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Reserve XO Gin


Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd., Broxburn, West Lothian, Scotland, UK.


Ian Macleod Distillery.


Leonard J Russell established a business in 1933 and in 1963 the Russell family acquired the Ian Macloed distillery. Today it is in its third generation of family leadership and is best known for their whiskies, which include Glengoyne Highland single malt.

This Gin followed the launch of Kensington Gin in 2001, and is taken a step further.


Handcrafted and distilled in copper alembic pot stills with Scottish mineral water. Aged for 3 years in new oak barrels from Kentucky, and treated much like an exclusive single malt Whisky, giving it an amber hue and a classic smokiness.

The Gin is presented in a very exclusive style. Originally it came in a crystal decanter but more recently this has changed, to a uniquely designed Steuben glass decanter. This presentation clearly counts somewhat towards the overall cost of the Gin.


Barrel Aged Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

47.2% (94 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ - $. Very limited availability, but can be found in the USA occasionally. Try online at Internet Wines.


We suspect it is made with the same 15 botanicals as the original Kensington Gin: almonds (Spain), angelica root (Portugal), cardamom seed (France), cassia bark (Asia), cinnamon (Sri Lanka), coriander seeds (France), cubeb berries (Pacific Rim), fennel seeds (Germany), grains of paradise (Pacific Rim), juniper berries (Tuscany), lemon peel (Spain), liquorice root (Mediterranean), nutmeg (West Indies), orange peel (Spain) and orris root (Italy).


We assume this is named after the London Borough of Kensington, probably because this area could be considered the London birthplace of Gin. Queen Mary of England and her new husband, William of Orange from Holland were seeking a new residence in London. In 1689 they bought Nottingham House just to the West of Westminster, had renovations and additions made by Christopher Wren, and renamed it Kensington Palace. William of Orange is responsible for boosting the popularity of locally produced grain spirits (including imports from Holland) by making them free from levies of any kind (as opposed to the heavy taxation upon wine and spirits from Catholic states e.g. France, Spain etc.). Thus, the “Gin Craze” was born in London. Kensington palace is now a shared residence for members of the Royal family, rather than the Monarchs, prompting King Edward VIII to call it the “Aunt heap”.

In 1965 Kensington was renamed The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is an exclusive area, being one of the most expensive places to live in the world. It is famed for its museums, embassies, high-class hotels, the Royal Colleges of Art and Music plus Olympia Exhibition Centre and the Royal Albert Hall. For some it is best known for its upmarket shopping, including shops such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Perhaps an ideal setting for buying some of the most exclusive (and expensive) Gins!

Tasting Notes

Unfortunately we have not tasted this yet, so are unable to provide any details. It will be interesting to see how it compares with the original Kensington Gin. We expect it to be a much smoother sipping Gin and stronger flavored from the oak barrels, but we shall have to wait and see. Let us know you views if you manage to sample this before us, regretably this is the most expensive Gin we are aware of and so we’re not sure who will get there first (not that it’s a competition!).

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