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REVIEW: James Keiller Estates – Dundee Dry Gin

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Distilled and bottled by our friends at Verdant Spirits for James Keiller Estates, Dundee Dry Gin is inspired by the story of Janet Keiller – the (rumoured) creator of marmalade. 

We’re giving away a bottle of this gorgeous limited run gin to one of our lovely readers. You know the drill, head over to our Competitions page to enter! 

A little bit of background

Dundee: A city known historically for jute, journalism and of course – jam. Dundee legend states that marmalade was born when local woman Janet Keiller chanced upon a cargo of overripe Seville oranges at Dundee’s once-thriving port and rescued them to make into jam. This new citrus flavoured preserve proved very popular with the locals and Janet and her husband went on to start the legacy that is Keiller marmalade.

James Keiller Estates’ Dundee Dry Gin is inspired by this tale and promises a bottle “infused with tradition” and is the second gin to be distilled and bottled in this up-and-coming city.

Key Botanicals and Features

James Keiller Estates’ Dundee Dry Gin is another gin where the recipe, so far, has been kept under tight lock and key and quite rightly – as I’ve never tasted a flavoured gin that quite encapsulates the flavour of orange in this way – but more about that later… The bottle simply states that this gin is flavoured with “juniper, botanicals and Seville orange”. I reckon there’s got to be some lemon peel in there too, along with some liquorice for sweetness and some classic gin botanicals like angelica, cassia bark and possibly a little bit of spicy cubeb.

The bottle, as shown below, has taken heavy inspiration from the original Keiller marmalade packaging. Expertly crafted from white porcelain and emblazoned with a design that mirrors that of the Dundee Marmalade jars – this bottle oozes simplicity and tradition. The best part? The wax dipped cap. Not only is it extremely satisfying to open but just adds another layer of traditionalism to the overall look.

Some beautiful photography of our James Keiller bottles by Lighthouse Photography – thanks Eddie!

Posted by Verdant Spirits on Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Perfect Serve

You’d be crazy not to serve this gin with citrus as a garnish. I had mine in a big copa glass with a couple of slices or orange, loads of ice and a suitable amount of Fever Tree Naturally Light. I like this tonic for flavoured gins as it doesn’t have too strong a quinine taste, so allows the gin to shine.

On the Nose

Peel off that satisfying wax seal and pop open the stopper and your nostrils are immediately hit with a gorgeous burst of citrus. I’m not sure how they’ve done it but, comparing Dundee Dry Gin to something like Whitely Neill Blood Orange and this has a distinct sweetness to it that definitely defines it as a marmalade gin, rather than an orange flavoured one.


I first drank this gin on ice, allowing the ice to melt a little first to bring out the individual flavours. By itself, it’s surprisingly not orangey. Don’t get me wrong the orange is there but, it’s balanced with a peppery spiciness and a big old hit of juniper. This marmalade gin is so smooth that I could happily drink it on the rocks, with none of the bitter aftertaste that you get from lower quality gins.

With Tonic

A glug of tonic really brings out the marmalade flavours in this gin. In fact, it’s almost an entirely different drink with the addition of a mixer. The spiciness is diminished and sweet orange comes to the forefront. It actually tastes a little bit like an orange soda, with a big punch of juniper to boot!

You can nab yourself a bottle of James Keiller Estates Dundee Dry Gin at the DC Thomson Shop.