Since 1668, Berry Bros. & Rudd’s booze shop has been something of an icon of St James’s Street, London. As a drinks authority, the team had more than an inkling that Gin was due a resurgence, so way back in 2010 – and with a huge reputation at stake – they decided to create their very own. How does their flagship No.3 Gin fair? Well, we think it’s something of a triumph.
The name refers to the building on St James’s Street that Berry Bros. & Rudd occupy, though it doesn’t quite stop there. In fact, the number replicates itself throughout the story. For example, there are three spice and three fruits in the botanical mix.
The first thing to talk about is the (now award-winning) bottle. Glorious green with a huge, real key stuck to the front of the bottle, the branding work here is nothing short of iconic. The key is a replica of that to The Parlour, one of the oldest rooms in the Berry Bros. shop. Chairman Simon Berry says that the key is a symbol of trust; a promise, as it were, that the gin is what customers would expect from such an establishment. It is brilliantly thought out, tactile and memorable, and very possible one of our favourite bottles on the market.
The fact that we’ve gone to such an extent in describing the packaging might seem a bit odd, but small details matter and in this instance the added value it gives the product is huge. It makes receiving, opening and pouring the liquid that much more enjoyable, let alone adding depth and history to the product. For example the high-shouldered green bottle is inspired from the open pontil gin bottles that date back to 17th century. It promises to be classic before you’ve even opened the bottle, whispering ‘put me in a Martini, put me in a Martini’ from the shelves.
With juniper at its heart, the liquid unashamedly celebrates the integrity and character of a traditional London Dry Gin. No.3 Gin is distilled to Berry’s recipe specifications at one of Holland’s oldest distilleries. It is the only London Dry Gin being made at the family run distillery, which, just like Berry Bros. & Rudd, has over 300 years of experience. Each batch is presided over by distiller Dr. David Clutton, who steeps the three fruit botanicals (juniper berries, orange peel, grapefruit peel) and three spice botanicals (angelica root, coriander seed, cardamom pods) overnight before distilling the spirit in traditional copper pot stills.
An independent consultant since 1997, Dr. David Clutton has leant his extensive knowledge of pot stills and spirits distillation to a number of companies around the globe, helping to create some of the most prestigious gins in the world today. No.3 Gin is the culmination of his years of experience, and the spirit he has produced is a true reflection of his ability to dissect and combine flavour profiles. Designed with cocktails specifically in mind, No.3 is obviously a Martini gin (at 46 % ABV, the gin is strong but smooth), but it also delivers time and time again in a G&T.
No. 3 Gin to taste…
As always with a well-balanced and carefully crafted gin, each ingredient imparts its own character and does so in a carefully orchestrated succession. On the nose, there’s the grapefruit zing just edging ahead of a forrest-like tone. To taste, the juniper provides the spirit with an unmistakably piney core, whilst the sweet Spanish orange peel provides freshness in the form of softer citrus notes. The grapefruit, still zinging delivers an additional bright twist (and it’s probably worth noting that eight years ago it was something of a novel addition to a gin). The three spices are all quite apparent too; the angelica root delivers an earthy quality and helps to make the gin dry at the death, while the coriander seed releases a lemony flavour with a warming, slightly peppery finish. Last but not least the cardamom pods provide their subtle yet distinctive bite that anchors the flavours deliciously.
Tasted neat, it’s a testament to the quality of both the gin and to Dr. Clutton that it is possible to detect all of the elements on their journey while also noticing just how well balanced and blended they are. None are too sharp, nor do they linger too long or dominate the senses. The juniper is clear and bright but well supported by the other botanicals – just as it should be. No.3 is an unmistakably traditional London Dry Gin and we would go as far as suggesting that it’s a very decent benchmark at which other classically styled gins should aim.
Given their 300 years of heritage, tradition and expertise, it is not surprising to see that Berry Bros. & Rudd has created a gin that is picking up both awards and momentum. The company was founded in 1698 and has supplied generations of discerning drinkers with fine wines and spirits. To this day, Berry Bros. & Rudd remains a family business; the chairman Simon Berry is the latest of eight generations of the Berry’s family to have worked in the business.
What Berry Bros. & Rudd’s No.3 London Dry Gin has proved – unequivocally – is that in a category that has become saturated, the most important thing you can do is pay attention to the details. They have combined the expertise of people like Dr. Clutton and panels of industry experts with their own experience and created something incredible.
The care, craft and attention to detail that has gone into the gin itself has been matched by brand identity and the combination of both results in a gin that has authenticity, integrity and soul – a rare feat and one that means that No.3 lives up to its tag of a super premium gin.
For more information about No.3 Gin, visit their website: www.no3gin.com
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