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Colonel Fox

Written by Gin Foundry

Cremorne 1859, aka Colonel Fox London Dry Gin was launched in 2012. It’s labelling and illustrations prove unique and appealing, but then what would you expect from the Cask Liquid Marketing team.

While Cremorne 1859 began life as simply a London Dry Gin, it’s probably fairest to consider it now as being a range of products that fall under the CASK Liquid Marketing profile. Founded by Richard Herbert and Stuart Ekins, co-founders at CASK, they are working with Charlotte Cory, a London-based writer and artist, to create a range of spirits that are at once traditional in taste and inspired by the past, but with a certain modern twist.

The fictional character Colonel Fox has a rather interesting 19th Century backstory. Having fought in several wars throughout his career, he retired in 1859 and went onto run the popular pleasure gardens known as Cremorne Gardens. Based by the River Thames in Chelsea, London, Fox was visited by Queen Victoria there on a number of occasions, when she came for afternoon walks with Prince Albert and ended up having a Gin Colonel Special cocktail as well. His wild stories of his globe-trotting adventures kept the Queen and the Prince well-entertained. Recognised as a war-hero, who fought at Waterloo, and travelled through the Middle East as well as in parts of Africa, Europe and Australasia, Fox was a true 19th Century gentleman, whose tales and stories kept every one under rapture, helped along by his gin. It was whilst he was travelling that he found a recipe for gin, the same one that CASK based theirs on. Sadly, these gardens closed in 1877, never to open their doors again and Fox’s gin soon became a hidden secret, buried in time.

The imagery depicted on Colonel Fox’s Gin bottle presents a post-Darwinian universe of reworked, recycled, collaged and montaged Victorian photography in which the animals are clearly in charge, complete with fantastical stories that are both captivating and highly creative. However, the realities of it’s eponymous gin are somewhat more mundane. Distilled and bottled in London’s very own Thames Distillers Ltd, Charles Maxwell takes charge in producing batches of this gin, using a variety of traditional gin botanicals that include: juniper, coriander, angelica root, cassia, liquorice and bitter orange peel. Bottled at 40% ABV. It is suggested that you serve it in a G & T garnished with a blackberry or cherry, to bring out the most of the citrus appeal which is touched upon in the juniper driven nose.

Describing Colonel Fox’s Gin involves all of those words that blockbuster Hollywood marketeers would hate to put on a movie poster - respectable, commendable, decent and reliable. They are not particularly sexy one-line quips quoting just how tantalisingly unforgettable it is, nor are they deriding it as a horrifyingly made experience. It is no Sharknado, but neither is it a James Bond classic. This is middle of the road, trusty gin - a feat that many gins fall short of.

Colonel Fox Gin to taste…

On the palate, a fruity and earthy taste ensues; this gives way shortly to a more sweet flavour. The taste lingers in the mouth a while, long after you have swallowed the last drop, with the juniper noticeably present. It’s a good gin but with hundreds of other gins available it is, unfortunately, a little forgettable too.

That said, part of what could make this gin stand out from the crowd is it’s playful labelling and identity. Cory was brought onto the team to help find something suitable for what Stuart and Richard wanted their gin to promote. Being an expert on all things medieval and influenced by this passion for history within her art, it all comes through in her labels for Colonel Fox. As we touched on above with the backstory of Colonel Fox, she depicts a uniformed solider, standing regally for a portrait, holding his sword to his left-hand side, though rather strangely the soldier’s head has been replaced by that of a fox’s. This surreal illustration makes more sense when you see it through Cory’s understanding of the Victorian era and the ideology that was around in Victorian times starting in 1859.

For it was in this year that the ground-breaking book, Darwin’s The Origin of Species was published and changed people’s understandings of evolution and man’s beginnings forever. The juxtaposition therefore between man and animal was finally united, showing a liner evolutionary path, which is exposed symbolically in Cory’s colourful and evocative picture. Furthermore, photography as Charlotte explains became a cheaper and more viable option than it had ever been before, allowing people to have their pictures taken at the Cremorne Gardens. Hence the formal portraiture and pose of the half-man half-beast Colonel, who appears to be under a photographer’s direction. The Victorians were being pushed into another world, one in which they were not quite ready for but were having to acknowledge all the same.

Due in part to Cory’s pictures, Colonel Fox has been created into an eye-catching gin that is not only pretty to look at, but also unusually thought provoking when you give it a moment. These labels help to define what the gin could be about, once the team begin to bring the brand to life and roll it out to consumer audiences. With the success of CASK‘s other drinks within their portfolio, it’s hard to see why this would fare any differently, but there’s a long way to go yet and without a standout flavour profile that sets it apart from other gins, it could take a little longer for it to gain traction.


For more information about Colonel Fox Gin, visit their website: www.caskliquidmarketing.com

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