The first thing you should know about Fifty Pounds Gin, is that it does not cost fifty pounds. I’m sure if you try really hard, you can find someone charging a bullseye, but generally, you’re looking at around £32 for a 70cl bottle.
I wondered if perhaps they started out with the idea they might get £50 a bottle, or at least if they pretended that was its worth, then people would think paying £32 was a bargain and thus quickly part with their readies. The web site corrects me – £50 was the levy imposed by the 1736 gin act, imposed upon distillers to help weed out the home distilleries that were destroying the lives of common gin-drinkers.
The recipe, like the bottle design, harks back from these early days of gin-swilling, with both revived to plug a hole in the ever-expanding gin renaissance. Distilled in a traditional John Dore still, in a traditional south London distillery, this has all the hallmarks of something that is over-reliant on tradition and branding to sell it – and yet, it is also rather delicious.
A little harsh neat, it turns into a refreshing and zingy little gin and tonic with, in this case, 1724 tonic water. At 43.5% it is both punchy and smooth, ‘exceptional velvetiness’ as described on the bottle, and I will just about allow that. I would argue with the shoddy quality of the cork, a cork that did not want to come out of the top of the bottle in one piece. Crumbled cork is annoying enough in a bottle of wine – but at least you finish the wine in one night. I will have to remember that my bottle of gin needs sieving for the next few weeks. Not the end of the world however, so dwell not, just be warned when you come to pop the lid.
There is little to inform you about what botanicals they use in this gin – it is juniper forward, but certainly has more than a hint of lavender, rosemary or something else herby to go with the coriander seeds and dried peel. All in all, this hand-crafted, small batch London Dry gin, deserves a greater profile than it has. You can see why it costs over £30 a bottle, and while there is nothing in its make up to make you jump up and down with excitement, it is quietly wonderful and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that, all the time it stays well under £50, you give Fifty Pounds Gin a go.
Fifty Pounds Gin – £32 for 70cl (43.5%)
Gin & Tonic Rating – 3.5/5