All the ingredients of a healthy breakfast – tea(s), grapefruit and gin in one bottle.
Notes: Founded in 1820 by James Burrough, a pharmacist in London. The distillery moved around a bit for a number of years and now resides in the ex- Haywards Military Pickle Factory in Eddington (suburb of London). After forty two years of doing the exact same gin with no changes, Beefeater has let their Master Distiller Desmond Payne off leash for a bit to try something new.
As usual, the ingredients are macerated for 24 hours in grain spirits prior to distillation (not a compound or bathtub type gin), made in steam heated swan necked copper pot stills and with a distillation time of seven hours. The difference is this is the newly launched version which uses Japanese Sencha Green Tea, Chinese Green Tea, and hand prepared grapefruit rind, in addition to their regular blend of botanicals. There is also of course the original, iconic Beefeater.
Appearance: Crystal clear, scalloped edgeline (meniscus) on swirling then long delay before long legs, which then become droplets on the side of the glass.
First Impression: Nicely aromatic juniper, somewhat more subdued by the grapefruit and seville orange with witchhazel,angelica, coriander, cassia, licorice,almond, orris root and the other usual suspects providing the nicely complex bouquet Beefeater is known for. There is however a certain earthiness and spice slightly vegetal but teasing because of the tea.
Taste: Wonderfully thick body to it if slightly lighter than the original.The grapefruit and juniper play off each other well and the teas add some subtle flavors and astringency to the finish. It does however come off a bit more aggressive and hot with a lingering tea like aftertaste.
Drinks: Makes a excellent martini, if slightly different martini. A whisper of tea compared to the Pegu Club’s Earl Grey Martini, but interesting none the less. A number of the signature cocktails (check their website for recipes) were served at their party at Tales of the Cocktail and quite good. Good choice for someone who wants to try something a bit different without being a radical departure.
Bottle: Clear rectangular shaped bottle with “Made in London” stamped in the glass on the sides and 1820 on the front shoulder – gold-on-red neck seal. Small black bordered paper label with red on white label with “Beefeater 24 ” and “Artisan Cut” on the label. Pressed glass design on all four sides is heavily influenced from the arts and crafts movement (more specifically William Morris in our opinion). Brilliant red foot/pontle of bottle also sets off design and highlights the bottle (especially when lit from below) as a new product.
Final Thoughts: An interesting and drier, more herbal and citrus departure on a classic. While this version costs about 50% more than its regular version it is still at or below the price of many of the newer artisanal gins and the only artisanal gin in the world made by someone of Desmond Paynes vast experience and expertise – in our mind that counts for a bit.
Nice website but loads somewhat slowly, very easy to navigate, but no where near as complete as the original Beefeater site.