The Buyer
Put to the taste: Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Edition 2

Put to the taste: Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Edition 2

Beefeater’s Master Distiller, Desmond Payne carries on the spirit of innovation with the latest addition to their ultra-premium range. This time Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Edition 2 has been matured in Bordeaux wine casks to give it a unique flavour profile.

Peter Dean
11th May 2016by Peter Dean
posted in Tasting: Spirits,

Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Edition 2 is rolled out after Madrid launch

Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Edition 2 is the latest Beefeater ultra-premium gin, the second edition of its ‘sipping gin’ concept that is named after the founder of the distillery and has been oak-rested. Where the first edition three years ago was matured in Jean de Lillet casks, this has been rested in a combination of red and white Bordeaux wine casks (provenance undisclosed).

Launched in February in Club Del Matador, an exclusive private members club in Madrid, alongside a selection of cheese made by Blur bassist now cheese-maker, Alex James, the gin is now being rolled out this month globally, which meant that we could get our hands on some and put it to the taste.

Desmond Payne (second left) and Alex James toasting to Beefeater founder James Burroughs

Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Edition 2 is a cross between the Genever style of gin, that has always been aimed at sipping and the more International Style like DH Krahn, Hendrick’s and Whitley Neill where botanicals are ‘turned up to Eleven’.

Beefeater Master Distiller Desmond Payne is of course a genius, a warm generous man who loves nothing more than to experiment and this new manifestation of Burrough’s Reserve is clearly in line with that sense of invention. Mixologists hold Desmond in such high esteem on account of his consistency in delivering the original London dry gin, but also the ways that he has extended the category. Since he took the helm at Beefeater he has launched Beefeater Dry, the world’s number 2 premium dry gin brand and Beefeater 24, that had all its feet planted in the East.

I remember an evening just after 24, his masterful blend using Asian teas, was released with Desmond and his opposite number at Plymouth and mixologists Tony Conigliaro and Nick Strangeway. Or at least I don’t remember it. The reverence the mixologists had for Payne in particular was endearing, they had been growing herbs for a couple of weeks just to mix with the gin-based cocktails they served that night.

So what is Edition 2 like?

As for the new liquid, it has clearly been matured in oak, so it’s very true of its conception which gives it a unique, perhaps limiting flavour profile. I would recommend experimenting with food pairing and cocktails rather than rely on someone asking for a ‘sipping Gin’, even though that’s clearly what it’s made for.

Although the premium gin phenomenon has seen many new players enter the market, we have not had such a proliferation of flavourings as we have, say with premium vodka so this is a welcome addition to the sommelier’s and mixologist’s armoury.

For the sommelier it could be used in the context of an interesting drinks pairing. It certainly would have standout next to the cheese, particularly British, which is why after all the company got Alex James involved.

For the mixologist I can see some wonderful takes on the Martini or as a cocktail ingredient where the tannins of the wood can be used to best effect – served in a smoked glass perhaps.

In my amateur hands the ice killed off a lot of the warmth of the flavour and, although Beefeater says that it is best served chilled, I preferred it at room temperature. It would be delicious next to a fresh truckle of cheddar at the end of a British-themed tasting menu, for example.

Tasting note

Eye: a cross between light pink and copper

Nose: Juniper, oak, spice… slightly medicinal

Palate: Soft texture with notes of juniper, oaky tannin, dried fruit and spice

Finish: Its 43% alcohol makes it powerful on the back palette but with a lovely liquorice finish.