Matthew Steeples samples the Goodwood estate’s latest creation and finds Levin Down Goodwood Gin utterly glorious.
Highclere Castle – better known as the location for Downton Abbey – has a gin named after it and even Windsor Great Park has one too. Getting in on the act for ‘estate’ gins, Goodwood didn’t want to miss out and recently this especially idyllic landed property recently launched its own rather punchy 43.6% ABV take on the spirit of choice of juniper loving sorts.
The Sussex estate of His Grace The Duke of Richmond DL – which is renowned for hosting duels on the Downs on its horse racing and motor racing tracks – extends to some 12,000 acres. There, aside from farming, its current custodian has been able to create a rural business that is diverse and clearly thriving.
With 75 million bottles of gin sold in the UK in 2020 – up 10 million bottles from 2019 according to the Wine and Spirt Trade Association (WSTA) – and the spirit being the most searched alcoholic beverage category on Google in 2020 also, the 11th Duke of Richmond’s latest venture into alcoholic beverages is most definitely timely.
Featuring “locally sourced” botanicals including not only juniper, but also wild gorse, coriander and mint, here is a wheat based spirit that is smooth and sophisticated. Unlike some other gins – which in the case of say Citadelle is created by the infusion of a staggering 19 botanicals into something that is nothing other than overwhelming – though, the palette is clearly defined, understandable and dominated by citrus and spice.
Of their new “agricultural heritage” creation – which takes its name from Levin Down Hill (also known as ‘Leave-Alone-Hill’ and the location where fence jumping was first introduced into the world of fox hunting) – speaking to Drinks Retailing News in August, Goodwood’s entertaining and hospitality managing director Andrew Coggings remarked:
“This launch batch is, as much as possible, a natural product of the Goodwood Estate. Our foraged juniper and gorse flower are at the heart of our gin and bring a dimension of characterful flavour.”
Levin Down Goodwood Gin – which is presented in a snazzy decorative bottle complete with glass stopper and which is recommended best served in a “classical G&T” – can be bought online for £40 per 70cl bottle ($45.61, €45.66 or درهم167.49 per bottle) plus shipping or purchased at the estate’s home farm shop in Chichester, West Sussex.
Pictured top – Twice married, father of five Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond, 11th Duke of Lennox, 11th Duke of Aubigny, 6th Duke of Gordon DL (born 1955) pictured outside his family seat (left) with his new gin (right). Aside from having a passion for all things automotive, here is a gentleman clearly business minded given his estate also includes an airfield, a hotel, restaurants, a private members’ club, golf club and spa.