Since 1668, the home of Berry Bros. & Rudd has been in St James’s Street, London. With their reputation at stake, on the 21st of July 2010 the beloved yet surprisingly (given they are a veritable drinks authority) humble wine and spirits merchants produced a gin that is a testament to all that they represent. In short, No. 3 Gin is a triumph.
The name (in this case the number three) refers to the building on St James’s Street that Berry Bros. & Rudd occupy. The number three continues to be relevant throughout the story of the both the production and packaging too, as there are three spice botanicals in the gin and three fruit botanicals. The award winning packaging also continues the theme on both the bottle and bottle cases (No.3 Gin won best overall packaging in the Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review, as well as scooping top prize at FAB awards and The Spirits Business).
The key, so dominant on the bottle front, was inspired by the key to The Parlour (a room at the heart of their St. James’ shop). As one the oldest rooms in the shop, it is steeped in tradition and in many ways the key symbolizes that the gin has been created with the family’s legacy and history at its heart. Chairman Simon Berry, sees it slightly differently and describes the key as a symbol of trust. He states that the key is a symbol of trust and that the gin is what the generations of customers would expect from such an establishment. Regardless of interpretation, the key concept has been brilliantly thought through at every stage of the brand’s development right though to its website.
The fact that we’ve gone to such an extent in describing the packaging might seem a bit odd. However, the small details matter and in this instance the added value it gives this product is huge. It makes receiving, opening and pouring the liquid that much more enjoyable, let alone adding depth and history to the product. For example the high-shouldered green bottle is inspired from the open pontil gin bottles that date back to 17th century. All these details add up and for a gin currently priced at over £30 (thus might be unaffordable for some as an everyday gin), means on those special occasions, No.3 delivers impeccably.
With juniper at its heart, the liquid unashamedly celebrates the integrity and character of a traditional London Dry Gin. No.3 is distilled to Berrys’ recipe at one of Holland’s oldest distilleries and is the only London Dry Gin from the distillery which is owned by a family firm that, like Berry Bros. & Rudd, has over 300 years of experience. Each batch is presided over by distiller Dr David Clutton who steeps the three fruit botanicals (juniper berries, orange peel, grapefruit peel) and three spice botanicals (angelica root, coriander seed, cardamom pods) overnight before distilling the spirit in traditional copper pot stills.
As always with a well-balanced and carefully crafted gin, each ingredient imparts its own character. The juniper not only gives the gin its name, but also provides the spirit with the unmistakable gin taste of pine. The sweet Spanish orange peel provides freshness in the form of softer citrus notes while the grapefruit peel gives it an extra twist. The three spices are all quite apparent too. The angelica root delivers an earthy quality and helps to make the gin dry, while the coriander seed releases a lemony flavour with a spicy, slightly peppery finish. Last but not least the cardamom pods provide their subtle yet distinct bite.
An independent consultant since 1997, Dr David Clutton has leant his extensive knowledge of pot stills and spirits distillation to a number of companies around the globe, helping to create some of the most prestigious gins in the world today. No.3 Gin is the culmination of his years of experience and the spirit he has produced is a true reflection on his ability to dissect and combine flavour profiles. Designed with the cocktail specifically in mind, No.3 is obviously a Martini gin (at 46 % ABV, the gin is strong but smooth), but it also delivers time and time again in a G&T.
Tasted neat it’s a testament to the quality of both the gin and to Dr Clutton that it is possible to detect all the elements on their journey while also noticing just how well balanced and blended they all are. Fresh juniper on the nose, again on the palate this time supported by the citrus and spice, and earthy dryness to finish. None are too sharp, linger too long nor dominate the senses. The juniper is clear and bright but well supported by the other botanicals – just as it should be. No.3 is an unmistakably traditional London Dry Gin and we would go as far as suggesting possibly the new bench mark of what one should be.
Given their 300 years of heritage, tradition and expertise, it is not surprising to see that Berry Bros. & Rudd have created a gin that is picking up both awards and momentum. The company was founded in 1698 and has supplied generations of discerning drinkers with fine wines and spirits. To this day Berry Bros. & Rudd remain a family business; the chairman Simon Berry is the latest of eight generations of the Berrys family to have worked in the business.
What Berry Bros. & Rudd’s No. 3 London Dry Gin has proved – unequivocally – is that in a category that has become saturated, the most important thing you can do is pay attention to the details, and the most important asset a company can have is experience. Working with people like Dr Clutton and panels of industry experts to help develop the gin, they have added to their own vast experience and have reaped the rewards. No.3 Gin is set to rocket in years to come as it delivers in all areas. Their approach of blending strategy and creative thinking to create an emotionally engaging brand is coming to fruition and with time, will flourish. The care, craft and attention to detail that has gone into the gin itself has been matched by the rest of the brand identity. The combination is a gin that has authenticity, integrity and soul – a rare feat and one that means that No.3 lives up to its tag of a super premium gin. It is early days still for the brand, but we look forward to seeing what they create when the time comes to launching National marketing campaigns.
For more on No3 Gin you can visit their website:
They are also on Twitter: @No3Gin