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Review

Becketts Type 1097 Gin

Distillery

Kingston Distillers Ltd., Kingston Upon Thames, England, UK.

Website

Becketts Gin

History

Founder, Neil Beckett, an engineer has been running Adenium Consulting since 2005 - a Product Design Consultancy who transform client ideas or prototypes into world-class products, having probably the highest idea-to-market conversion ratio in the industry. Kingston Distillery is a new business for Neil and was established at the end of 2013.

Kingston Upon Thames (it’s full name) is a Royal borough on the outskirts of London, bordering with the county of Surrey. It is the ancient location for the crowning of Kings of England (today its Westminster Abbey) and is considered the birthplace of England. In 925 AD King Athelstan, having united the kingdom’s of Wessex and Mercia and defeated the Vikings in the North, was crowned King of England at Kingston. A large stone, believed to be the coronation stone, can be found in the grounds of the Guildhall and this may be the origin of the town’s name: “Kings Stone”.

With this history it was perhaps an easy choice to make a classic English spirit and thus this Gin was launched in the spring of 2014. It is the only Gin in the world to be made from English juniper berries.

Production

Very little information is available except it is made, in small batches of around 1,000 bottles, in London.

The Gin is presented clear squat rectangular (almost square) bottle with flat shoulders and a silver top. It has a large white rectangular label, with black and green colored text, and green colored ornamental floral scrolling around the outer edges.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try Master of Malt in the UK but be prepared to add 40% extra for shipping costs. 

Botanicals

The Gin uses 6 botanicals including: coriander (Morocco), juniper berries (England), lime (Morocco), mint (Kingston, England), orange peel (sweet from Spain) and orris root (Italy).

Becketts Gin is unique in using English juniper berries, hand picked from Box Hill on the North Downs of Surrey. The North Downs are a series of hills forming an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and runs East to West, around 20 miles South of London. Box Hill, at 735 feet at its highest point, is named after the ancient woodland of Box (Buxus sempervirens – a low growing evergreen shrub or tree) found on its chalk slopes, and is the largest area of native Box in England. Boxwood is very slow growing and is one of the hardest woods found in Europe. It has no growth rings, and so is grain less, making it of particular interest for woodworkers who use it for marquetry, engraving and woodturning and is known for making excellent clarinets and tool handles. Rather interestingly the leaves from Box were often used in place of quinine (the key ingredient of Tonic Water) as a fever reducer!

Box Hill is a popular visitors attraction for picnics and walkers, granting stunning views and beautiful nature. It is also popular with cyclists (amateurs and professionals) with a route to the top called Zig Zag Road that climbs 400ft over 1.5 miles. It is also a Special Area of Conservation and designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, creating a home for over 40 species of butterfly, rare orchids, bats and has even given its name to a type of Squash Bug called the Box Bug (Gonocerus acuteangulatus). One area of Box Hill is called “Juniper Top” as it was covered in Juniper bushes. Unfortunately juniper, one of England’s three native species of conifer, has been declining due to poor seed quality and disease bringing many to the brink of localized extinction as can be found at “Juniper Top”.

Becketts Gin is helping to repopulate Juniper Top as part of a long-term conservation project, working with the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and Natural England. Kingston Distillery pick juniper berries from Box Hill for their Gin but some are used as seeds for propagation. The seeds can take up to a year to germinate and then spend another year or two before they can be planted out (with protection) on Juniper Top. The project commenced in October 2014 and will take perhaps a decade before real results are attained. Juniper is an important part of the countryside providing food for birds and supporting much flora and fauna including the juniper carpet moth. So, once this stage is reached, the most ambitious part of this conservation project is hoped to start. This decline of Juniper in England has led to the extinction of an insect called Chlorochroa Juniperina and the final aim is to reintroduce this species to England’s “Juniper Top”.

It should be noted Becketts is not the only Gin producer involved, Nolets Gin are supporting this conservation project too, and have made several financial donations to assist these endeavors. We offer our own personal thank you and well done to everyone involved, for this is a worthy and important ecological activity.

Name

Named after the founder Neil Beckett and the recipe number (No. 1097) finally used to produce this Gin.

Tasting Notes

Unfortunately we have yet to try this Gin and so we have no detailed tasting notes to share at this time. However, we understand from Becketts this has warm, aromatic and bittersweet notes with a cooling finish from the mint. They recommend using a lemon slice and mint leaves for garnish in a Gin and Tonic.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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