Beefeater Crown Jewel

If I had any sense of timing at all, I would’ve blogged this review of Beefeater’s Crown Jewel gin two week’s ago, when the Queen was celebrating her 90th birthday. Everything that day came glossed with some tenuous royal glitter, and this gin would’ve slotted right in.

To be fair, this lapse in timing wasn’t entirely my fault. I woke up one morning and, instead of being able to immediately over stimulate my brain with the internet, I gave my despair glands a work out when my laptop wouldn’t switch on. I carted the dead thing to the repair shop (MacGuys in Tooting, thoroughly recommend them) and told them how things had inexplicably gone wrong for me and my computer.

The next day they rang to say they’d found out what was wrong: water damage. Had I ever spilt a drink near my laptop?

Me? Spill drinks? Not that I could remember, I said, while I hoping my laptop didn’t smell too obviously of gin. Not sure why I lied to them when they could see very well I’d been operating a ‘one for me, one for the laptop’ policy when it came to drinks, but they fixed it anyway. And now I can celebrate by opening up the bottle of Crown Jewel.

Gold capped and a regal purple, Crown Jewel’s bottle is engraved with the names of the ravens currently guarding the Tower of London. From 1993 till 2009 Crown Jewel celebrated these guardians of The Tower in alcoholic form, which is the best way to celebrate most things. It was discontinued when Beefeater 24 hit the market, but now it’s back. And the kind people at Beefeater have given me a bottle to try.

Day or night gin? Crown Jewel was originally meant for the export market, so there’s no namby-pamby 37.5% ABV here. No, Crown Jewel is 50% ABV. 50%! I can feel the Queen Mum smiling down from the great gin palace in the sky at the prospect of such a drink. This puts Crown Jewel firmly in the category of things you should only drink after dark, when you don’t have any heavy machinery to operate or important life decisions to make. Unless you are the Queen Mum, in which case: breakfast gin.

What does it smell of? There was a rich burst of juniper when I opened the bottle, followed by a soft citrus note. There is lemon, lime and grapefruit in the bottle and together they turn into a tropical breeze that warms up the juniper’s pine forest coolness.

What does it taste of? Oh mama (queen mama). This is a delicious gin. A dangerously delicious, really ginny gin. The flavour is intense, deeply herbaceous and so exactly like gin that I think that they may actually bottling the platonic ideal of gin.

If you like your martinis wet (and set to stun), then this is the gin to reach for. It makes a lovely G&T. I made my first one with ice and a slice (so shoot me, I’m old fashioned), but the second G&T garnished with a little wedge of grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary was truly excellent. I recommend it for when you’re spending an afternoon on the sofa, lounging in your at-home tiara.

Buy it? Yup. It’s £49.95 for 1 ltr, which does make it a bit of a special occasion buy. However, if you do have a special occasion then a chilled glass of Crown Jewel would be a good way to toast it. You can buy Crown Jewel from The Whisky Exchange or look out for it in swish cocktail bars.

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