Brecon Special Reserve Gin

I bought a bottle of Brecon Special Reserve Gin at the same time I bought the Old Raj; I have taken a long time to write both of these up and the Bottle of Brecon is nearly empty.

I bought the Brecon gin because I tried their single malt whisky in a hotel a few years ago (intrigued as I was by the idea of a Welsh whisky) and was stunned by its smooth, sweet character. I was delighted to find out that Penderyn Distillery make gin as well and was hoping for something rather special.

Brecon Special Reserve Gin

Brecon Special Reserve Gin

Presented in a tall, elegant, heavy-bottomed bottle (like all Brecon spirits) the monochrome labelling and cork stopper really make for a delightful package. Brecon kindly lists all of the botanicals in a neat column down the front of the bottle; they are…

  • Juniper berries (from Macedonia)
  • Orange peel (from Spain)
  • Cassia bark (from China)
  • Liquorice root (from Sri Lanka)
  • Cinnamon bark (from Madagascar)
  • Angelica root (from France)
  • Ground nutmeg (from India)
  • Coriander seed (from Russia)
  • Lemon peel (from Spain)
  • Orris root (from Italy)

By the botanicals, this is a very classic gin with little in the way of USP ingredients. The recipe is, apparently, 100 years old and the water used is drawn from under the distillery. A small-batch gin, Brecon lays no claim to the type of gin it is; the website declares that no flavourings are added, but the lack of the London Dry labelling leads me to thinking it falls into the Distilled Gin category – possibly due to its sweetness, but this is mere conjecture on my part.

Uncorking, sniffing, pouring and sniffing some more, reveals a very sweet, smooth juniper-laced aroma. I wondered if it held and edge over Sipsmith Gin and a quick sniff test certainly saw the Brecon coming top in a cursory test; certainly worth exploring further.

A nip of the neat gin rewarded me with a very smooth experience. There was a medium-to-heavy juniper loading and so little harshness, I went back for more.

The addition of tonic water (Fever-Tree premium) drove off a very clean, crisp scent of juniper and a hint of spice and something not too far from coconut (odd but not unpleasant).

Adding the lime and tasting the finished G&T was a tremendously rewarding experience. Brecon gin and tonic is a remarkable G&T, on a par with Sipsmith; in fact so good was it, that I might have to hold a gin-off between the two. It is fresh, clean, slightly sweet and a little warming – cracking good stuff and firmly putting Wales on the map of the gin-producing world.

Brecon gin’s price-point is a fair bit lower than that of Sipsmith gin and, for the money, is well worth investing in; I will certainly be buying more of it.

Why are you still reading this? Go buy some.

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14 thoughts on “Brecon Special Reserve Gin

  • May 12, 2011 at 4:39 am
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    Great review. I haven’t heard/seen of Brecon. You’ve convinced me it needs to be added to the portfolio. thx

    Reply
  • May 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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    I got hold of a bottle of this a few years back although it is now long gone. I took a detour on the way home from a camping trip and swung by the distillery last summer, a rather commercial set up but then again it is a nice Welsh tourist attraction. The botanical listing also puts Welsh Spirit on there, this isn’t actually the base spirit as their still is unable to get up to the required 96% abv, instead they use a bought in base spirit as the canvas for the gin and then blend some of their Welsh Spirit distilled from the beer of a local brewery.

    Damn good stuff, I may have to grab another bottle…

    Reply
    • May 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm
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      Ah, that makes sense of what they say on their website about the gin: “Hand-crafted from the finest column still spirit and our own copper pot spirit…”.

      Thanks for the info.

      Reply
  • November 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm
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    Having read good things about Brecon I ssked The Whiskey Exchange to get me in a bottle of this. I picked it up today and i’m looking forward to giving it a go. Not expensive at around £17.

    Reply
  • November 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm
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    That’s The Whisky Exchange without the ‘E’. Doh.

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    • November 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm
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      Ha! I prefer my whiskey with the ‘e’, but the site does indeed not have one.

      Reply
  • January 6, 2012 at 8:48 am
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    I got through most of my bottle of this over the Festive Season and I have to say that this is very good gin.
    My brother-in-law and I both enjoy a G&T or 3, and over Christmas we sampled 6 different gins together – Brecon, Tanqueray, Tanqueray 10, Martin Millers, Old Raj and Hendricks. Though Millers is probably my absolute favourite based solely on taste, we both agreed that if you factor in the price, Brecon at around £17 was the best value of the 6. Tanqueray has generally been my “under £20″ choice of gin but Brecon will definitely be regular alternative from now on.

    Reply
    • January 6, 2012 at 9:54 am
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      I am glad you enjoyed it – it’s a cracking gin.

      That’s also a nice selection of gins you tried there; sounds like a good Christmas.

      Reply
  • January 11, 2012 at 8:56 am
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    It was indeed a very pleasant Christmas!

    Reply
  • December 15, 2012 at 10:46 am
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    Spot on review, yes very classy, smooth and warming. Gordons is turpentine in comparison. Currently it is on offer in Tesco at £12, bargain of the year! (Neath, Merthyr Tydfil, etc)

    Reply
    • December 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm
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      Unfortunately, it is only sold in Tesco Stores in Wales, which is a massive shame. At £12 a bottle, it might be worth driving to Wales.

      Reply
  • July 6, 2013 at 10:05 pm
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    All Morrisons stores in Wales sell it. Not sure about the English stores.

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    • August 11, 2013 at 8:55 pm
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      I have heard its available in Tesco in Wales too. It was trialed in Cornwall Tesco stores but it wasn’t kept in-store past the trial.

      Reply
  • March 11, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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    Brecon Gin is now available nationally across the UK in Tescos and online from all the usual stores, as well as direct from the distillery. Search for Penderyn Store. Cheers!

    Reply

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