LONDON DRY GIN FIFTY POUNDS

Although Fifty Pounds is made in London, that’s not what makes it a London Gin.

The full term for this category of gin is “London Dry Gin”. The term “Dry Gin” came about with the invention of the Coffey still in the early 19th century. As mentioned in our History of Gin – and echoing back to our own name – Britain had been in the grip of a gin craze with most of the spirit being crudely – and dangerously – made and heavily flavoured to mask its lack of quality.

The arrival of the Coffey still meant that it was possible to produce a more consistent, smoother gin that didn’t need lacing with sugar or honey and that became known as “Dry Gin”. Most of the producers were based in the capital, hence the addition of “London” to that moniker.

Traditionally the flavour profile of London Dry Gin has been juniper-lead, with a touch of citrus and an earthy finish – a description that may sound familiar if you’ve read our tasting notes .

London Dry Gin must contain no artificial ingredients, be flavoured predominantly with juniper,  contain only a minute amount of sweetener and cannot have any flavour or colour added after distillation.

More recently, the conditions required to use the label London Dry Gin have been formalised, heavily so in fact: since 2008 this has been dictated by a series of EU regulations.

We won’t go into all of the details but the key components are:

    1. The gin must use a neutral base spirit of agricultural origin, that has already been distilled to over 96% ABV, and London Dry Gin must be (re)distilled to at least 70% ABV.
    2. London Dry Gin is then watered down to a minimum strength of 37.5%
    3. London Dry Gin must contain no artificial ingredients, be flavoured predominantly with juniper,  contain only a minute amount of sweetener and cannot have any flavour or colour added after distillation.

This is where the skills of our distiller come in. They must achieve the full range of flavours in Fifty Pounds during the distillation process and can’t adjust afterwards. It’s the reason we celebrate our distiller so often…