Beefeater Crown Jewel – Best. Martini. Ever.

Beefeater Crown Jewel – The Greatest Martini Gin Ever Created (You’ll Need to Hunt For It!)

Balance & Power for the Hedonist and Adventurer as a Martini, With Food or After a Meal

Mark’s Note: I’m grateful to London master photographer Jason Bailey for granting me permission to share with you his amazing photograph of fragrant lemon oil gracing the surface of a martini made at the Dukes Bar. The best martini deserves the best picture. Visit his website:

I’m also grateful to Pernod Ricard for allowing me access to a hi-res photo of Crown Jewel

Mark Garbin rates Beefeater Crown Jewel - The Greatest Gin

Whisky Reviewed: Beefeater Crown Jewel
Distiller: Beefeater London
Region: South Bank
Augustine Bar Rating: 5 Lions (Highest Honor)
Difford’s Guide Rating: 5 Stars (Top Rating)

Mark’s  Review

Seven hours before my plane back to the USA and I’m on a mission.

Failure? Inconceivable. The penalty? Heartbreak.

I had only one destination: Kennington.

Huh? South Bank? Near the cricket oval? Really? Yes.

The Beefeater distillery was the only spot left on the globe that stocked Crown Jewel. My trusted stores, Gerry’s and Milroy’s were no help. Even Soho Wine showed no stock.

So I trudged over with too much luggage in hand taking a tortuous half hour tube ride ending in a ten-minute walk. They told me only 150 of the £50 bottles existed in the world and I needed four. In reality, I wanted six but, with all the padding for travel protection, only a smaller number would fit in my roller bag.

You might think I lost my mind. If I could buy them at auction or online where some prices fetch >$300, I would. But that’s a pipe dream. It was Montford Place, SE11 or bust.

Introduced to this balanced flavor monster in the early 2000s at the Dukes Bar, London, I discovered wonder in a martini glass. Magazines say a person must go to there for a cocktail before they die. Once you do, like me, it will spoil you forever. First, they keep the glasses and gins/vodkas at -10ºF. Then classic butler service brings a small mobile station to you where long-serving bartenders pour the syrupy nine botanical spirit into your now frosted glass. Next, a precise peel separates a Sorrento lemon skin from its host as droplets of the most fragrant oils caress the surface of your drink. A bowl of olives and nuts grace your table as you invoke your inner hedonist to relish each glistening sip.

Duke's Hotel. Best. Martini. EverPhoto courtesy Jason Bailey Studios London

This gin is potent yet with no high ABV after burn. The smoothness allows all Crown Jewel’s spices to spread across your nasal and oral senses. The seductive and bracing evergreen grapefruit finish ends with a slight pepper tinge; perfect for a Padron 1964 cigar.

Watch your intake! It’s not for those a few years into their pro contract. Two of these, while easy to down, may impair your ability to function so don’t operate a car or heavy machines afterwards.

Start with some food. (Steak! Yummm!)

If you can find it, enjoy this rare gem any way and anytime you can. It’s the greatest.

Mark Garbin’s Evaluation

Aromas & Flavor Appeals to: Optimal Client Type Great For:
Subtlety Aficionado Apprentice Cocktails
Power Flavor Admirer Enthusiast Neat Before Dinner
Balanced Devotee Adventurer With Food
Chameleon Lover Hedonist Dessert or Afterwards review: Well, what can I say: This is neither the most juniper-heavy, nor the most complex gin. Neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive… Or maybe it is just the best-looking gin bottle ever! For an ABV of 50 % it is damn smooth. …Yet, if you throw a few splashes of tonic water on top and some you will have an excellent Gin & Tonic. It was so good in fact, that after finishing the first I was instantly craving another one. I cannot say this about a lot of other gin. So, I gave it the highest possible rating. – Why have a five lion scale if you don’t use it?

Difford’s Guide review: Tasting an old bottle of Crown Jewel against the resurrected incarnation, the aroma and flavour of the two are virtually identical. It is a brilliantly balanced gin with juniper, citrus and white pepper spice presented in harmony, but it is the floral parma violet notes from generous use of orris root that set this gin apart.