Broker’s is a London Dry gin best known for its little bowler hat, and boldly claims to be the world’s best gin.
Price: ~ £20
Brothers Martin and Andy Dawson founded Broker’s in around 1998 and spent 17 years developing their brand. Sadly I’ve not been able to learn much more about them, or the story of the gin itself, and in 2015 they sold Broker’s to McCormick Distilling. It is made at Langley Distillery, joining a long list of the Langley’s products, made on some of the oldest working gin stills in the UK.
According to the blurb, the recipe is as old as the distillery itself, around 200-years, and the botanicals are steeped for 24 hours quadruple-distilled grain spirit, before being distilled a last time to produce the gin. Again, sadly there is no story behind the recipe that I can find, but what they are not shy about sharing is that Broker’s was the first gin ever awarded a score of 97 at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, and is the winner of more top awards in international competitions over the last ten years than any other gin. I assume they’re constantly checking that fact, as I imagine it is a claim any producer would want to add to their branding if they could! For now, this seems to allow then to lay claim to Broker’s being ‘The World’s Best Gin’.
The bottle is a tall, clear, rounded-square shape with the instantly recognisable bowler hat sat on its screw top cap. This, along with the dapper gent on the label represents the archetypal London stockbroker, after which the gin gets its name. The label itself is large, and is much more ‘old-school’ in its design with the name in bold above various typical phrases such as ‘pure grain spirit’ and ‘distilled and bottled by’ etc. It’s all very English and in fact the world ‘England’ appears no less than three times on the front. Add to that the Fleet Street gent with bowler hat, newspaper, umbrella and pin-stripe suit, and the illustration of St Paul’s behind, it definitely pulls the ‘old fashioned’ strings. For me though it’s a bit dull, yet messy too as I count around six different fonts. If you’re looking for a label that would not look out of place in a 70’s British TV show, look no further. The top hat is cool, there’s no denying it, but in a world of brands setting themselves apart with a drive for sustainable production, that little plastic hat might start to look wasteful.
A classic London Dry aroma punches up, clean and crisp with plenty of juniper, some citrus, and a hint of spice. There’s a lovely purity to it, and a freshness that definitely stands out for me. The citrus is bright but warming, and the nutmeg comes through nicely, giving it a dry, aromatic kick. I get hints of wood, and an elusive sweet almost toffee note that I would attribute to the liquorice perhaps. Underneath that is a pleasant hint of green stems and floral notes. This is a great smelling gin and I can’t wait to take a sip.
Neat, Broker’s is incredibly smooth and soft. The flavour is warm, but full of deep juniper notes accompanied by a bitter citrus that is really quite dry, but for me the nutmeg comes through strongly as well with that aromatic, warming but almost peppery hit. The aromatic spices are easily as prominent as the citrus for me, giving the whole flavour quite a dry, powdered, but rich tone, while the citrus brings some more familiar bitter fruit favours. It’s very good.
Water brings out more cinnamon and cassia for me, but the bitterness is also a little stronger. The juniper expands a little, along with the more earthy tones, and the flavour remains very dry without losing any flavour. It’s a different beast and I’m not convinced this shows it in its best light, but there’s plenty of flavour there and despite the bitterness there’s still plenty of warmth from the spices.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Mulberry Creek Tonic with dried lemon wheels and cassia to garnish). The result (after adding an extra glug of gin) is very pleasant indeed. As expected, this is a very dry G&T, and for me the aromatics give way to the juniper and citrus notes, or at least the warmth from those flavours does. The taste of nutmeg and cinnamon/cassia is there, but it’s beaten back a bit by the tonic, resulting in them being a fairly distinct but separate element of the overall flavour. Overall it’s a very straight G&T for me, dry, slightly bitter, juniper and citrus forward. It’s good but personally I prefer sweeter.
Brokers is a very well made gin for a great price. It’s smooth, full of flavour, and strikes me as very versatile. There’s much more aromatic spice than I had imagined based on the branding, and is a good showcase for nutmeg as a botanical, though that definitely comes through less with tonic, but this is a very classic, dry gin, so is probably aimed more at very classic gin fans than contemporary ones. That said it’s incredibly smooth and for the price I would definitely recommend it.
Add/Remove half a feather depending on how you like dry/bitter gin
Broker’s is available online and in most supermarkets
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.