which I would recommend with no reservations.