Gin launched to honour Soho porn baron

A new gin launches in London this week to honour legendary Soho porn baron Paul Raymond.

King of Soho London Dry Gin

King of Soho London Dry Gin

King of Soho London Dry Gin, made by Thames Distillers, is the brainchild of Raymond’s son Howard and was created through his company West End Drinks.

Paul Raymond opened the UK’s first strip club in 1958 and launched soft porn magazines Men Only and Escort, leading him to be dubbed the “King of Soho.”

Housed in the former Doric Ballroom in Soho’s Walker’s Court, Raymond’s club was attended by the likes of actors Peter Sellers and John Mills.

Raymond was named the richest man in Britain in 1992 with an estimated fortune of £1.5 billion.

His colourful life was turned into a film, The Look of Love, released this year with Steve Coogan cast in the title role.

“My father’s favourite tipple in the ‘60s was gin, a drink reminiscent of the parties and clubs of that era.

“London is now driving an international renaissance of gin and fittingly, The King of Soho Gin is distilled in the heart of London,” said Howard Raymond.

The 42% abv, juniper dominant gin is made from 12 botanicals, including citrus, grapefruit, angelica root and cassia, and is distilled in two small pot stills.

Featuring a fox-tailed dandy in a red jacket and top hat reading a book and carrying a French horn, the gin’s blue glass bottle seems a hat tip to another King of Soho – Sebastian Horsley.

The inspiration behind the bottle? Self-styled dandy, Sebastian Horsley

The inspiration behind the bottle? Self-styled dandy, Sebastian Horsley

An artist by trade, the self-styled dandy lived in Soho, dressed in a signature red velvet suit and top hat, and was vocal about his reliance on local prostitutes.

He is best known for having undergone a voluntary crucifixion without pain killers in the Philippines as preparation for a series of paintings on the subject.

Horsley was found dead in his Soho flat on 17 June 2010 after a suspected heroin overdose. Marc Almond, Will Self and Stephen Fry attended his funeral.

King of Soho Gin will be distributed in the UK by Hi-Spirits, with an initial focus on bars and specialist retailers in London, before it is rolled out across the country.

“We’re delighted to add King of Soho Gin to our portfolio. Consumer interest in gin is booming, and the unique branding of King of Soho along with the exceptional quality of the gin in the bottle will give it a strong appeal,” said Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits.

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