Montgomery \u2018Monty\u2019 Collins was no average bloke. Retiring to Germany\u2019s Black Forest after a stint in the Royal Air Force during the reconstruction of Berlin in 1945, he opened up a guesthouse and named it after his sponsored monkey, Max. Despite his worldly ways, and the five languages he fluently spoke, his quintessentially British stiff upper lip never left him, and he soon longed for a quality gin and tonic. With juniper in abundance, as well as spring water and an entire forest of botanicals at his fingertips, he began to distil himself a personal recipe for his then nameless gin.\r\nWhile the story of Monty trails off in the early \u201860s, a renovation of his guest house revealed an old box which contained a bottle of liquid with a hand-drawn label featuring a monkey on it, underneath which was written \u2018Schwarzwald Dry Gin\u2019 in black ink. There was also a letter, which, as luck would have it, included a recipe for the stuff.\r\n\r\nFast forward to 2017 and, while seasoned gin drinkers will already be well-versed in the intricate qualities of this newly re-invigorated top drop, newcomers to the brand might be curious as to how a traditionally English product made in the Black Forest is so popular in Australia.\r\nFrom the smaller-than-usual bottle to the purple postage-stamp label, the dark-brown colour of the glass, which protects the unfiltered particles from sunlight, to the silver ring which adorns the cork (and the hands of many fans the world over), everything about this gin has been thoughtfully executed down to most minute detail, and this painstaking level of care-factor is demonstrated both on the shelf and in the glass.\r\nWe caught up with Monkey 47\u2019s General Manager for the Asia-Pacific region, and all-round dead set legend, Julian Nicolay, to get the low-down on what makes this gin unique, and why you should get one in your hand right now.\r\n\r\nWhat Makes Monkey 47 \u2018The Best\u2019?\r\nHahaha - Boy. The first question is really is there truly just a \u2018greatest gin in the world?\u2019 Before I was with Monkey 47, I was with a distributor that had about 60 brands of whiskey. When people would ask how they should drink their whisky my answer was always \u2018you paid for it, drink it how you want\u2019. Nobody has the right to tell you how to drink it - it doesn\u2019t matter. It\u2019s the same when you\u2019re tasting alcohol. Maybe your grandma used to make a Christmas cake with a special ingredient in it, and because that ingredient also happens to be a botanical in Monkey 47, you can remember it when you smell or taste it. \r\nThere are more gins coming out of Australia now than anywhere else and we\u2019ve been lucky enough to make friends with most of the distillers out there, so we don\u2019t claim we\u2019re better than every other gin, but we are different.\r\nMonkey 47 was created to be layered in the same way a perfume is layered, which is unique to us, so we don\u2019t feel lost on the market. A lot of gins are made by distilleries as a quick way to make money while they age their whiskies, because that takes a long time and they need to generate revenue in the meantime, but Monkey 47 took us two years of R&D just to develop. You don\u2019t see most of our experiments, barrel ageing etc in the marketplace because we only release the best of the best, and Monkey 47 is the best we\u2019ve been able to come up with.\r\n\r\nWith regards to the product, there are a lot of new gin drinkers out there who might not have seen it before - how do you recommend they try it for the first time, and how should they give it a crack if they want something adventurous?\r\nWhen you\u2019re going to try a gin, most of the new gins today - the good ones, they were created to be sipped. I\u2019m not saying get a glass of gin and sip it, you can order your regular GnT, but ask the bartender for a tiny taste on the side and smell it, taste it - don\u2019t shoot it. Put a bit on your tongue and roll it around. It\u2019s not about comparing it with other gins. If you\u2019re a beginner, have a Monkey 47 GnT, preferably with a slice of grapefruit, but try the gin on its own also.\r\nIf you want to be adventurous, I always recommend Monkey 47 drinkers try a Negroni. If you\u2019re lucky enough to be in a bar that stocks sloe gin, get the bartender to put a splash over the top of your Negroni - that\u2019s going to change your world man!\r\nAny Sloe Gin in particular?\r\nYeah, Monkey 47 Sloe Gin.\r\nOf course. What do you say to people who claim that gin especially makes them sad?\r\nThat\u2019s bullshit. All alcohol makes you sad, it\u2019s a downer man. My answer to that is that you\u2019re drinking the wrong gin.\r\n\r\nOut of 47 botanicals - do you have a favourite?\r\nI do, but only because I\u2019m French (he says in his thick American accent). It\u2019s the lavender. It goes back to what I said at the beginning which is that alcohol is subjective. Gin is subjective. When I was very young I was still living gin France and it was mothers\u2019 day, I must have been about 5 years old, and the teachers made us make these little bags of lavender. What we did was we went out into the fields outside of Paris to pick lavender, and I have no idea why, but that smell has stuck with me for the rest of my life - it\u2019s crazy, I can smell it from miles away. So the first thing I get from Monkey 47 is the lavender. I think it\u2019s awesome.\r\nI\u2019ll add to that though that if anybody gets the opportunity to try the distiller\u2019s cut, we make it different each year and this year we made it with honey from our very own apiary in the Black Forest. It makes it very sweet, it coats your tongue.\r\n\r\nWith so many options for just about every spirit category now available, why should people invest more money in a premium brand? I mean, it won\u2019t get you any drunker, right?\r\nThere are a few things you need to understand - the first is understated luxury. We\u2019re not a luxurious product, but understatement\u2026 That\u2019s\u2026 Put it this way - you don\u2019t drink Monkey 47 for other people to know that you\u2019re drinking Monkey 47. That\u2019s the beauty of gin. You drink Macallan 25 because you want other people to know that you\u2019re drinking Macallan 25. If your readers get mad at me I apologise but if you want a very high-end sherried whisky, you could probably get something similar or even better for a cheaper price and it doesn\u2019t have to be that big brand that everybody knows.\r\nThe beauty here is that we don\u2019t have that issue with gin because there\u2019s no sex appeal like other products - it\u2019s not going to get you laid. The first reason you\u2019d order this product is that you want to treat yourself. The truth is that if you drink shit gin and then go and have a Monkey 47, it\u2019s worth the extra money because the experience changes. If you don\u2019t spend the extra few dollars, you won\u2019t know. It\u2019s not about expense, its about quality. The more quality you drink, it\u2019s more conducive to having a good time. Monkey 47 is expensive but there\u2019s a reason for it. A good gin and tonic will make you happier than having a shit gin and tonic.\r\n\r\nWhat do you think when you see people wearing the rings from the bottle?\r\nI fucking love it man! We travel all over the world and I give those rings to a lot of people. This one time we walked into a bar in Malaysia and I was with a friend, and I asked for a Monkey 47, and told them that I worked for the company. This huge guy behind the bar yells \u2018BOYS - RINGS!\u2019 and the whole bar held their hands up and showed their rings, which they were using to open bottles of beer. I loved it.\r\nIt\u2019s like a little present and people talk about it. Never forget the power of waking up hungover and looking at your hand and going \u2018what the fuck is this?!\u2019 It should be a reward for finishing the bottle. \r\nIt has a reason too - when we palletise and stack the bottles in the factory, the ring stops the cork from being pushed all the way in. But really, we always kept the cork for that initial \u2018pop\u2019 sound when you open a new bottle. That\u2019s the reason.\r\nWhat one thing would you say to our readers about your product?\r\nI get it if you don\u2019t like gin, I truly understand. I used to not be a big gin drinker. There\u2019s one gentleman I knew who used to run a very big European distribution company and he was the first to make me try Monkey 47. He said to me that yes, Monkey 47 is a gin, but it\u2019s almost above a gin, it\u2019s crazy stuff. I don't know if I agree with int entirely, because I do believe that Monkey 47 is still a gin, but if you think you don\u2019t like gin, just do me a favour. Just try Monkey 47 once, because I promise you that I have hordes of people say they don\u2019t like gin, but who drink Monkey 47. I get it, you were 15 years old and got hammered on gin and now you can\u2019t even smell it, but just try Monkey 47.\r\n\r\nMonkey 47\r\n\r\nHave you subscribed to Man of Many? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.