Gin guru David Smith picks out his top premium bottles to ensure that if you spend more, you get more
As spirits categories evolve and grow, so too does the vocabulary used to describe the different varieties available. The word ‘premium’ might draw some rolled eyes, but bear with me. In the following bottles, you’ll find top-shelf quality that represents great value too.
Martin Miller’s Dry Gin
Launched in 1999, this gin is made at Langley Distillery before going on a 3,000 mile round trip to Iceland for proofing and bottling using some of the world’s purest water. The gin offers a whole array of characteristics from bright resin to floral earthiness; crisp lime to fresh cucumber. Great to sip neat, with tonic, or in a French 75.
40% abv; £32/70cl, Amathus Drinks; 020 8951 9840
Tanqueray No Ten
Launched in 2000 and made at the Cameron Bridge Distillery in Scotland, this gin is a twist on the original Tanqueray gin, taking its four-botanical recipe and adding citrus and chamomile flowers. In addition to this and its ornate bottle, it is also bottled at a slightly punchier abv. A great all-rounder that never fails to impress; I like mine in a Martini.
47.3% abv; £40, Diageo; 020 8978 6000
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz
From Victoria, Australia, Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin is infused with Yarra Valley Shiraz grapes for eight weeks. The result is a unique, intense and complex spirit with rich, fruity notes and hints of sweet spice. This gin’s bold flavour makes it a pleasure to mix with, but it also really shines, served simply, over ice.
37.8% abv; £42.50/ 700ml, Love Drinks; 020 7501 9630
Made by Destilerías MG of Vilanova, near Barcelona, this gin is made using seven varieties of citrus, including a water-only distillation of lemongrass. The packaging is stunning: with its sea-green ridged bottle topped with a heavy, cast-metal closure, it oozes luxury. Importantly, the liquid inside reflects the quality of the bottle, with a bright and balanced, citrus-forward flavour profile that is simply amazing in a Gin & Tonic.
43% abv; POA, Nomad Collection; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hayman’s Family Reserve
Produced by Hayman Distillers, the Family Reserve features an array of classic gin botanicals and is aged for three to four weeks in ex-Scotch whisky barrels. The wood has a subtle impact on the gin, but the light resting gives it a pleasant, mellow character.
41.3% abv, £32/ 70cl, Love Drinks, 020 7501 9630
Hernö Swedish Excellence
Produced at the award-winning Hernö Distillery in Sweden, this gin is made using a mix of classic botanicals and local favourites such as lingonberries and meadowsweet. The base spirit is rectified in a copper pot still before being used in the gin; this time-consuming process helps to give the gin its trademark rich mouthfeel. Fantastic in a Negroni.
40.5% abv; £49/ 500ml, YC Group; 07971 154497
Adnams Copper House
Made at the Adnams Copper House Distillery in Southwold, Suffolk, this gin’s base spirit is made in-house using malted barley from East Anglia. The barley base spirit adds a spicy, vanilla character and a thick, luxurious texture to the gin. These characteristics make it both easy to sip and ensure that it stands up well to mixing. An excellent choice for a Gin Old Fashioned.
40% abv; £23.99/ 70cl, Adnams; 01502 727272
Launched in 2010 by wine merchants to the Queen, Berry Bros & Rudd, this gin ticks a number of premium boxes. The high abv and botanical intensity give it real power. This is a crisp gin and a favourite of many juniper-forward fans; serve in a Diamond/Dukes Martini (served straight from the freezer) for a luxurious and silky drink.
46% abv; POA, Fields, Morris & Verdin; 020 7819 0360