Cocktails with… Darnley’s Spiced Gin Navy Strength Edition

Following on from the recent review of 6 O’Clock Brunel Edition comes another, high-strength and spicy gin – this time from Darnley’s of Scotland, who have released their spiced Navy-strength gin.

Bottled at 57.1% ABV, the gin is made using the same botanicals as the original Spiced Gin, but with an extra boost of juniper.

Darleys Spiced Navy Gin

On its own
Nose: Bold, plump juniper upfront, followed by notes of cumin and cardamom with a touch of ginger.
Taste: This is full of strong flavours, with a great oily texture that coats the tongue and has a light sweetness to it. A touch of liquorice is accompanied by warm spice: cinnamon, cassia, savoury cumin and aromatic cardamom.

Gin & Tonic
A plump and juicy Gin & Tonic that works particularly well with a wedge of orange as a garnish. The anise comes through, along with flavours of sweet cumin and hints of ginger and cardamom.

This makes a very strong Martini, as you might expect from the high ABV, but in a small, 1oz portion it is perfect as a small, but punchy pre-dinner cocktail. The spice is intense and works well with the flavours of the vermouth. Serve super-chilled; ideally, poured straight from the freezer.

A pleasantly savoury Negroni with notes of cumin and caraway coming through, along with ginger. This gin gives the drink a light salinity, whilst also keeping the classic bitter-sweetness of the other ingredients in check.

With Cola
The exotic spice notes work especially well with the cola and the strong botanical flavours that come from the Navy-strength really stand up to the mixer. This is a great example of a Gin & Cola.

In Conclusion
I think Darnley’s Spiced Gin works particularly well at a higher ABV and the extra juniper gives the gin an added boost. My favourite drinks were the mini, yet potent Martini and – surprisingly – the gin mixed with cola.


Cocktails with… Sipsmith VJOP 57.7% ABV

Sometimes in the world of gin you get some really nice surprises. One such surprise was when I went to pick up a bottle of Sipsmith VJOP #2 for my talk on “The Craft of Gin” at the Boutique Bar Show a few weeks back. For those that are interested, I reviewed that gin here.

Given my fondness for high-strength gins, imagine my excitement when I was speaking to James from Sipsmith and he told me that, instead of the 52.0% ABV version that I was expecting, I would be getting one at 57.7% ABV.

This new variety is made with extra juniper (like the other two VJOPs), but will be exclusively for the UK on-trade; a little thank you for all of the support that bartenders have shown Sipsmith.


On its own
Nose: Strong juniper, floral citrus, and coriander. Big and bold.
Taste: For 57.7% ABV, this is remarkably smooth and sippable. The warmth only really comes through right at the end. A lovely spirit: powerful and moreish.

Gin & Tonic
Delicious, big, bold juniper, plus some citrus. This gin will stand up to almost any tonic to create a tasty, refreshing and moreish drink.

A truly classic Martini: strong, rich, punchy, and packed with juniper. Absolutely perfect before dinner, especially if made using the Diamond Pour method (just have one!), when – without the dilution of the ice, you get a lovely, viscous cocktail. My recommendation for a garnish would be a citrus twist of your choice.

This gin makes a juicy Negroni with citrus upfront, followed by bold, slightly sappy juniper and pine. Clean, bold, and delicious.

In Conclusion
I’ve tried the 52.0% ABV version of Sipsmith before and was impressed, but this version at 57.7% ABV (a navy strength gin) really hits the spot for me. I love how bold it is, that it has such a complexity of flavour, and that it mixes really well. One of my new favourites.


Cocktails with… Hernö Gin Navy Strength

After my recent focus on gin from the US, it was lovely to return home from our trip (and I had an amazing time, by the way) to find a new and exciting European gin waiting for me; namely, Hernö Gin Navy Strength Gin. We reviewed their original “Swedish Excellence” Gin back in January and I had the opportunity to chat to the chaps from Hernö on February’s Gin Ramble.
The Navy Strength Gin, bottled at 57% ABV, follows a whole host of new high-strength gins coming onto the market, but, so far, these have been focused in the UK and USA. For more information, check out our tasting.
On its own
Nose: Lots of coriander, as well as some beeswax, sappy pine and juniper notes, and more citrus – very intense and lasting.
Taste: Silky smooth to start, with plenty of spicy and citrus coriander. Then a little warmth grows, along with some sweetness and notes of juniper. This is followed by a return of the coriander and citrus, and a crisp and very long-lasting finish that lasts for well over 90 seconds. Flavourful and intense, it really shows how the higher ABV carries the botanical characteristics in a far bolder way. Excellent.
Gin & Tonic
A strong and punchy flavour, full of very intense floral and coriander notes. A clean and not too cloying tonic is needed for this drink; I think I would be inclined to pair this with Q, 1724 or Fevertree Mediterranean, to just balance out the more floral elements and bring up some of the herbal elements that I personally crave in a Gin & Tonic. This is pretty tasty and has lots of potential.
DTSHernoNavyGin (4)
Perfectly balanced, with flavours of fennel, coriander, dry pine, beeswax and citrus, as well as some lighter, floral notes. Simply superb and perfect for a pre-dinner drink.
Whoosh! There’s lots of flavour here. In addition to the coriander, some anise and fennel come through to start, followed by some juicy, fruity berry notes. Then, the herbal elements of the vermouth and bitter aspects of the Campari come through, along with a long, bitter-sweet finish with some piercing pine. Intense and thrilling to drink.
In Conclusion
I have a bit of a penchant for Navy Strength Gin; it is one of my favourite spirits to mix with and Hernö Navy Strength Gin is no exception. I like the original, but I like the Navy even more. Certainly worth checking out.