Chapter One Navy Strength Gin is Temple Distilling’s higher proof counterpoint to their quite excellent Chapter One Gin. Chapter One Navy Strength Gin is indeed it’s own thing though. Or as Temple Distilling puts it, “The tale continued with our bold Navy Strength version, with it’s own unique cast of botanicals.”
Although the botanicals are different, similar to their London Dry offering, the base is distilled from grain in Lynwood, Washington, with lime and grapefruit playing the role of citrus balance.
Certainly, there’s a bright hit of heat on the nose. Chapter One Navy Strength Gin is Naval Strength— but there’s strains of bergamot, boiled grapefruit, Dashing it with water reveals a large amount of oils separating from solution, but lime begins to jump out more readily. Savory spice notes hover in the background as well.
The palate is extraordinarily vivid with lots of bright flavors. Chapter One Navy Strength Gin is a bit easier to taste simply on its own, as the strength of the spirit doesn’t overwhelm. Lots of citrus at first with a bit of piquant juniper early on. Bright lemon zest and grapefruit rind evolve with a touch of cardamom creaminess in the background— lime becomes the dominant citrus a bit later on. The lime departs abruptly; the background tones of spice and resinous juniper berry sit for a good deal longer on the center of the palate.
Diluted with water by almost 50%, Chapter One Navy Strength Gin’s heat recedes and there’s an immense amount of lime sitting right below the surface.
Chapter One Navy Strength Gin makes a bracing, but delightfully citrus-forward Gin and Tonic. Lime comes through most strongly to me, though some of the spice/resiny juniper notes are obscured by the quinine bitterness.
One of the best cocktails I had with Chapter One Navy Strength Gin was indeed a Red Snapper. Firstly, I find that Navy Strength gins allow you to get a better juniper:tomato ratio. A weaker gin requires a bit more gin to get the desired strength; which unfortunately reduces the distinctive viscosity of the tomato juice. This is where vodka drinkers and Bloody Mary aficionados don’t know what they’re missing. The 114 proof does wonders for providing a boozy, balanced, and perfect consistency brunch cocktail. Also, hints of juniper and lime add depth. Highly Recommended.
In general, Temple Distilling’s Navy Strength offering is a good contemporary style gin for cocktails behind the bar where you want a bit more oomph. Also recommended (in no particular order) are The Last Word, The Twentieth Century. and the Tom Collins.
While Chapter One Gin is one of the best American-made classic gins on the market today, Chapter One Navy Strength Gin is a bit of a 180°— in a good way. It’s a contemporary style, citrus-forward gin that will appeal to fans of New Amsterdam and Bluecoat Gins who are looking for an assertive gin designed for cocktails.
Recommended in its category.