Truth has to be told: I was always a bit bored by the normal Plymouth. They usually give you the whole story, that Plymouth is a specific gin, made with softer water (...), but at the end, it taste like a London dry gin, if nobody tells you otherwise and its rather "pathetic" strength of just above 41% pales against my preferred gins.
I have to honest: I am a bit "concerned" about the whole gin craze. I do get it: gin is more flavourful than vodka; and it is great to have a couple of different styles of gins in your bar. But do we need gin bars? And/or do we need a dozen or more different gins? Is it more smoke and mirrors than anything else? I would say yes!
And yes - if you compare them side by side, there are big differences. However if you mix with them - and have different mixers [speak tonic waters], it becomes confusing and negligible.
One thing, which I've learned makes a big difference though is: strength
I remember a blind tasting of 19 different gins, and the gins, which rated the highest, were about the 47% abv mark - unfortunately we didn't had then Plymouth Navy Strength. But it turned out, that 57% is better than 47%...
I don't give you here the typical nonsense of tasting notes. Yes, you have some juniper notes, underlined with citrus and spices... bla bla bla. However, what really matters is, how it stands out in a normal Gin & Tonic. I didn't even had any fancy tonics left - and not even my preferred run-of-the-mill tonic water Canada Dry Tonic Water. I have had only Schweppes.
But it didn't matter, because the Plymouth gin, took no prisoners. Even though I poured only 40 ml into the glass (30 ml would have been definitely enough) it was one of the most "decisive" G&T's I have ever had.
A Gin Sour turned out to be one of the coolest and manliest sours ever, the Gin-Fizz suddenly came into "cocktail territory" (meaning drinks like Martini cocktail etc. = rather concentrated) - due to the fact, that it became directly so much stronger and more present (not sure, if you like this to be like it) and a Tom Collins, almost tasted like a very long Gin Fizz.
I haven't tried it yet, but I guess a Martini cocktail wouldn't necessary be the virtue of Plymouth Navy Strength - except, you are remembering Bond, and shake it instead of stirring it... that could be something... I will report back, when I have tried it...
You can only congratulate Plymouth, to have the balls, to keep this type of spirit and even extend the distribution (it was previously not available in the UAE, now it is!). The strength also perfectly suits the rather confined botanical recipe of the gin.
Now the plead to other gin producer (and even spirit producer) - I know, that it is the most costly thing to do, but do us a favour and bring more stronger gins to the market!
It is nice to have unique botanicals (or other "refinements") - but this makes no big difference - alcohol does!
So here you have it: Plymouth Navy Strength is my new favourite go-to-gin!
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