Sometimes it is when something is gone that we miss it most. Such was the case with Tanqueray Malacca, which was met with a mixed response when it was first released, but achieved legendary status once it was discontinued, leading to its resurrection a few years back.
There is perhaps one other discontinued gin that has such cult status, especially amongst bartenders: Beefeater Crown Jewel. This gin was launched in 1993 for duty free/travel retail. It was made using the classic nine Beefeater botanicals, plus grapefruit, and was bottled at 50% ABV.
The original gin was discontinued in 2009, shortly before the release of Beefeater 24, which. in a nod to Crown Jewel, also has grapefruit in its botanical mix.
Fast forward to 2015, and Beefeater Crown Jewel was re-released, available to the on-trade and at the Beefeater Visitor Centre. It is described as being an exact recreation of the original.
On its own
Nose: Upfront, there is bright and zesty citrus: grapefruit and soft, tangy orange.
Taste: Surprisingly soft for a 50% ABV spirit, this is creamy with soft citrus notes. The gin starts out refreshing before growing more balanced with notes of liquorice, coriander, and juniper. There’s a long, lingering finish with a light stalkiness and citrus zest.
Gin & Tonic
Intense, with a bold botanical flavour that easily stands up against the tonic. The bright citrus note of the grapefruit is a great addition.
Sublime – soft and delicate, but with a confident, powerful flavour. Very smooth, silky, and sophisticated. The gin notes are more balanced and the citrus less prominent.
Strong in terms of power and flavour intensity. This has a super-charged version of the normal citrus flair of Beefeater combined with the extra dose of grapefruit, which sings through and stands up extremely well to the Campari, making a punchy Negroni.
It’s great to see this old favourite back. Smooth, but strong, the high ABV and bold, but balanced citrus notes make it a good choice for mixed drinks. I enjoyed it most in a Martini.