When the Indian-born Englishman wing commander Montgomery "Monty" Collins of the Royal Air Force was stationed in Germany after World War 2, he helped rebuild the famous Berlin Zoo, where he became attached to Max, an egret monkey.
At about the same time, he became intrigued by the botanicals and natural flora of the German Black Forest, which he used to create a complex gin that he called Max the Monkey Schwarzwald Dry Gin.
In 2006, Alexander Stein, scion of Germany’s Jacobi brandy dynasty, was told this story and then presented with the recipe for Collins’s gin. Spurred by the tale — and the fact that a third of the 47 ingredients came from the Black Forest — Stein went on to reproduce the spirit, which he called Monkey 47. Today, it is regarded as one of the best gins in the world.
From this month, South Africans will be able to sample Monkey 47 at selected bars around the country. And 47 bottles of limited-edition Monkey 47 will go on sale for just 47 hours on the Norman Goodfellows website.