Langley’s No. 8 is a very English gin, coming from probably the most well known distillery in the country.
Price: ~ £30
Langley’s No. 8 is the gin from the distillery.
If you’ve ever tried a gin that you weren’t certain where it’s distilled, there’s a good chance at least one of them was made at Langley’s. Even if it wasn’t, there’s still a good chance the spirit used to make it came from there! They are the big boys of distilling, and many a contract gin is made there.
No. 8 is made from ‘eight secret botanicals’ (though their own website gives a few of them), but the name actually comes from the incarnation selected when the team were deciding which version to go with. Testing each decimal ABV from 40 to 45 eventually whittled the selection down to twelve options, and number 8 was crowned (hence the rather random 41.7%).
The bottle is simple, functional, and with minimal labelling. A standard cylindrical shape, the words ‘Langley’s England’ are embossed around the shoulder. The front label is black with white writing, showing the name of the gin etc. as well as the vol. & ABV. On the back, another black label with a blurb on the gin and the usual legal info. One nice touch is the embossed ‘8’ below the back label, which you can see through from the front. It’s pretty uninspiring, and doesn’t stand out in the slightest. Also the use of the phrase ‘hand crafted in small batches’ feels like a stretch, given I understand it to be made using the multi-shot method in giant stills.
Juniper leaps from the glass, bright and strong. It’s quintessentially gin in its aroma, very clean and full of waxy pine, along with a pale soap powder that makes me think orris is there too. For me, it has a mauve note, suggesting lavender, as well as a bit of waxy lemon. It’s a really lovely smelling gin, and though it occasionally edges towards an element of alcoholic burn on the nose, it’s actually the juniper than shines through.
Neat, it’s not at all as expected from the nose. The flavour is wonderfully rich and full-bodied, bursting with warm citrus and spice. I’m actually a little taken aback, such is the difference, almost like I have to reset my frame of reference. There’s a beautiful sweet woody note, surrounded by a fleshy lemon and tingly kick from the aromatic spices. The juniper still hits hard, pungent and a little sour, but delicious. This is quite something!
With water, the flavours are not diluted in the least, instead broadening into a less intense but still full-bodied profile. I get big hits of cassia now, very distinct, and the clove flows through towards the end, warming the throat alongside a hint of bitter citrus peel. It’s still juniper dominant, but the spices really sing here.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic, with a slice of orange to garnish). The result is absolutely wonderful, with the orange and aromatic spices combining perfectly. It’s a beautifully sweet, warm flavoured G&T, and though I think the juniper has become a little lost, it’s absolutely delicious.
Langley’s No. 8 really surprised me. I was expecting it to be a solid, no nonsense gin: classic, well made, but perhaps a little too ‘by the book’. It is certainly the first two, but it’s also got way more flavour than I thought it would, and that flavour is, to my taste buds, pretty great. Reviewing it has been a pleasure, with the flavour evolving at each stage, culminating in a really fantastic G&T. I would definitely recommend this gin.
Langley’s No. 8 is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.