Matthew Perry [the Perry in Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin] 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. Matthew Perry died in 1858 of Rheumatism, and complications caused by. Alcoholism unfortunately. Pour one out for Commodore Perry.
As for the gin, well it’s New York Distilling Company’s Navy Strength offering. Bottled at an assertive 57%, it’s designed for cocktails. Distilled in their Williamsburg distillery, you can peer into it from the adjacent cocktail bar The Shanty.
The nose is crisp pine-forward juniper and wildflower honey syrup. It doesn’t smell sweet, but it does have a nose of honey. Quite straightforward and generally classic in presentation.
The palate, as one may predict, is quite hot. The assertive 57% ABV is really evident. But a closer look reveals Perry Tot’s Gin and its nicely balanced botanical approach. Juniper at the fore, with a spice and citrus led mid-palate. There’s lots of literal white grapefruit here, but also some coriander, cinnamon and cardamom. Towards the late palate the spirit recedes with bitter orange and coriander. The finish is quite long lasting with a pleasant, primarily bitter orange driven warmth, with a hint of herbaceous juniper and pine resin.
Among Navy Strength Gin, Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin surprises with a softness and botanical clarity that many others sometimes don’t have. At no point does the strength of the base spirit overwhelm the botanicals. Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin is stellar just on its own. Though I’d perhaps suggest a couple of ice cubes.
In my 2013 writeup of Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin I found it to be great in a Gin and Tonic and Gimlet. I was wowed by it in a Negroni and thought it might be a tad too bracing for a 7:2 Martini. In my 2015 Book, I raved about The Last Word. I stand by all of these. The team at New York Distilling Company have created a gin that is incredibly versatile in cocktails. Bartenders looking for a house Navy Strength pour might find that Perry’s Tot Gin is a suitable and replacement for Plymouth Navy Strength behind the bar.
In 2017, I’m more struck by it’s spice-forward side and how in contrast to other flavors, it manages to complicate and add depth to the ordinary. Try it in a Ramos Gin Fizz or perhaps a Clover Club Cocktail. The spicy cinnamon undertones and delicate bitter orange notes rise to the fore, while juniper still comes through in the mids and finish. It’s a lovely gin for cocktails. I don’t think I’ve made a bad cocktail with it. I’m not sure Perry’s Tot Gin makes a bad cocktail.
With a strong juniper perspective and a well-balanced spice-forward supporting cast, Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin will appeal to fans of both classic and contemporary styled gin. I think it’s best application is behind the bar, but I’m confident if you pick up a bottle you’ll find a lot to love here.
It’s still one of my favorites nearly a half decade after its release, and a gin I wholeheartedly recommend.
Recommended in its class and style.