Thursday, 10 October 2013

King of Soho Gin honours dandy and porn baron



A new gin launched in London last week to honour legendary Soho porn baron Paul Raymond. As reported on db.com, King of Soho London Dry Gin, made by Thames Distillers, is the brainchild of Raymond’s son Howard. A colourful character, 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. He was named the richest man in Britain in 1992 with an estimated fortune of £1.5 billion. His eventful 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. 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 painkillers 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. 

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