Review: KO Distilling Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength Gin
Before you get too excited, note that the 142 doesn’t refer to the strength of this gin, from Manassas, Virginia-based KO Distilling. It refers rather to a story about 142 cadet-midshipmen merchant marines who died in WWII. Says the company: “Our founders’ alma mater, the USMMA, is the only federal academy authorized to fly a Battle Standard in memory of those brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
A standard proof version and a barrel finished gin — neither tasted here — are also available. All are made using the same eight botanicals: juniper, orange peel, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, grains of paradise, angelica root, and orris root, making this sound like a very traditional London Dry style of gin. That said, the company calls it a New Western style. Let’s taste it and find out.
The nose is indeed a step back from London Dry, showcasing more than its share of spices: cinnamon is particularly strong, with some black pepper backing up a healthy slug of juniper. On the palate, a mix of earth tones, coriander/cardamom, and a stronger citrus profile show themselves. If anything makes the claim for a New Western gin it’s this, that bright orange note that endures until a drying, almost chalky juniper character takes hold on the finish. All told, it’s a totally solid entry into the giniverse, one that would serve well as a cocktailing workhorse, but it doesn’t offer a truly unique enough experience to rave about.
I will say that, for a gin that’s 57% alcohol, it drinks with an impressive cleanness that feels much cooler. For a heavily overproof spirit, that alone is something to recommend it.
B+ / $35 / kodistilling.com