Steve and Vivienne Muir, the husband-and-wife team behind the award-winning* NB Gin, are now bringing a premium vodka to the market. But this isn’t just any vodka.
NB Distillery, located in North Berwick, says it has broken new ground by producing the world’s first London Dry citrus vodka distilled with lemon, coriander seed and cassia bark. NB London Dry Citrus Vodka is not flavoured vodka. All the taste comes from the botanicals used in the distillation method and absolutely nothing is added after this. It is simply blended down to bottling condition at 40%ABV.
Like many great things, this game-changing spirit came into existence with an element of chance. When creating NB Gin, which is also produced using the London Dry process, the master distiller ran some micro test batches using only a very small number of botanicals to explore the different flavour groupings this process could create. One of these was a citrus run and the Muirs were hugely impressed with the smooth, subtle and long citrus flavour that was created.
It took another 18 months, hundreds of samples and countless tasting committee sessions to come up with the final version of the new London Dry drink. Vivienne Muir says: “Like our gin, we’ve not compromised on quality, using only British pure grain spirit and the best botanicals we can find. What we’ve produced is totally new and we think that it will throw a curveball into the vodka market in terms of its uniqueness.
“There are no gimmicks or strange quirks involved. The innovation lies within its extremely stringent production method, which has allowed us to create something very classic, very natural, and of the highest possible quality, following the London Dry process to the letter. There are no additives or sweeteners in our London Dry vodka. And it’s very versatile, so it’s delicious on its own but is also an excellent base for cocktails.”
As part of their final tasting committee, Steve and Vivienne once again engaged the expert services of Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillers in London, who concluded: “This is an exceptionally well-balanced vodka with lovely subtle citrus notes. I’m not aware of anyone else producing citrus vodka though the London Dry process. Quite an achievement."
The inaugural batch of 300 bottles of the new London Dry Citrus Vodka has already been snapped up by Lockett Brothers in the spirit’s home town of North Berwick. It follows in the footsteps of NB Gin, which was launched at the same location in October 2013. More batches and wider distribution to follow.
As was the case with its premium gin, it’s a good time for NB Distillery to be entering the vodka market. Recent figures from Mintel show that 47% of the UK adult population were drinking vodka in the 12 months to September 2014, and it accounts for 60% of total value sales of white spirits and RTDs in the UK at an estimated £2,583 million.
The retail price per 70cl bottle of NB London Dry Citrus Vodka is £28.50.
*In March 2015, NB Gin won the Best London Dry Gin category at The World Drinks Awards 2015
1 June 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor