Tag Archives: Tanqueray No ten

Gin O’Clock – Part Fifty Five

Sitting here writing this post, summer seems so far away. It is the time of year that TOWT and I flee cold, misty, and frosty Blighty for warmer climes for a bit of winter sun.

There is a school of thought that gin is a summer drink, best enjoyed sitting outside when the sun is setting. That may be so and there are certain gins, generally with more of a floral overload, that seem best suited for quaffing al fresco but for the true aficionado gin is surely an all around the year drink. Such is the wide variety of the gins available, courtesy of the ginaissance, that it is possible to find one whose attributes either fit in perfectly with the prevailing weather conditions – perhaps one with a high spice content for those winter evenings – or help you recapture the mood of a balmy summer evening.

I have already commented that one of the trends in the gin world in 2018 is the production of coloured and flavoured gins. Pink, particularly strawberry, and orange seem very much on trend this year and you can tell something is stirring in the undergrowth when one of the undoubted big boys join in.

For me, Tanqueray, owned by Diageo, can do nothing wrong. Their No 10 is to die for and their London Dry Gin is always a reliable companion. I always ensure that I have one or the other (or both) on my shelf for those times when I want to return to the arms of a faithful companion. In April 2018 they added another to their range, Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla.

It comes in the familiar, Tanqueray-shaped bottle, fluted with an indentation near the neck in which is the Tanqueray seal. But instead of bottle-green the glass is clear, the better to show off the coloured spirit, which looks a bit like Lucozade. The label is colourful featuring segments of oranges and the legend advises that it is made with bittersweet Seville oranges.

On opening the screwcap, the aroma is a heady mix of oranges and juniper and despite my scepticism about flavoured gins, I found it inviting. To the taste it was not as sickly as I had anticipated, the zesty taste of the oranges complemented by the traditional botanicals of Tanqueray’s London Dry Gin. With an ABV of 41.3% it makes for a very satisfying, smooth drink, fruity and full of flavour, leaving a nice sensation of orange and spice as an aftertaste.

The inspiration for this gin, apart from jumping on a bandwagon, is apparently a recipe concocted by Charles Tanqueray himself whilst he was traipsing around the orange groves of Spain. The cynic in me thinks that it is London Dry Gin with oranges added but I’m sure there is more to it than that.

If flavoured gins are your bag, then you can do no worse than go for the one produced by one of the acknowledged market leaders. Did it transport me to the sun-soaked orange groves of Spain? I’m not sure. I will have to drink a bit more of it to be able to give you a definitive answer.

There will be no more gin reviews until Father Christmas has been. So, until 2019, cheers!

Gin o’Clock – Part Twenty Five

I have been steadily working my way through my stock of gins so that I have space to carry on my explorations of the ginaissance. It is almost an impossible task to keep up with all the craft gins that keep appearing. I was reading the other week that as well as UK sales of gin breaking the £1 billion barrier in 2016, 25% more distilleries opened in England and an astonishing 18 in Scotland during the course of last year. You see my problem!

What is interesting is that the really successful independent distillers are being made offers they cannot refuse by the big brewers. Sipsmith, one of my particular favourites, were bought up in December by the Japanese company, Beam Suntory. The Spencerfield Spirit Company, who distils the Edinburgh gin, has been taken over by Ian Macloed Distillers. Good news for the owners, for sure, but in my experience with real ales there is usually a diminution in the quality and taste of a drink when it gets into the hands of the big boys. It will be a shame if it happens to these two fine gins.

One of the delights of being a ginophile – is there such a word? If not, I’ve just invented it – is that you learn an awful lot about herbs and fruits. Take the Rangpur, a tree of which I had been blissfully ignorant for all these years. It originates, funnily enough, from the Rangpur region of Bangladesh but is now cultivated widely around the world. It is a hybrid between a lime and an orange. The tree itself is not dissimilar to a lime tree but the fruit that it bears is round and orange. It is very acidic and to the taste is very similar to a lime but the fruit is as packed with juice as an orange.

I have a soft spot for Tanqueray gins – the Number ten is divine and the Tanqueray Dry London Gin is an excellent opener for an evening’s bacchanalian revel – and so I was keen to try Tanqueray Rangpur Gin which, as you might expect from the name, features heavily the fruit of the Rangpur tree. It comes in the traditional fluted Tanqueray bottle with the embossed red seal at the front and the silver screw cap. However, the green of the bottle is slightly lighter than its stable mates – a sort of lime green.

Upon opening the screw cap for the very first time my nose was hit by a very powerful but fresh and mellow whiff of lime which seemed to take precedence over the juniper. The spirit is crystal clear and to the taste the first sensation is of sweetness and citrus before the juniper puts up a fight with a wonderfully peppery glow. The aftertaste reverts to a citrusy flavour. It is not unpleasantly sweet and I found it surprisingly refreshing, perhaps one like Bloom to savour in the garden on a hot summer’s day.

Its ABV is a respectable 41.3% and as for the botanicals we can be sure that there is juniper, Rangpur, bay leaves, ginger and coriander in the mix. These are added during the distillation process but there is a suspicion that there is some form of sweetener added afterwards which, rather like Martin Miller, means that it disqualifies itself from being classed as a London dry gin. If I had to categorise it, I would say that it was a contemporary gin because the citrus certainly gives the juniper a run for its money.

Gin o’Clock – Part Five

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Those nice people at 31Dover.com, in return for my complimentary review of their excellent service gave me a 10% discount on my next order. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I did my research and selected two very different but excellent Scottish gins.

The island of Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides, is best known for its whiskies, including one of my favourites, the incredibly peaty Laphroaig, and so it was a bit of surprise to me that the Bruichladdich distillery has turned its hand to producing a contemporary premium gin, the Botanist. I was a little wary of ordering it as it uses 31 botanicals in its distillation process – a case of going overboard if there ever was one – but, astonishingly, the result is almost perfection.

The hooch is distilled in Ugly Betty, an over-sized upside down dustbin made of copper and the process takes some 17 hours. Naturally the wonderful Islay spring water is used in the process sourced from Dirty Dottie’s spring on Octomore farm. There are nine botanicals used which are not sourced locally – angelica root, cassia bark, cinnamon bark, coriander seed, juniper berries, lemon peel, liquorice root, orange peel and our old friend orris root. The gin is then passed through what might be termed a basket of botanical delights, twenty two botanicals foraged from the island itself – apple mint, birch leaves, bog myrtle leaves, sweet chamomile, creeping thistle flowers, the flowers of elder, gorse, heather and hawthorn, prostrate juniper berries, Lady’s bedstraw flowers, lemon balm, meadow sweet, the leaves of peppermint, mugwort, red clover, sweet cicely, thyme, water mint and wood sage and not forgetting tansy and white clover. Phew – you can see what I mean.

The bottle is squat and round with an artificial stopper and the Latin names of the Islay botanicals dimpled into the glass. At 46 per cent proof it packs a punch, is clear and to the smell is pungent and floral. The initial sensation when in the mouth is of the bitterness of the juniper but then the spices come into play and then a wonderful, complex and delicate fusion of tastes and sensations. The aftertaste is again dominated by the juniper but there is a faint taste of pepper and liquorice. I found it very acceptable, an excellent opener to an evening’s drinking and one not to be drowned by an overpowering tonic.

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My other choice was the classic Tanqueray No Ten, distilled at Cameronbridge Gin Distillery in Windygates. It is 47 per cent proof and comes in an ornate green bottle which can only be described as a fluted dustbin with a conical lid and a red seal bearing the letter T just below the screw cap. It takes its name from the 500 litre pot, known as Tiny Ten, in which it is distilled.

A citrus flavour dominates, unsurprisingly as the whole fruit of grapefruit, lemon and lime feature among the ingredients, rather than just the peel, as well as botanicals such as fresh chamomile flowers, juniper, angelica, coriander and liquorice.The gin is clear but has a very silky, rich texture in the mouth and the flavours are kept in the aftertaste with an almost buttery finish. Very different from the Botanist it comes across as a more rounded, balanced, elegant and  dare I say, sophisticated drink and would be wonderful in something like a martini.

Until the next time, cheers!