Wessex Gin sparkles blue in its distinctive squat bottle – like an aquamarine gemstone from the mineral beryl in its Alfred the Great edition. Entwined in myth and folklore, the story goes that the great Anglo-Saxon king, who suffered crippling intestinal cramps, a former Einstein and natural leader, united the warring kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Kent, East Anglia and Wessex during his reign. His master alchemists noted their herbal remedies in texts known as the Herbarium, and it was these writings that inspired Jonathan Clark, master distiller, to form his own, ‘Wessex’ – now part of Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, and Dorset – based brand. A stickler for detail, Jonathan now has the perfect marketing tool dangling from each and every Alfred the Great bottle’s neck – a diecast perfect replica of the original Anglo-Saxon coin. It is a tribute to the first known coin in history to bear the monarch’s head – an enormously successful king mascotting an enormously successful brand. How can he be so sure it’s accurate? His distillery owns one of just the three known remaining original coins, and he can rely on Signet to capture the design exactly. Signet is in effect Alfred’s modern-day royal mint, and naturally, the Wessex varieties just keep claiming medals. Including the gold medal in the London Spirits competition, Jonathon sees it as having reached the epitome of quality, value, and last but not least, packaging, amongst brands competing from across the globe.