No.3 London Dry Gin isn’t just a classy spirit – it’s a movie star. Kingsman 2, the recent sequel in Matthew Vaughn’s spy comedy series, featured the historic cellars of the gin brand in several scenes during the film.
To mark their auspicious appearance, No.3 merchants Berry Bros & Rudd have released a special edition of their gin, with just 5,000 bottles available.
Fortunately, the Gin Kin was able to get its hands on a bottle. Colin Firth and Channing Tatum may have enjoyed this gin during filming, but I’ll try to avoid being too starstruck and stay impartial.
Gin makers Berry Bros & Rudd are London’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, and have made their iconic St James Street shop the centre of their primary gin brand. Distilled first in Holland, No. 3 gin is created in copper pot stills and, according to the distillers, is designed to be the ‘last word in a gin martini’.
While the standard No.3 London Dry Gin comes in a clear, dark green bottle, the Kingsman edition is a little different. Encased in a tall bottle in such a dark green that it appears coal-black in some lights, this edition’s aesthetic is simple and stately.
There is one quirky exception that is iconic of the brand – set into the bottle is a key with an aged design, with the words ‘St James’ embossed and a blade shaped into three square prongs. The key unfortunately cannot be removed, despite my best efforts, but I’m guessing there’s a vast cellar of extra secret gin out there with that key’s name on it.
No.3 let their signature flavours do the talking. Bottled at a strength of 49%, the botanicals consist of three fruits and three spices:
Sweet orange peel
In a brand video with Martini master Alessandro Palazzi, he recommends a double measure, a wedge of pink grapefruit or lemon and then references Cocktail. It’s a fun video.
For my G&T, I tried it with a lemon slice and classic Schweppes tonic. Just like Palazzi, I wisely did not try throwing the bottle around like Tom Cruise.
A first sniff of the gin offers the heavy scent of juniper that hits right to the back of the throat, with citrus overtones coming through in second place. Whilst the gin is hardly a retreating flower in that initial scent, happily cardamom makes its presence known through the fragrance too.
Again, it’s initially heavy on the juniper but here the citrus notes come into their own, as the grapefruit and orange flavours tickle the tastebuds long past that initial sip. It’s certainly an enjoyable choice for those who enjoy those citrus flavours, and cardamon again makes a light appearance in the aftertaste, but it overpowers any presence of coriander.
Despite its bright flavour neat, No.3 eases up considerably with a touch of tonic. Following brand recommendations, I tried a double measure with lemon and Schweppes but it surprisingly didn’t taste half as strong as expected (she says, swaying gently).
Funnily enough too, that elusive coriander made a vivid appearance alongside the smooth cardamom, while the citrus flavours accentuated by the lemon slice provided a happy base. It ends up with a pleasant spiciness and a rich, luxurious aftertaste.
No.3 London dry gin comes bedecked in imposing simplicity, particularly in its Kingsman outfit. The gin contained in the bottle is a classic brand and the flavours contained within have been carefully chosen to come to the fore when required.
From its strong citrus notes when tasted neat, to its rich cardamom and coriander flavours when combined with tonic, this gin knows when to step back and when to be bold – not unlike a particularly skilled movie star.