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Beefeater London Dry Gin

Review: Beefeater London Dry Gin   (84.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Refreshed March, 2020

Beefeater London Dry Gin is currently produced in Kennington, a district of South East London, in the United Kingdom. The company has roots stretching back to 1820 when the Chelsea Distillery was constructed on Cale Street and served as the first home for Beefeater Gin. The founder of the company, James Burrough, was not born until 1835, and it was not until about 1876 that the Beefeater brand was created from gin produced at the Chelsea Distillery. Over time the brand has changed locations twice, first in 1908 to Hutton Road, and then in 1958 to its present location in Kennington.

The Beefeater Gin website lists nine ingredients which are used to flavour the gin: Juniper, Lemon Peel, Seville Orange Peel, Almonds, Orris Root, Coriander Seed, Angelica Seed, Angelica Root, and Licorice Root. The list classic ingredients for a typical London Dry Gin.

In Canada, the Beefeater spirit is sold at 40 % abv.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The name “Beefeater” pays homage to the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary, which are of course know more popularly as the Beefeaters.

Beefeater London Dry Gin is sold in the tall rectangular bottle shown to the left which of course features an image of the ceremonial Guard of the Tower of London on the label as well as the London Bridge over the Thames River. I have been told that the shape of the bottle is representative of London Tower although I am not sure if this is fact or fiction.

I like the bottle presentation which is eye-catching and represents the English tradition of the spirit very well.

Note: My sample bottle (shown below) was of an older style which was used up until 2 years ago. These bottles are still prevalent on the retail liquor shelves in many stores.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I poured a small amount of gin into my glass and saw that it imparted long slender legs that fell rather quickly back into the glass. The gin is clear to the eye, and everything is as I expect it to be for a quality gin.

As I sniff the glass I get the impression that I am going to find the Beefeater Gin to be a very laid back and gentle spirit. Soft piny notes of juniper and earthy notes of licorice arise beside fresh scents of orange and lemon zest. A touch of coriander spiciness is present as well. Although the gin is juniper and citrus forward, it is nevertheless gentle Containing a mild earthy quality which appear to be very approachable.

In the Mouth  50/60

The gentleness that Beefeater Gin displayed in the air translates though the delivery into what I would say is a relaxed flavour. Juniper accented with licorice leads out brightened by citrus peel. The spiciness of coriander follows. Vague ghosts of other flavours seem to seep into and out of my thoughts leaving me to wonder if I really taste these new flavours or if I am imagining them because I know that more botanicals are in the mix.

This is not a hard gin like Gordon’s or Gilbey’s. Rather it features a softened juniper profile in a more laid back style. The classic flavour of the gin suits cocktails like the Gin and Tonic and Gimlets, although I might be tempted to go the Martini route as well. (If I did I would have to pick a mild Vermouth such that the Beefeater Gin could still shine.)

In the Throat 13/15

The exit is smooth and laid back. Juniper and licorice seem to find more expression in the exit with citrus zest and coriander spice lingering after the swallow.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

I reviewed Beefeater Gin about seven years ago and found the spirit underwhelming. It was so laid back that the word ‘boring’ crept into my review. I am not sure whether anything has changed; but I found myself enjoying the spirit more this time around, and it did seem to me that the juniper and licorice were more prominent than they had been in the past.

As a result my scores have picked up a little since that last review.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes

Gin and Lime

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
Slice of Lime

Pour the lime and sugar syrup into a suitable glass
Add Ice
Pour in a dollop of Gin
Garnish with a slice of lime

Stir and Enjoy Responsibly!


Beefeater and TonicBeefeater, Lime and Tonic (The BLT)

1 3/4 oz Beefeater London Dry Gin
1/2 oz fresh Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (or to taste)
2 oz Fentimans Tonic Water
Cucumber Chunk

Add the first three ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Q-Tonic
Garnish with cucumber

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


2 Responses to “Beefeater London Dry Gin”

  1. Dear Arctic Wolf,

    I very rarely (if at all) make comments on websites. However, reading your article I thought you might be interested in my own personal observations:

    40% ABV – your description of the 40% is accurate, the aroma and taste is muted, no doubt due to greater dilution with water. I spent the first 4 decades of my life in the UK and this is what I had come to expect of Beefeater. The 40% ABV is the most prevalent strength provided by Beefeater around the world.

    47% ABV – now I reside in the USA, the Beefeater here has a difference. The strength of aroma and taste bursts out, making it a classic Gin for the real Gin lover. However, there is a small price to pay – the higher alcohol reduces the smoothness. Do not mistake this in saying it is rough, for this is not the case, it just isn’t quite as smooth as you might find in other Gins. The 47% ABV strength is only provided to a few markets, USA and Japan in particular.

    Distillery Location – apologies for this pedantic comment but I thought you might like to check a mistake, a mistake which is easy to make given the close spelling. The distillery is in Kennington, a district of South East London – I perhaps have relatively unique insight into this, I spent several decades living only a few miles away from this business.

    I trust this helps, perhaps with the exception of getting your hands on a 47% ABV bottle!

    Kind regards, David.
    The Complete Gentleman

    • Hi David

      Thank-you very much for your comments (It is always nice as well to hear from those who have the same perceptions from the glass that I do.)

      As for your pedantic nature, please do not apologize as I never mind when people point out the small errors I occasionally make. Getting the information correct is much better than to allow errors to persist.


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