Tanqueray has its 10. Beefeater kicks that up to 24.
Premium gins — and expansions of big-name brands — are becoming quite the rage, and “24″ from England’s Beefeater is the latest in this trend.
24 is an extension of the venerable Beefeater brand, drawing its name from the 24-hour period its botanicals steep in the base spirit (an unspecified grain spirit) before it magically turns into gin. The botanicals used in this concoction range from the traditional to the exotic, including the usual suspects — juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root, angelica seed, orris root — some eye-raising, unusual additions — licorice, grapefruit peel, almond — and two extremely odd ones — Japanese sencha tea and Chinese green tea. (Legend has it Beefeater’s founder was the grandson of a tea seller, hence the lattermost additives.)
Traiditonal Beefeater is loaded with powerful juniper character, and 24 is no exception. But here the juniper is softer, tempered by a good amount of citrus. The grapefruit actually comes through strongly, which surprised me.
Sadly I didn’t really get anything I’d describe as tea in this gin — I don’t know how you could when it’s got to stand up to that ingredient list — though I love the idea of it. Maybe, if you strain, and think about tea, you can taste it in there. But maybe that’s just my imagination.
Either way, it’s an interesting, and worthy, gin — but as with regular Beefeater it still strikes me as packing a little too much in the juniper department. But hey, that’s just me.
24 runs a hot 90 proof (needs lots of ice) and bottled in an ornate decanter with an infernal red base. Quite striking.
B+ / $30 / beefeater24.com