Plymouth repackages its iconic lineup of gins

The redesigned Plymouth lineup.

Plymouth, a perennial gold medal gin, takes extreme pride in its secret two-centuries-old recipe and its iconic Black Friars Distillery it has been using since the 1700s. But, now and then some things do change.

Pernod Ricard, the French owner of Plymouth, has just introduced new packaging for the Plymouth gin brand and is repositioning it above Beefeater 24 in the super premium-plus niche.

What generally is known about Plymouth's recipe is that it uses seven botanicals, with juniper berries and sweet orange peel as its two dominant items. It is bottled at 41.2% ABV (82.4 proof). However, in a private luncheon gin tasting several years ago, Plymouth master distiller Sean Harrison told me the other botanicals are angelica root, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, lemon peel and orris root. No revelations about proportions, though.

Closeup of the label.
Design Bridge, a brand design agency, told Design Week magazine it developed the new designs after exploring the Black Friar's Distillery, in Plymouth, and the bottle's squatter shape and tinted glass have been influenced by historic designs for Plymouth Gin. The oval label harkens to an earlier version, and it is brightened up by a touch of copper.

The new look is definitely new to the U.S., Japanese and other markets after a quiet rollout over the past few months in Spain and Australia.

When his feet are dry, time to buy.
Plymouth gin is protected by a European Union "protected geographical indication" that means it can be made only in Devon, England. No one else can claim the name.

Plymouth's heritage has given it a special place in British hearts and lore. When German bombs destroyed part of its Black Friars distillery during World War II, the Admiralty sent out a message to the British fleet which used Plymouth as its official gin. British officers on the Mediterranean island of Malta reacted, so the story goes, by offering any gunners who destroyed an enemy ship or plane a bottle of Plymouth Gin.

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