My good friend and buddy David T. Smith recently hooked me up with a few minis/samples from his extensive collection when I was in London last month. One of those gaps in my gin notes was the Beefeater London Market variation, released right around the time Beefeater Winter and Beefeater Summer (warning, one of my earliest reviews on this site: ).
I realize this gin is probably quite difficult to find, as it was a limited edition, and it came out a couple of years ago. Sorry for being a few years late to the party.
In <100 Words
Part of a series of gins put out by Beefeater just as the gin renaissance was exploding, London Market adds Cardamom, Pomegranate Seeds, Kaffir/Makrut Lime leaves to the standard beefeater set of botanicals. Released in 2011 in European markets, it is no longer being produced or widely available.
The nose has a little bit of a floral lilt in the high notes, with lime coming through clearly, then lemon and orange, with a tinge of citric acid. Strong nose that ends on a more classic note. The palate is tart and citrus dominated, with a lemon/lime zest sharpness, likely given a sharper character by the addition of pomegranate which seems to fade into the background.
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Navy Strength gin is enjoying something of a resurgence. So-called because Navy myth has it that at 114 proof, if your gunpowder was soaked in this gin, it would still ignite.
In modern times, we’re not so concerned with storing our gin in our artillery room. And we’re not so worried about gin spilling on our ammunition. And then we’re even less worried about igniting said ammunition after being soaked in gin. But what we are concerned with, in these heady days of multi-ingredient cocktails with strong ingredients is having a gin which can assert its gin like qualities even when mixed. Can Royal Dock of Deptford live up to its Navy Strength name?
But first, what is Deptford?
Deptford is a district in the city of London in the United Kingdom. The district of Deptford was home to the aptly titled Deptford Dockyard, which was one of the best known dockyards of British Royal Navy. So Navy Strength Gin from a gin from the Royal Docks of Deptford.
Royal Dock is not actually the brand name of this gin. This gin is from Hayman Distillers in London. Now that we’re past the small print, let’s get on with the gin.
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First, I want to thank Billy Silverman over at Bulldog Gin for sending us a bottle. I’d seen the subway ads around New York City, but I’d never quite got around to buying a bottle. I’m glad he did, because I think Bulldog Gin does a lot of things very well. Now I can see what I was missing.
Bulldog gin hails from London, and that designation alone carries a lot of baggage. London Dry is the classic style of gin; the style which embodies everything that gin is supposed to be: the prickly juniper, the fresh citrus. When I looked at the Bulldog bottle, these expectations and preconceived notions were all on the table.
Let’s begin Tasting
The scent is deceiving and immediately said, “this may not be the London Dry you’re expecting.” It was fresh, almost floral. First taste revealed that Bulldog’s London Dry roots are still evident. The taste is very mellow, very drinkable. Juniper is forefront in my estimation, but not overwhelming. Its very nice and well balanced. Neat you get a bit of the richness of the poppy, the coriander. Hints of warm spice come out.
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