Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin

I recently tried and reviewed Bloody Shiraz Gin from the Four Pillars Distillery in Australia, and it was pretty bloody wonderful. I’ve been dying to try another sample of their gin, but as the next one in line was their Navy Strength Gin, at 58.8% ABV, the timing had to be right. I only had a small tasting sample, which obviously had to be tried neat, and it’s heady stuff.

Nervously sticking my nose into the glass, I was blown away by the intensity of the aromas, which is a pretty apt metaphor when you know the background to Navy Strength Gin.

What is Navy Strength Gin?
Four Pillars has some information about the background to Navy Strength Gin on its website

Coriander came through strongest, battling with the junipers, but there was so much more going on there besides. Four Pillars makes its Navy Strength Gin in much the same way it makes its regular Rare Dry Gin, but with some crucial differences. They halve the amount of oranges they use and replace them with finger limes, using an Australian native special called Judy’s Everbearing. They also throw in some extra ginger. Both ginger and lime are evident in the aroma too, intensifying the spice and citrus notes. It’s quite something, and not a gin you would just sniff appreciatively and knock back. Instead you sniff and say ‘Whoa, what’s going on here then?’

Tasting the Navy Strength Gin
I was even more nervous when I tasted the gin. Sometimes you get chance to taste spirits while they’re still maturing and are extra-proof, and the result isn’t always a pleasant experience. Anyone who’s ever sampled new raw spirits from the barrel knows what I mean. Even a teaspoon of it can make your eyes water and clear the sinuses.

This Navy Strength Gin was potent but a total delight. The taste was as intense as the aroma, but on the palate it seemed to me far fruitier, with even more of a sweet orange taste than a tart lime. It’s still spicy but the coriander, ginger and some cardamom play more of a background role. Bringing the fruit and the spice together, and tipping the balance onto the sweet side, is some vanilla.

And that extra strength? Yes, you know it’s there and it made me sip it slowly and appreciatively, treating it with respect, while raising a toast to the Royal Navy.

Navy Strength Gin Cocktails
I didn’t have enough of a tasting sample to even try some with tonic, as my G&T would have fitted into a thimble. But I can imagine it making a fantastic G&T, with the right tonic, and the Four Pillars website has a highly-appropriate suggested cocktail, The Army and Navy. Just click on the image to enlarge it and read it.

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin Awards
Don’t just take my word for how good this is. The gin was recently awarded Best Gin at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition 2016, and has been twice been awarded Master status at the Global Gin Masters (in 2015 and 2016).

More Information
Only one batch of Navy Strength Gin is made by Four Pillars each year. To find out more about Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin go to the Four Pillars Gin website.
Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin is available from Master of Malt, who will ship worldwide.

In the UK the gin is also available from Amazon