The Story of London Vodka

London vodka is a premium vodka which is produced in the United Kingdom, from ingredients that have been sourced locally.


The legend of the origin of London Vodka recipe dates back to 1910, when a prominent Englishman – Sir George William Buchanan, was appointed as the British Ambassador in Russia.

At the time the British Royal Court keenly welcomed a large number of high-ranked officials and Diplomats from Eastern Europe. The primary aim of the British, and a personal agenda undertaken by Sir George Buchanan, was to establish tighter relationships with the Liberals (and in particular with the Octobrists) from Russia, to counteract the attempts of pro-German political elite to terminate their relationship with the “Triple Entente” (the alliance between France, Britain, and Eastern European powers).

In pursuit of his agenda Sir George Buchanan welcomed leaders from Eastern Europe, continuously exploring ways to acquire their trust and loyalty. His memoirs follow that during their visits to the United Kingdom, Eastern European officials and Diplomats did not express much enthusiasm for the traditional British spirits, such as Gin and Whisky (the abundance of which could be found in the reserves of the British Royal Court). As a result, in order to extend British hospitality during the official Diplomatic receptions, the making of our own British vodka spirit was commissioned.

The creation of the recipe was delegated to the United Kingdom Trade Board and was subsequently entrusted to no other than Mr. Leslie Matthews.

Mr. Matthews was a London born chemist, with an outstanding reputation acquired through his brave experiments with recipes of strong spirits. He was equally known for his undivided principle that the backbone of any lasting recipe is not in the abundance of the ingredients used, but in their quality and intricately measured proportions – the principle of “strict proportionality”. This is the very principle that was famously applied by Mr. Matthews in the making of the first recipe for what is today’s London Vodka.

To ensure the impeccable tasting results of the final distillate, most careful consideration was given to the fundamental ingredients.

The pure alcohol, used in the vodka recipe was produced from the finest winter wheat, which was nurtured and harvested exclusively in the fields of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire counties.  Wheat grown in these particular English counties is renowned for its richness and precious nutritional values to date. The purest water was sourced from the Elsenham well (located some 30 miles south of Cambridge). The result was perfectly balanced, making a truly authentic, additive free vodka, which was a success.

It is understood that during Buchannan’s times, London Vodka was served strictly in carafes marked with the British Coat of Arms. Label as the “British Royal Court” vodka, it was naturally only intended for the diplomatic receptions.

Unfortunately, the memoirs of Sir George William Buchannan do not expand on the extent of the impact, made by his inventive spirit idea, on his personal relationships with the leaders of Eastern Europe. However, perhaps coincidentally, Buchanan happened to be the only diplomat in British history, who managed to secure a major influence with the Russian political elite, and had developed a strong personal bond with Tsar, Nicholas II himself.


Historically,  vodka did not see a great boom in popularity amongst the average consumer in the United Kingdom until the 1970s. The late part of of the 20th Century saw an escalating demand by a more affluent younger generation, leading many more brands to be developed in Europe. Increasing popularity led to local producers securing interest in the original recipe for what is today’s London Vodka, ensuring that Sir George Buchanan’s efforts, invested into this originally private vodka recipe, are not lost to history.

With no prejudice to its roots and heritage, London Vodka continues to be produced in accordance with the principle of “strict proportionality”. And with the original recipe being followed precisely to the letter, the intended character and taste of London Vodka can still be enjoyed in its unchanged form by vodka devotees across the globe.


Rich, full-bodied, clean, with distinctive aromas of grains and cracked pepper spirit note tingle.

A touch of sweetness to the very clean, soft mouthful, with slight grain notes and black pepper.

Clean, crisp finish, with a lively cracked black pepper tingle.