The Whisky Exchange
Product of: United Kingdom
King's Ginger is made from a distillate of macerated ginger root and lemon peel and was first launched in 1930s but benefitted from a packaging facelift and was re-launched in 2010 and then again in 2020.
The brand story behind this liqueur revolves around King Edward VII who reigned from 1901 to 1910 and is said to have been a thoroughly sociable chap who amongst other activities enjoyed driving his horseless carriage, a Daimler. The brand legend has it that his physician was concerned about Edward's health, exposed as he was to the elements in his new automobile. Thus he commissioned Berry Bros. & Rudd, the King's wine and spirits merchants to formulate a liqueur to warm His Majesty. In 1903 King Edward VII granted Berry Bros. their first Royal Warrant.
Berry Bros. & Rudd can trace its origins back to 1698 when the Widow Bourne founded her shop opposite St James's Palace. Berry Bros. & Rudd has traded from the same premises at 3 St James's Street for over 300 years and is the oldest wine and spirit merchant in Britain and possibly the world. The company remains family-owned and run.
Between 2010 and 2019, King's Ginger liqueur had a 41% alc./vol. and was made by De Kuyper in The Netherlands. This changed with the 2020 relaunch when the alcohol strength reduced to 29.9% and production bought back to the UK.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 25/06/2021
New bottling: Clear very pale straw yellow. [Old: Clear, golden amber.]
New bottling: Pungent crystalised ginger and fresh root ginger with zesty lemon. [Old: Crystallised ginger, gingerbread, zesty lime and bitter orange marmalade - perhaps a tad more citrusy than ginger.]
New bottling: Assertive ginger heat attack - more spice than flavour with lemon notes overwhelmed. [Old: Syrupy, fiery hot ginger, clove and spirituous black pepper spice only partially tamed by smoothing acacia honey with a garnish of zesty lime and orange.]
New bottling: Very long, powerful ginger heat - enough to warm the cockles of a king! [Old: Very long-lasting heat and lingering candied ginger.]
Syrupy sweetness was countered by 41% alcohol, fiery ginger and zesty citrus in the old King's Ginger liqueur. It packed powerful ginger heat but with flavour and balance. It was a tad overly alcoholic and a drop to 30% seems sensible, but spirituous alcohol has been replaced by fiery ginger with the rounding honeyed notes of the former bottling sadly lost. However, the new bottle is very attractive, like a vintage gem unearthed whilst digging the alotment. Beware, the glass is yellow but the liqueur inside is almost crystal clear. The former bottling carried a 5+ out-of-five Difford's Guide Quality Stamp.
The Whisky Exchange
Difford's Guide Certification
Bottle Size: 500 ml
Closure: Natural cork stopper
Allergens and Additives
Contains Caramel colour E150