Vodka is a fickle category, Marmite so-to-speak. You can speak to some and they will despise all its worth. Speak to others and they will praise to the vodka Gods. Some drink it straight, some only in cocktails and mixers. Creating a premium vodka in this day and age means you need to be eye-catching, you need to stand out, to cause a ripple in the world of prestige. LUX say they are ‘setting the standard’ with this. So lets take a look.

James Whittington is the founder of LUX, embarking on a venture with the aim to redefine Ultra Premium. Using his knowledge of distilling, the vodka category and the tone of the spirit industry, he realised that vodka was mastered centuries ago by King Harold’s canons. Using this, James has set to create Britain’s first Ultra Premium Vodka.

LUX is produced on the Copped Hall Estates in Epping, Essex, then known as the Royal Forest of Waltham, itself founded by King Harold In 1060 by the site of the shrine to the Holy Cross where he sought blessing before the battle of Hastings. The land would later be granted to King Harold’s Canons who grew the grains used by LUX today. Later, the estates were taken by King Henry VIII as his hunting ground, where the hunting lodge still stands to this day.

James found that “contrary to common belief, the distilling and trading of vodka has a long history in England, dating back to Princess Gytha, born in the Royal Forest of Waltham, today’s Waltham Abbey, who later became Queen of the Kievan Rus (modern day Russia) and traded the spirit of life throughout Russia, Europe and as far as China, originally for it’s medicinal purposes.”

LUX creation starts with the grain spirit, which is distilled 7 times and uses water from English deep water wells.Housed within a extra flintglass art deco octagonal bottle, and to emphasise the traditional look, James opted for a personal touch of a luxurious embellished paper label. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

LUX Black Label – 40%

A clean nose with a soft grain to begin, finishing with a slight sharp kick. Thicker upon the palate, with a bold hit of pepper blended with a softer viscosity than expected. A long finish of subtle earth notes, black pepper and a fresh vegetal experience.

A quintessentially British vodka, and it works. The Savoy in London must love it too, they’ve come up with a great way to enjoy it;

LUX - Autumn Ash
Autumn Ash

Autumn Ash

Glass –


Ingredients – 

60 ml LUX Black Label
30 ml Apple Brandy
7.5 ml Elderflower Liqueur
2 dash Orange Bitters
1 Lemon Twist

Method – 

Stir the ingredients over ice and serve within a chilled Coupette.

If you’re into your more premium styles of spirits, this is worth a shout for sure. One for the drinks cabinet at home so you can tell your friends and family that you have Britain’s first Ultra Premium vodka, and it works.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gordon’s Tasting Notes


Most of you at home will have some kind of bottle of spirit in your house. Could be a bottle of port for cooking, brandy for puddings or maybe vermouth which you just don’t know what to do with. You’ll also probably have a bottle of gin stored somewhere, and it will more than likely be Gordon’s I say this because Gordon’s is one of the most widely available gin brands, and not overly expensive. It goes well in a Gin and Tonic or lemonade and has been a staple in bars and restaurants since 1769. 243 years of being ‘the number one selling London Dry gin’. But what makes it so?

Alexander Gordon (a Londoner of Scottish descent) took full advantage of the Gin Act in 1751 and sourced himself the finest possible ingredients. His aim was to produce an unsweetened gin instead of the usual impure and sweet gins that many were use to. In 1769, Alexander Gordon founded his distillery in the Southwark area of London and went on to lay the foundations for the creation of the style of gin for which the English became renowned. Tradition still goes strong today, with Gordon’s still triple distilled and the exact blend of the seven botanicals remaining a closely guarded secret.

To be classed as a gin, Gordon’s contains juniper berries. These are carefully selected from the pick of each year’s crop and gently shaken from the tree and stored for two years. This intensifies the oils and mellow the flavours, with the strength of the juniper giving Gordon’s the classic gin taste that Alexander Gordon was after. As well as juniper berries, the recipe includes coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel.

In 1800, Gordon’s fame spread as sailors of the British Navy and Merchant Navy carry it in their ships to all corners of the world. In fact, in 1853, entries in ledgers record payments by Joseph Franks of Melbourne for consignments of gin brought by the ships ‘Nancy’ and ‘Rostock’ – payment being made in gold dust. 1898 saw the merger of Charles Tanqueray & Co. with Gordon & Co. to form the Tanqueray Gordon & Co. with all production moving to Gordon’s Goswell Road site. Six years later, the iconic square-faced green bottle for the home market is introduced, with the Gordon’s Sloe Gin just two years after. Before World War Two, Gordon’s opened its first distillery in the USA, at Linden, New Jersey, and became its only distillery after The Luftwaffe bombed Goswell Road on the night of 11 May 1941. The Gordon’s offices, warehouses and distillery were all destroyed. It took 16 years until Goswell Road was rebuilt, and one of the original stills, ‘Old Tom’, survived. To help with the demand, Plainfield Distillery in Illinois, USA became the thirteenth plant throughout the world producing Gordon’s gin in 1966. 1984 saw an even bigger expansion as Gordon’s gin production is moved to the Laindon site, Basildon, Essex. The first gin distillation using the traditional copper stills, including ‘Old Tom’, which is now over 200 years old, is successfully achieved in 1989.

So a rather storied history with rapid expansion, so lets see how it actually is. Below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gordon’s – 37.5%

Instant citrus aromas on the nose creating a very fresh experience. Quite dry on the palate however, with lots of citrus lemon flavours hitting first. The freshness carries on but comes up rather a short offering.

As you would imagine, Gordon’s is rather versatile with its mixing, and it’s not just a Gin and Tonic it can do –


Gordon’s Bramble

Glass –


Ingredients – 

25ml Gordon’s Sloe gin
25ml Gordon’s gin
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
Crushed ice
Berries to garnish

Method –

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add ingredients then give it a good shake. Strain into a cool rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with fresh blackberries and raspberries (frozen berries work well too).


Gordon’s Pink Lady

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

40ml Gordon’s gin
25ml triple sec
20ml lemon juice
A raspberry to garnish

Method – 

Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well then strain into a Martini glass. Garnish your Pink Lady with a raspberry.

This is a great mixing gin, perfect to pick up if you have friends coming round, as part of a gin punch or a round of cocktails.

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© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.