Introducing our Spirits Shop team


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We’re delighted to open the doors to our new dedicated Spirits Shop this spring. Our store is staffed by passionate experts who live and breathe fine spirits, always on the hunt for the rare, the exceptional or the funky. Let us introduce you to our team.  

Eddie Garner

Spirits Advisor

“What comes to mind when I think spirits? It would be easy to romanticise about a warming smoky dram from Islay, the creamy roundness of Tequila, the rich diversity of rum, or the refreshing fervour of gin. But rather than any one style, I find myself instead pondering the idea of growth. 

Spirits in general are booming; never before has their reach been so grand. From Scotland to Japan, Scandinavia to New Zealand, spirits are everywhere. You can barely toss a stone without hitting the newest brand of gin. 

For me, whisky is at the heart of the spirits world (once the “heads” and “tails” of the distillate have been separated, the “heart” is what remains, after all). There are plenty of distilleries with a tumultuous tale of closures behind them, but today the narratives are all about resurrection. 

On Islay alone, Port Ellen and Port Charlotte distilleries plan to re-open this year, planting their flags on hallowed whisky ground. Whether it’s a new success story or the return of an old favourite, these industry titans are indicative of today’s spirits climate. 

I believe that we are in a rare place in history, in which tradition and innovation collide. We’re seeing the rise of modern, future-focused spirits, emerging alongside a resurgence in historic distilleries. To have both these worlds asserting themselves in the spirits industry means the door is wide open. There is so much to explore.  

Given my way, you’ll find me enjoying a wintry dram from the Isle of Raasay or indulging in the rituals of Bruichladdich’s “Black Arts”. In summer, nothing hits the spot quite like Pensador Tequila or Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Own Selection Réunion Rum.”

Josh Meyer 

Spirits Advisor 

“A brief stint practicing as a solicitor in the City of London, and some WSET wine exams later, I joined Berry Bros. & Rudd as a Wine & Spirits Advisor, charged with looking after the London Shop’s Spirits section, along with the wines of Spain, Portugal, Southern France and Jura. 

What I love about spirits – and why I’m delighted to be guiding customers in our brand-new dedicated shop – is that this remains a category where, if you know where to look, it is possible to discover fantastic value. 

In specialist spirits circles, people wax lyrical about the distillates of yesteryear, but the truth is that there are true gems out there at all price points today. Some of the newer faces on the block – Ardnamurchan Distillery in the Highlands, Isle of Raasay off the coast of Skye, English rum-makers Scratch, to name only a few – are displaying exceptional talent.  

It is particularly inspiring to work for an institution with its own illustrious history of independent bottlings. The noses that pick out these single casks, as well as those for our exclusive barrel selections, are some of the best in the business. Taking customers through our quarterly releases is one of the real joys of the job.  

I’m engaged professionally and privately in the assessment (and consumption) of all spirits categories. But if I were forced to name some styles I seek out the most, they’d be peated whiskies (not just Islay), high ester rums (Jamaica and Trinidad) and earthy Mezcals (such as Tepextate and Tobalá). 

I am currently a student on the WSET Diploma in Wines. Sensory analysis is sensory analysis; the more complex, high-quality juice you taste, the better your judgment of all things liquid. 

I really look forward to helping you discover delicious new spirits at No.1 St. James’s Street.”

Iain Glover 

Spirits Advisor 

“Becoming a Spirits Advisor at Berry Bros. & Rudd was a small step on a very long road. 

My great-grandfather ran an illicit still in the Highlands; my grandfather was the landlord of the Prince Alfred pub in Maida Vale (and appreciated a good dram); and my father introduced me to Berry Bros. & Rudd itself, when he invited me to join him at a whisky tasting event in the cellars at No.3 St James’s Street.  

I was working as a brewer when I first stepped foot in the Napoleon Cellar, but I left with a suspicion that the time had come to leave beer behind and start moving up the ABVs. Luckily, this was at the time that Berry Bros. & Rudd was plotting to open a new, dedicated spirits shop.  

It is an extremely exciting time to be working in the spirits industry. There are a whole range of wonderful spirits being produced – whiskies, Tequilas, Cognacs and more. Two of a distillery’s finest tools are patience and time and, as we see an increase in each distillery’s stock of aged liquids and in different types of wood, we should see an even greater variety of high-quality bottlings appearing.  

I have a particular soft spot for rum and Bourbon, and have been fortunate enough to sample some incredible bottles during my time at Berry Bros. & Rudd. With so many new distilleries and releases available, sampling and learning about spirits has never been more necessary. Indeed, we have an excellent selection of bottles open in-store which are available for anyone to sample.”

Visit our new store at No.1 St James’s Street

Category: Miscellaneous

A collector’s guide to the Rhône


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Vineyards in the Northern Rhône.

Despite climatic challenges, the Rhône’s talented winemakers continue to produce excellent fine wines here. But where should one start? Here, Alexandra Gray de Walden finds out.    

In terms of collecting wine, the Rhône has previously languished in the shadows of regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy. As the Rhône’s wines are (honestly) able to give “the two Bs” a run for their money, it’s high time we all made some room for Rhône in our cellars.

I put this to our Wine Director, Mark Pardoe MW, ahead of our Rhône 2022 En Primeur offer. Why should enthusiasts start collecting Rhône?  

Because it is a region for every collector, regardless of palate or budget, says Mark. “The Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône are distinctively different propositions. They should really be seen as two different regions, due to their fascinating diversity.”

The Rhône has diverse flavours and styles from its many permitted grape varieties. The diversity of its terroir – from granite and schist in the north to clay, sand and galets (pebbles) in the south – gives the wines a true taste of time and place.

King in the north

The Northern Rhône appellations of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie are perhaps the most well known. Hermitage reds are dominated by Syrah and are rich, deep and immensely age-worthy. The white wines are made with Marsanne, often blended with Roussanne, producing aromatic, nutty wines which age wonderfully.

Emmanuel Darnaud has vineyard parcels across Hermitage. Each one is picked and vinified separately, allowing their individual characteristics to shine. The 2022 is the first vintage of his red Hermitage with its delightful pomegranate and elderberry flavours.

Wines from Côte-Rôtie are lighter in style with more florality to the nose and palate. Again, the red wines are made from Syrah but up to 20% of the white Viognier grape can be added for freshness and floral characters.

Stéphane Ogier is considered a master of the Syrah grape, having honed his viticultural skills in Burgundy. His Côte-Rôtie Mon Village is his ode to this hallowed slope with blackcurrant, plum and vanilla notes.

“The volumes for Côte-Rôtie and, especially, Hermitage are tiny” Mark tells me. “The wines are distinctive and strongly allied to their terroir – the definition of collectible.”

Southern charm

The Southern Rhône – perhaps even the entire Rhône Valley – is best known for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This historic appellation takes its name (“The Pope’s new castle”) from Pope Clement V, who relocated the papacy to nearby Avignon in 1309. This one part of the Southern Rhône produces more wine than the entire Northern Rhône.

Fourteen grape varieties are permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, offering winemakers innumerable blending options. The GSM (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre) blend is very popular with its mix of pepper, red fruit and black olive flavours.  

Domaine des Saumades is a lesser-known gem in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, owned and run by Franck and Murielle Mousset. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc here is a refreshingly unctuous bundle of flavour complexity.  

The other big hitting region of the Southern Rhône is Gigondas, which tells a similar tale according to Mark. “The best wines here are age-worthy, complex and definitely affordable”. They are fleshy and robust with that twist of Rhône pepper. They can be a maximum of 80 percent Grenache with at least 15 percent Syrah and/or Mourvèdre. The balance can then be comprised of any variety authorised for Côtes du Rhône (except Carignan).

La Bastide St Vincent dates from the 17th century and has 26 hectares of vines – all the famous Rhône trio of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Its Gigondas brims with dark cherry and spiced currant flavours and is a noteworthy introduction to the region’s wines.  

“The Rhône is eminently collectible, but prices haven’t spiralled,” Mark concludes. This is a defining point for what makes its wines such a treasure for collectors. There is immense quality and superb winemaking talent in the region, all for affordable prices. “Although climate change is raising challenges [like the tornado in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 2023], the wines have probably never been better and certainly never more consistent”.

Find out more about our Rhône 2022 En Primeur offer here.

Category: Miscellaneous

London to Lima and back again


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Alex James at work in his London to Lima distillery
Alex James at work. Images courtesy of London to Lima.

British Army Captain-turned-distiller Alex James traces his journey from the UK to Peru and back. In his own words, he tells the story of how he transformed London to Lima from accidental-moonshine-in-a-laundry-room to a bona fide business.


Alex and his wife, Karena, moved to Peru in search of a new adventure after the Army. With a mechanical engineering degree and an MBA under his belt, Alex had plans to launch a project in the jungle. The path looked relatively clear – until it didn’t.

“The washing-machine door clicked, followed by three beeps: my signal to start the distillation. I began to boil up the batch of rum wash and await the flow of heady aromas. This was my laundry room at home in Lima, where I had plumbed in a 20-litre copper pot still which I’d brought from London in a shipping container.

“We moved to Peru looking for adventure. Karena was eager to discover her roots, her parents having left Peru in the 1960s for postgraduate studies. We were introduced by my sisters, and I was bowled over at first glance. Peru was a land of opportunity and given time I knew we could make something work.

“Circumstances put shot to the original plan within two weeks of moving the family over, and I found myself with time to spend on my new hobby: distilling.”


What started as a hobby quickly developed into something more serious. Before long, Alex’s historic ties to wine and grape-growing would come full circle.

“Fortunately, we had a decent-sized laundry room. I started playing around and accidentally made moonshine; I had thought it was rum, but it lacked much depth of flavour. Popping some oak chips into the bottle, I found, was no substitute for barrel-ageing.

A view of Alex's laundry-room distillery
“A decent-sized laundry room”

“Some friends were growing grapes to make Pisco, which is like an unaged Cognac but with strictly one distillation allowed [in Peru]. I helped with their harvest and started making Pisco myself, which gave me the idea to make a grape-based gin.

“My father was an equally mad entrepreneur and used to make wine in Gaillac, France. My first small step into commerce was selling his wine to my school friends, unbeknownst to him. I had also really enjoyed working as an intern on a grape farm in Namibia on my gap year. Swimming across the Orange River every lunch break to search the desert for ever-elusive diamonds that I had read about in a Wilbur Smith novel.

“Full of confidence, I began distilling and experimenting incessantly. The big challenge was to take it from the laundry room to a business.”


The technical side was not so straightforward; it turns out there wasn’t really a playbook for making Pisco-based gin.

“Pisco distillation is done typically within a couple of weeks of harvest. I realised there were distilleries whose stills were not used for nine months of the year. I could save the initial investment and rent somewhere. Through a cricket connection I met a distillery owner (and former Peruvian Cavalry Officer) who kindly let me experiment on and off for a year until I rented the space full-time.

“It was a challenge. Almost all gin distillers buy neutral alcohol at 96% ABV. But I distilled fermented grape juice into Pisco, and then distilled that again into a base spirit, which I used to make gin.  To distil the base spirit, I had to modify the still to reach a higher alcohol-by-volume (ABV) – which meant I needed to build a hybrid column. I had to dust off my mechanical engineering degree.

“I made modification after modification to the still. I worried I would never get to the flavour that I was after. Sat in my kitchen one summer evening I finally tasted the base spirit where I had eliminated a flavour that was bugging me. Eureka! I first made these modifications on a 20-litre still. When they eventually proved successful, I did the same to the 400-litre still from the Pisco distillery.

A mosquito tent set up beside a still, where Alex keeps watch
“I had to set my alarm every 90 minutes in the night”

“I found it was taking a 40-hour distillation to get to the necessary ABV. It was like being back on sentry duty: I had to set my alarm every 90 minutes in the night to check my flow rates were correct on the cooling system. Too much cooling and the column flooded; too little, and the ABV dropped into a flavour threshold that I didn’t want. My nose became well-tuned. I could sense a change by sniffing the air. It was tiring, but it made a pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of Lima.”


If it’s not already clear, Alex is a hands-on operator. Involvement in every stage of the production process has taken him to some out-of-the-way places. His search for water is a notable example.

“While trekking in the Cordillera Blanca, part of the Peruvian Andes, it struck me that I should be sourcing water from glaciers, which are, ultimately, distilled water on a massive scale.

A glacial spring
“Distilled water on a massive scale”

“Carving out glaciers obviously wasn’t appropriate. Seeing those pristine, turquoise-blue glacial springs was captivating. I reasoned that water must be leaking out of those lakes as springs somewhere further down the mountain, so I went looking for glacial springs. I spoke to a local guide, Carlos, about how to find one. Carlos teaches at a mountain training school; he set his students to work, searching and asking the local communities for possibilities. Their brief was to find a spring that was just about accessible, not contaminated by human populations. He came back with some options and off I went to visit them.

“There was one that stood out. I had to beef up the suspension of my Land Rover to cope with the 1.2 tonnes of water. The brakes also got an upgrade. I still managed to douse myself, my intern James and the dashboard in ice-cold water once, trundling down the rocky road. We had no music for our nine-hour drive back to Lima, so I taught James a few Irish folk songs.”


Alex then undertook a master’s degree in brewing and distilling, which set him up for future success – though the challenges didn’t stop there.

“It was difficult to find the time to study on top of the business and a growing family. But it was an amazing learning experience, and it was valuable to see where the latest research was focusing. It gave me more confidence that I was doing things correctly, and it helped me decide what I should do next.

“Then, almost literally, the roof caved in. Sadly, the man from whom I rented the distillery passed away, and I couldn’t reach an agreement with his family. I had to move and start again. We searched and found an abandoned cattle-ranch. Some of the buildings were just about serviceable. We invested a great deal of time, eventually building a new distillery with lots of charm and character. We only signed the purchase three months before moving the family back to London in 2022, which made the setup particularly difficult.

“We fitted it out with a 1,250-litre copper still of my own design, built with talented local metalworkers. The worry, the sleepless nights: have I built the still strong enough? Have I sized the chimney correctly? Will the 20,000-litre cooling-tower be suitable? Will the firewood or gas burners scorch the botanicals or the grape must? What will it taste like?

The new London to Lima distillery under construction
Work in progress at the new London to Lima distillery

“The new distillery is off the grid. I had to power my cane presses off petrol engines, and I had to build a new cane press. Why didn’t I import one? Building it myself was more cost-effective and a greater learning experience. This is why I build most of the things that I build; I enjoy the challenge.”

Browse our London to Lima range.

Category: Spirits

The three ages of wine


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Many of us assume that aged wines are better than their youthful counterparts, but we all have different palates. If you don’t quite understand your tastes, it’s difficult to manage your cellar and know when to withdraw your wines. So, what exactly happens when a bottle is laid down to rest? To illustrate the ageing process in action, we lined up three vintages of the same wine to see how each is tasting.  

It’s a familiar adage that wines get better with age, but the question of “better” is a subjective one. Do you prefer your wines brimming with fresh fruits, or nuanced and complex with hints of mushroom and leather? There are no wrong answers – it’s all down to what you like to drink. But it’s good to know when to pull the cork, so you end up with a wine in your glass that you’ll enjoy.  

Wine is a constantly evolving thing. When it is young, the fruits in the mix are all crying out for attention: vibrant, tightly woven and tart. At this stage, the tannins are at their thickest, and you’ll feel them furring your teeth and gums. While that may not sound especially pleasant, tannins marry particularly well with dishes rich in protein and fatty meats, making such young wines perfect for pairing with hearty meals.  

As a wine ages, these fruits gradually fall away. The acidity levels come down, the tannins soften, and the overall profile is one of greater complexity, with more savoury elements coming to the fore. Some wines have long lives, and given the right conditions, can happily keep evolving this way in the cellar, developing all sorts of nuanced tertiary flavours.  

To taste this process in action, we lined up three vintages of exactly the same wine: the 2018, the 2005 and the 1995 bottlings of the grand vin from Château Gruaud Larose in Bordeaux.  

2018: young, fresh and lively 

At the time of writing, this wine is around five years old – which, for this style of wine, is very much youthful. As you’d expect, the colour is a deep purple, brooding, like forest fruit compote. The fruit character is very dense and dark, with notes of sticky black cherries, plum jam and blackcurrant cordial, alongside touches of menthol, liquorice and lilac.  

The acidity is high, but this is partly masked by the intense bursts of fruit leaping out of the glass. The tannins are particularly thick, clinging to your teeth in as little as one sip. The overall picture is one of vibrancy and intensity, with all the elements in place to settle in for a long resting period. Acidity, tannins, body, complexity – ticks all round.  

Add to cellar

2005: in elegant middle age 

At almost 20 years old, many of the elements that were so tightly coiled in the ’18 have now unfurled. The wine is much more relaxed and open, with the fresh fruits giving way to a more muted dried fruit profile – dried cranberry, raisin, prune – with notes of leather, oak spice and leaves coming to the fore. 

The tannins have softened considerably, joining together and creating a more silken texture. Gone is the striking bruised fruit hue; the colour here is a mellow kind of garnet. Conversely, the acidity is perhaps more noticeable here than in the ’18, in the absence of fresh fruits. As Barbara Drew MW says, “our brains take all sorts of short cuts when you smell and taste a wine.” Acidity levels don’t change too dramatically with time, but our perception certainly does, depending on the accompanying flavours in the liquid.  

Whether you like the wine or not will inform how much you notice the acidity. If you like the wine (as I do), you might interpret the whole profile as fresh, silky and balanced. If you don’t like it, your attention might be drawn to the acidity, and it may still seem a little sharp. But overall, the impression is one of elegance and poise.  

Add to cellar

1995: funky, smoky and savoury 

We’re inching closer to the 30-year mark here. There is a heady perfume leaping out of the glass, but it is not especially fruity. To me, I can’t help smelling funky aromas of mushroom and fermented tofu, plenty of Chinese spices, soy sauce and miso (but that may be a reflection of how much time I spend in Asian supermarkets). There’s certainly plenty of leather, tobacco, dried meat and smoke at play, alongside dark chocolate, graphite and dried fruits.  

The colour here is a delicate light garnet. With even more fruit having fallen away at this point, you might start to notice the tannins again. Although softer, they may also seem somewhat “chewy”. The acidity is much more muted, the brightness gone, contributing to a much more tertiary and savoury character overall. 

You wouldn’t necessarily want to decant a wine like this, apart from to remove the sediment, as the aeration would age the wine even further.  

Add to cellar

A note about the wine 

Château Gruaud Larose, based in the St Julien appellation on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, is famed for its full-bodied and long-lived wines. Every vintage is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot playing the supporting role, and a little Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. These expressions are fairly typical of red Bordeaux, giving a good indication of how you could expect a wine of this style to develop. 

Category: Miscellaneous