Sipsmith’s V.J.O.P. Gin is a love song to juniper. It stands for “Very Junipery Over Proof.” The juniper is added in three different steps, to ensure maximum juniper flavor. It’s similarly constructed to Never Never Distilling’s beautiful Triple Juniper Gin; however, V.J.O.P. launched in 2013 and predates their gin by some bit.
Firstly, it is macerated in the neutral spirit. Then after that more juniper is put in the still while it distills. and wait, there’s more! Juniper is also put in a Carter Head for vapor infusion.
V.J.O.P. Gin is classically juniper-forward on the nose. It’s piquant though, with peppery facets. Faint traces of bitter orange oil lie underneath offering an understated complexity.
Unlike other single botanical juniper gins, this one is complex. V.J.O.P. celebrates juniper in combination with other botanicals.
Sipped is where V.J.O.P. shows its strength. Resiny with waxy facets, the juniper is up front and center. Rich and thick, it spreads across the entire palate. Angelica adds character to the back half of the juniper flavor. Towards the finish, there’s hints of citrus and licorice.
Although bottled at 57.7% ABV, V.J.O.P. Gin is surprisingly “not as hot” as you would expect. Certainly it does have an assertiveness to it; however, it’s not overwhelming. It’s more of a “warmth” in the belly heat than an aggressive burn.
Overall, V.J.O.P. is beautifully constructed and absolutely delicious.
For a long time, Plymouth’s Navy Strength was the bartender go-to for over proof gins. V.J.O.P. is the first gin that I think has a serious chance of dethroning the champ.
It’s perfectly balanced for a Negroni. It’s probably a bit too aggressive for a Martini— though the flavor is there— unless you opt for a high vermouth ratio, somewhere in the 3 parts gin to 2 parts vermouth area.
Where it really excels is in mixed drinks. It makes the best Last Word I’ve ever had. The juniper is just powerful enough to transform the drink into something else altogether. Other winners include the Leap Year Cocktail, The 20th Century or the Corpse Reviver #2. V.J.O.P. makes gin the star of whatever cocktail you put it in.
Some might say it throws off the balance of some of these drinks. While I hear where they’re coming from, fans of gin and juniper in general are going to love the way it shifts the balance towards the gin.
Can’t you tell I’m in love? If you love juniper, than I think you will be too.