The NB stands for North Berwick, a town on the east coast of Scotland where this distillery is based, adding to the distinguished list of Scottish gin makers like Caorunn, Arbikie, and Crossbill. The company started off with distilling experiments in a home kitchen and now produces a range of gins, rums, and a vodka… and not a single whisky. The Scottish spirits scene has definitely changed.
Let’s try the flagship bottling and NB’s higher-proof Navy Strength edition.
NB London Dry Gin – This is the company’s core gin expression. In the UK it was chosen to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, and was served at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding. It’s clearly a gin that has friends in high places. This isn’t surprising as it’s an understated and classic London dry gin, with no quirky touches at all. The botanicals are an unremarkable list of juniper, angelica, cardamom, cassia bark, coriander seed, grains of paradise, lemon peel, and orris root. It’s made in a customized copperhead pot still in small batches of 100 litres at a time. The result on the nose is an aroma where juniper takes a slight back seat to a very lemony freshness, subtle spicy pepper, and a strange hint of coconut. The juniper roars back to grab your attention on the palate, but with lemon still very strong, some earthy, almost tequila-like notes, and a very satisfying juniper-spice finish. It adds a touch of class to even a cheap tonic water. 84 proof. B+ / $40 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
NB Navy Strength Gin – The Navy Strength Gin not surprisingly steps things up a little. On the nose the aromas are more intense, with juniper more prominent this time, and a chance for herbal coriander to let you know that it’s in there alongside the lemon. On the palate it packs a punch – juniper, a thick and spicy taste of pepper and cardamom, and a dash of woody pine. There’s no way anyone would mistake this for a regular-strength gin, either. As a result, if you don’t adjust the proportions your standard gin and tonic will have everyone going, ‘Whoa!’ 114 proof. A- / $50