A work of art: No3 Gin

The world-beating gin brand has commissioned microscopic photographer Justin Zoll to discover the beauty of their spirit at every level

Food and Drink 1 Oct 2021

The Art of Perfection - No3 Gin photographed on a microscopic level by Justin Zoll
Zoll's artwork adorns No3 boxes
Justin Zoll has also photographed No3 cocktails at 40x magnification

No3 Gin is a relative newcomer to the world of spirits. It was created by Berry Bros & Rudd in 2010 when Simon Berry, the chairman of the world’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, decided they should set out to create the world’s best gin. Working with the world’s finest distilling experts including Dr David Clutton, the only person in the world with a PHD in gin, and bartenders, including Alessandro Palazzi, head bar manager at Duke’s Hotel, Berry Bros & Rudd created No3 and went on to win the world’s most prestigious spirits awards including the International Spirits Challenge ‘Best in Class’ Gin Trophy four times and the International Spirits Challenge Supreme Champion Spirit Award in 2019.

No3 Gin is a spirit based on crafting something perfect so it’s fitting that the brand is intimately involved and concerned with the world of design. The gin is a sponsor of the London Design Festival and recently has worked on an innovative project with photographer Justin Zoll on capturing the beauty of No3 at a microscopic level.

Justin Zoll has found the beauty of No.3 at a microscopic level
Justin Zoll has found the beauty of No3 Gin at a microscopic level

Zoll captures what he calls micro-landscapes, a scene created by magnifying something 40 times over and seeing what nature creates at a microscopic level. The process of photographing the spirit involves freezing the gin and capturing the resulting crystalline structure of the liquid at 40x magnification and through a polarised lens to bring out its colour. Just freezing the spirit long enough to photograph it was extremely difficult given its high alcohol content. The process often involved Zoll looking through a microscope outside on his porch in Ithaca, New York, in the middle of winter.

‘I was a landscape photographer, before I started using microscopes. And I have a philosophy of not changing anything about what I’m looking at to photograph it. If I were out photographing a real-world landscape of mountains and trees, and there was a branch in the way, I wouldn’t move it just to make my picture better,’ says Zoll. ‘That’s my philosophy here as well. When you’re looking under the microscope, you can scroll across a landscape that is the same as looking at a vista in the real world. I don’t just photograph any part of what I see, I’ll scroll through the microscopic landscape and all of its terrain and detail variations to find what I think is the right frame.’

The result is an intricate and colourful micro-landscape of crystalline beauty. And Zoll claims that of all the spirits and liquids he has photographed, No3 produced the most striking results. ‘It’s hard to say what in the gin makes it so beautiful. I’m sure it has something to do with the precision they put in to making the spirit and some of my favourite images I’ve captured have been for No3. The images are unique in that no one else is freezing high alcoholic spirits and photographing the results but also because every drop of oil from every botanical is adding things to the composition in an ineffable way.’

Prints of the resulting photographs are available to buy from no3gin.com, including images of No3 Gin cocktails such as a negroni, gin and tonic and a martini