Putting “No 1” on your bottle is pretty bold, especially when you’re a London gin that’s competing with a horde of other fine London-style gins. And when you’re owned by a Spanish company (Gonzalez Byass) that primarily makes wines and sherry. And when your gin is blue. That’s right, it’s blue. It says “gin with certified color” right there on the label.
But no matter. The London No 1 Gin is gin that’s actually made in London, and it’s quite good. It employs pot stills to make small batches of the spirit. It’s steeped with 12 botanicals, including juniper, citrus peels, cinnamon, bergamot, almond and iris root, a mix that blends traditional botanicals with some more contemporary flair.
The London No 1 pours pale sapphire in the glass. It’s not the first colored gin–it’s not even the first blue gin–but the sensation is still a bit confusing. Especially when you nose the glass and get that immediate, unmistakable hit of juniper. On top of that juniper you’ll also find lemon and orange notes, along with plenty of earthy aromas. Take a sip, and the mouthfeel starts out surprisingly soft as the gin rolls around the tongue. But that softness quickly turns dry and spicy, as it coats the mouth with lots of earth, pepper, ginger and cinnamon. Citrus, floral elements and just the slightest hint of licorice round things out, and it ends nearly as soft as it started, except this time with a touch of sweetness bringing things to a close.
There’s a lot going on here, and though it’s not entirely composed, The London No 1 is one interesting and flavorful gin. We remain a little put off by the color, but we should note that the pale blue tint and sleek bottle design combine to create a really fine-looking addition to our bar.
– 47% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★