Langley’s is a brand of gin newly available in the U.S., thanks to Terlato, which is importing it. No “New Western” business here. This is a classic London Dry style of gin that will strip the enamel off your teeth with the pungency of juniper.
But first, some background.
Made in small batches from 100% English grain, Langley’s No. 8 takes its name from the century-old Langley’s Distillery, a contract distiller that never before had allowed its name to appear on a spirit brand. Distilled in “Connie,” a small copper pot still nicknamed after the master distiller’s mother, the classic flavor of Langley’s No. 8 comes from a mixture of eight botanicals, including juniper berries from Macedonia, coriander seeds from Bulgaria, sweet orange peel and sweet lemon peel from Spain, cassia bark from Indonesia, and ground nutmeg from Sri Lanka. The last two ingredients are a secret! The result is aromatic notes of spicy juniper, zesty citrus and a smooth, rounded finish.
And the number 8? The makers tested every alcohol percentage between 40% and 45% to determine which would give the right balance of alcohol without being overpowering, ensuring that the true flavors came through. After testing 12 different samples with a team of experts and a consumer panel prepared in 10 different cocktails, they decided the 8th batch was the finest, and so, Langley’s No. 8.
It’s no joke on the juniper, which kicks off with a huge slug of the evergreen character. The nose takes things head-on into that deeply herbal, juniper-driven territory but it does manage to find room for hints of grapefruit and lemon, plus a touch of black pepper. The palate surprises with a hint of sweetness up front before quickly returning to that bold and racy juniper blast, which dominates things until a smattering of secondary characteristics finally bubble up. Think cinnamon, some earthy notes driven by the coriander, and again a hint of pepper.
Fans of traditional and juniper-heavy gins will get a kick out of this; for my tastes, though, it is a bit monochromatic with the juniper just about destroying everything in its path.