In a world awash with high-end whiskey, tequila and rum, it seems like there hasn’t been much attention paid to premium gin as of late. But that might be about to change with the launch of Beefeater Crown Jewel, the most premium expression of this London dry gin.
Beefeater is currently owned by French company Pernod Ricard, but this classic London dry gin is actually distilled in the city of London (“London dry” is a designation of style and can be produced anywhere). The brand has released a high-end expression prior to the new Crown Jewel, the wine cask-aged Burrough’s Reserve which was named after the man who purchased the distillery in 1863 that would go on to become Beefeater. Crown Jewel was launched as a limited release 20 years ago, but it now joins the core lineup as a permanent addition. According to global brand director Murielle Dessenis, that’s in alignment with current trends. “By 2024, one in every three bottles of premium-plus gin will be super premium,” she said in a statement, “and it therefore made sense for us to consider bringing back our ultra-premium gin from our archives that had previously been so well received by world-renowned bartenders and connoisseurs.”
So what makes this new gin worth paying twice as much as a regular bottle of Beefeater? First, there’s the addition of grapefruit to the botanical mixture that already includes lemon peel, almond, angelica root, coriander seed and, of course, juniper. Also, the ABV has been boosted up to 50 percent from 40 percent, bringing extra strength and arguably flavor to the spirit. Crown Jewel is said to be inspired by the Tower of London jewels, and the ruby red bottle comes emblazoned with a gold label and cap. “As an elevated expression of our house style, Beefeater Crown Jewel is one of my favorites within the portfolio due to its full, rounded and encompassing aroma, and bartenders have been banging our door down to bring it back,” said master distiller Desmond Payne MBE in a statement. “To taste, you get fresh grapefruit-led citrus leading to the bolder kick of classic juniper at the crown. A long progression of warm spices and a hint of licorice sweetness finish with a reminder of deeper citrus notes.”
There have been other additions to the premium gin category in recent months as well. Monkey 47, also owned by Pernod Ricard, has its annual Distiller’s Cut that adds a special botanical to the mix; the recent Procera Gin from Africa commands a steep price due to its different vintages made with fresh juniper berries; and the leader of them all might be Nolet’s Reserve, an allocated Dutch gin made with crocus flowers (the origin of saffron) that sells for between $500 and $1000.
You can find Beefeater Crown Jewel starting this month in 16 countries, priced around $70. But if you can’t wait to elevate your Martini, it’s available to purchase online now from The Whisky Exchange.