Beefeater is a clean and classic expression of London Dry gin packed with balanced flavors of juniper, coriander, and citrus.
Classification: London Dry gin
Company: Pernod Ricard
Distillery: Kennington, London
Still Type: pot still
Awards: Gold, 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
- The recently decreased ABV might be a turn-off for London Dry loyalists.
Nose: Trademark juniper laced with floral, coriander, and citrus notes, and a hint of almond
Palate: Gently sweet and spicy, with a nice woody and floral balancing note from the angelica and licorice root, and gentle juniper freshness
Finish: Citrusy and pine-y, with just a little bit of spicy, savory heat
Beefeater has been making its classic London Dry gin the same way since 1876 (although its origins likely date several years prior), when pharmacist-turned-distiller James Burrough officially began selling the product using the same nine botanicals that are part of its delicate-yet-spicy flavor today. In addition to juniper, these botanicals are orris root, angelica root and seed, coriander seed, almond, licorice root, and lemon and Seville orange peels. And it’s good they haven’t messed with Burrough’s pharmacist’s precision too much: Beefeater’s botanical balance is on point, as delicious to sip solo as it is to mix with.
The world of gin has exploded in the last few years, with many distillers trying their hands at combining all sorts of flowers, fruits, herbs, roots, and berries, only to find that the wrong combination yields liquid drugstore potpourri. It’s not as easy as one might think to get each of the components macerated (or distilled) to good harmonious effect. Beefeater teases out the best parts of its bevy of botanicals, macerating for 24 hours in neutral grain spirit and then re-distilling in its ancient pot stills to get the resulting aromatic gin.
In 2020, the company decreased the spirit’s ABV from 48% to 44% in the United States, to the chagrin of some devotees who preferred the higher proof and believe it’s essential to the London Dry style (which, actually, need not be made in London, although Beefeater is). In Europe, however, the proof has remained at 40%. Go figure.
The bottom line: Juniper-forward but gently so, the just-right punch of versatile Beefeater’s classic botanical components complement this gin’s fresh, pine-y pop.