Palmers London Dry Gin is made at the Langley Distillery in England’s Midlands, where they know a thing or three about distilling as they’ve been making gin there since 1920. The distillery itself is on an old brewery site, which was built in the early 1800s over some underground wells. The wells still provide the distillery with its water today.
Langley’s has some of the oldest working copper gin stills in the UK, which also date back to the 1800s. They have, of course, all got names: McKay, Angela, Constance and Jenny. Jenny is the biggest and newest, born in 1994 and with a capacity of 12,000 litres. The oldest is McKay, from 1860 and holding a more modest 200 litres.
Langley’s is more than just your regular distiller, though. They’ll provide customers with raw spirits made from grain, barley, rye or molasses. They can create vodka, whisky, brandy and rum to your specifications. If you fancy opening a distillery of your own (and don’t we all fantasise about that?) they’re there to act as consultants.
Palmers London Dry Gin
The distillery’s own gins are called Palmers, after the family that runs it. The original gin continued the connections with history and was made from a 300-year-old recipe, but with a modern twist. The Palmer family added grapefruit, which they felt complemented the more earthy flavours of the old recipe.
This Palmers London Dry is yet another take, and has been made to celebrate the Palmer family’s 200 years in the distilling business. On the nose it’s a deliciously fresh citrus smell, with hints of pine from the original recipe, and putting the juniper in the background, which is where I prefer it. My wife, too, as she loved the citrus both on the nose and on the palate, where it provided a very smooth and warm mouth-feel. Interestingly, the master distiller Rob Dorsett says that there’s an abundance of juniper on the nose, which shows how personal one’s reactions are. The citrus only comes from grapefruit, but I would have sworn there was more than just grapefruit in there.
There’s a hint of spice in the taste, too, with coriander among the botanicals, and some liquorice. You get the feeling it’s a gin that’s been blended with great precision, and indeed on the company website it explains that the botanicals are measured out and weighed by hand, and added in a particular order so as to balance the tastes.
I stuck to the neat sample, while my wide added tonic. No, she thought. Tonic loses the fresh flavour of the gin. That’ll teach her to go adding tonic in a hurry! It’s definitely one to sip, then, and at 44% ABV it’s a strong sip. If you prefer to add tonic, I’d suggest a slice of grapefruit with it rather than lemon or lime, to complement the grapefruit that’s already in there.
You can buy Palmers London Dry Gin from Master of Malt.