The art of distillation goes hand in hand with chasing aromas and rendering them in liquid form – although alcohol is merely the medium, not the actual goal of the process. Meanwhile, the world of spirits is divided into categories rather than sensory components and the possibilities associated with them. It’s a form of conditioning that stands in contrast to our obsession with variety and innovation. Why do distillates and spirits have to fit into a particular category? What’s wrong with forging down other paths, challenging current technologies and traditions, and contemplating the world of aromas from another perspective? To answer these specific questions, we've expanded our facilities to include the Monkey 47 Booze Lab.
The purpose of the Booze Lab is to push the envelope of what's possible in sensory terms by continuing to explore diverse aromas and ways to capture them in alcohol with alternative distillation and culinary techniques. In our new Experimentum Series, we’ll be bringing to market some of these experiments in extraordinary “spirit blends” based on Monkey 47 several times every year in editions that will be limited to no more than 500 bottles each. These blends will combine cutting-edge vacuum distillation with alternative methods of aroma extraction, making each of them an authentic flavour experience that defies categorisation.
It’s probably more than a little cliché to start off with Heidi, but who else really comes to mind when you’re in the Swiss Alps? You’ve got lush green mountain pastures, small white spots you can just barely identify as cows on the hillsides, and a gentle breeze rustling its way through the entire bulocic scene. It gives you the sense that here, all’s right with the world, and perhaps has been since they started harvesting wild hay here centuries ago. Every summer, farmers deep down in the valley make their way up to these elevated meadows to cut down the nutritious forage that will sustain their cattle through the long, cold winter. The hay lies spread out on the ground for a time until the sun and wind have made it dry enough to store. That’s when the farmers return to the Planggen (steep grasslands) to rake up the year’s harvest, bundle it into Pinggel (nets), and set it whizzing down to the valley below on a zip line one can hear from some distance away.
Lab notes – for those wanting to know more…
The select hay we use is rich in both nutrients and the aromas of its native meadows. This essence is precisely what we want to capture in our maceration process and the subsequent vacuum distillation that produces the hay distillate for Experimentum 2y05. Our hay grows naturally on Swiss pastures alongside local herbs and plenty of sweet grass without any kind of pesticides or fertiliser. As tradition would have it, it’s left to dry in the sun before the bitter herbal components are removed. The hay is then milled and steeped to create the extract that goes into our Monkey 47 distillate.
Monkey 47 Experimentum Series 2y05 is a piquant, full-bodied gin that features a slightly earthy, woody note of hay. Side effects may include being transported back to a childhood spent running across freshly mown fields after a long summer’s day, surrounded by the smell of the harvest. This combination makes it a truly unique taste experience – one for true connoisseurs who don’t mind pushing the boundaries of what seems sensorially feasible.