No. 3 Gin Review
A Modern Classic
Review No. 3 Gin
Made in: Holland, by De Kuyper Royal Distillers for Berry Bros and Rudd of London
Method: Copper Pot Still.
46% alcohol/92 proof
Botanicals 6: Juniper, coriander, grapefruit zest, orange peel, cardamom, angelica root
Style: Classic London Dry
This review is for Batch 3-54.
Four times awarded a prize as the best gin in the world, No. 3 is one of the most highly regarded London Dry styles of gin in the world. It’s not a modern gin in any sense, but one which celebrates the classic style, and the most classic of flavors.
The recipe was created in 2010 by Dr. David Clutton- the only man in the world to have a PhD in gin, for Berry Bros & Rudd, London’s oldest wine merchants. He worked for more than 2 years alongside master mixologists, bartenders, and specialists to create a gin that was supposed to make the best martinis and gin and tonics in the world.
It comes in a hexagonal bottle that is supposed to represent the six botanicals that are used to make the gin, in a style that represents the parlor at No. 3 St James street (the address of Berry Brothers and Rudd) where the recipe was finally created.
So what is in the bottle? Let’s find out.
As a sipping gin No. 3 isn’t a favorite of mine. It’s a little rough in terms of heat with a touch too much ethanol on the front of the palate. That acrid nature detracts greatly from enjoying it straight. With enough ice, it mellows enough to be enjoyable. When that happens the juniper comes through like a hammer, followed by spice and just a wisp of orange essence.
Olfactorily, juniper is the strongest scent, followed by spice, orange oil, and just a trace of nice floral notes.
As far as taste goes this is a pretty straightforward gin. You get the classic flavors - juniper up front followed by the tartness of grapefruit zest, then the spice component of cardamom, coriander, and angelica, eliciting traces of pepper that the ingredient list just doesn't really hint at.. There is a certain bitterness here, but it works well, balanced by a hint of sweet orange. I can’t say this gin is overly layered, but it is well balanced, with elegantly mixed flavors, and a clarity of flavor that elevates it above most London Dry profiled gins.
On the palate there is a pleasant level of bitterness and it leaves a silky, but oily (almost creamy) coating over the whole palate which lingers long after the gin is no longer in your mouth.
With it’s classic taste profile this is sure to be a solid mixing gin.
Initially when I tried this as a martini, my first thought was that this martini was close to perfect. No. 3 with just a trace of Bordega and a pair of pimento stuffed olives, seemed like it was the perfect use of the gin. Here is where the classic taste of this gin really comes through - with wonderful notes of juniper, citrus and spice coming through cleanly and crisply. The vermouth was just enough to dull the sharp edge of the No. 3, and erase the few flaws that I found in it when I tasted it neat. However, keep reading, because the martini was actually only the second best cocktail I had with No. 3 during this review.
Compared to the martini, I didn’t find this quite as good in a gin and tonic. I tried it with two different tonics, Schweppes 1783, and Regatta. With both of those the tonic muted the No 3 to the point that it could have been a lesser gin. It was still very good, but many of the crisp notes of this gin just failed to translate. While both were still pretty good gin and tonics, the flavor profile of the gin came through much better with the Regatta, but I can’t say that either of them struck me as remarkable.
So what really wowed me with No. 3? Hands down it was the Negroni. That said, any cocktail that looks for a classic London Dry flavor profile should work well with No. 3. In the other two cocktails I tried it with, the Basil Smash and the Last Word it stood out very well. I suspect based on the flavors it would be great in an Aviation as well.
Overall this is an excellent gin, one which borders on being top shelf, and honestly I’d put it squarely there if it wasn’t a bit on the rough side as a sipper. It’s one for those who like gin which tastes like what we expect gin to taste like. Those looking for more contemporary gin flavors probably won’t love it, but for juniper lovers, this one is a star.
As a mixer this one is as good as it gets. The only slightly off note I found was in the gin and tonic category, and that likely was due to the tonics I paired it with. That doesn’t mean those were bad G & Ts, by any means, but they just failed to jump as much as I expected with this gin.
Rating (Sipping): 84 - This by far is the weakest aspect of this gin, it’s sippable, but a bit too strong, both in initial rush of juniper and in heat from ethanol without a bit of dilution.
Rating (Mixing) 97 - This gin is a rockstar when it comes to mixing. The weakest cocktails I had with this gin were gin and tonics, and even they were pretty good.
Overall rating: 91 - This gin is close to being a true top tier gin - and it makes that mark because of how good it is when it comes to mixing. As a sipper it is a lot better than well gin, but it’s not a standout gin, enjoyable, but not superlative.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.