Gordon’s Tasting Notes

Gordon's

Most of you at home will have some kind of bottle of spirit in your house. Could be a bottle of port for cooking, brandy for puddings or maybe vermouth which you just don’t know what to do with. You’ll also probably have a bottle of gin stored somewhere, and it will more than likely be Gordon’s I say this because Gordon’s is one of the most widely available gin brands, and not overly expensive. It goes well in a Gin and Tonic or lemonade and has been a staple in bars and restaurants since 1769. 243 years of being ‘the number one selling London Dry gin’. But what makes it so?

Alexander Gordon (a Londoner of Scottish descent) took full advantage of the Gin Act in 1751 and sourced himself the finest possible ingredients. His aim was to produce an unsweetened gin instead of the usual impure and sweet gins that many were use to. In 1769, Alexander Gordon founded his distillery in the Southwark area of London and went on to lay the foundations for the creation of the style of gin for which the English became renowned. Tradition still goes strong today, with Gordon’s still triple distilled and the exact blend of the seven botanicals remaining a closely guarded secret.

To be classed as a gin, Gordon’s contains juniper berries. These are carefully selected from the pick of each year’s crop and gently shaken from the tree and stored for two years. This intensifies the oils and mellow the flavours, with the strength of the juniper giving Gordon’s the classic gin taste that Alexander Gordon was after. As well as juniper berries, the recipe includes coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel.

In 1800, Gordon’s fame spread as sailors of the British Navy and Merchant Navy carry it in their ships to all corners of the world. In fact, in 1853, entries in ledgers record payments by Joseph Franks of Melbourne for consignments of gin brought by the ships ‘Nancy’ and ‘Rostock’ – payment being made in gold dust. 1898 saw the merger of Charles Tanqueray & Co. with Gordon & Co. to form the Tanqueray Gordon & Co. with all production moving to Gordon’s Goswell Road site. Six years later, the iconic square-faced green bottle for the home market is introduced, with the Gordon’s Sloe Gin just two years after. Before World War Two, Gordon’s opened its first distillery in the USA, at Linden, New Jersey, and became its only distillery after The Luftwaffe bombed Goswell Road on the night of 11 May 1941. The Gordon’s offices, warehouses and distillery were all destroyed. It took 16 years until Goswell Road was rebuilt, and one of the original stills, ‘Old Tom’, survived. To help with the demand, Plainfield Distillery in Illinois, USA became the thirteenth plant throughout the world producing Gordon’s gin in 1966. 1984 saw an even bigger expansion as Gordon’s gin production is moved to the Laindon site, Basildon, Essex. The first gin distillation using the traditional copper stills, including ‘Old Tom’, which is now over 200 years old, is successfully achieved in 1989.

So a rather storied history with rapid expansion, so lets see how it actually is. Below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gordon’s – 37.5%

Instant citrus aromas on the nose creating a very fresh experience. Quite dry on the palate however, with lots of citrus lemon flavours hitting first. The freshness carries on but comes up rather a short offering.

As you would imagine, Gordon’s is rather versatile with its mixing, and it’s not just a Gin and Tonic it can do –

Bramble
Bramble

Gordon’s Bramble

Glass –

Tumbler

Ingredients – 

25ml Gordon’s Sloe gin
25ml Gordon’s gin
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
Crushed ice
Berries to garnish

Method –

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add ingredients then give it a good shake. Strain into a cool rocks glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with fresh blackberries and raspberries (frozen berries work well too).

or

Gordon’s Pink Lady

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

40ml Gordon’s gin
25ml triple sec
20ml lemon juice
A raspberry to garnish

Method – 

Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well then strain into a Martini glass. Garnish your Pink Lady with a raspberry.

This is a great mixing gin, perfect to pick up if you have friends coming round, as part of a gin punch or a round of cocktails.

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© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tanqueray Tasting Notes

If i was to ask you “name me a gin made that is produced in Scotland”, most of you would be hard pressed to give me an answer. Some of you may mention Hendrick’s, or possibly some of the lesser seen brands like Edinburgh gin, Darnley’s View or Caorunn. But would you believe me if i said that Tanqueray is made in Scotland? To be fair, it never started out there, it was a bit further south in the Bloomsbury district of London, but Scotland would be making an appearance later in their esteemed history. First though a man named Charles Tanqueray set up shop in 1830, not knowing that his idea and indeed his name would revolutionise the gin category. Charles distilled unti his death in 1868 where Charles Waugh Tanqueray took over the business and merged with Gordon & Co. to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. and moved all of its production to Gordon’s Goswell Road site. In 1937, Tanqueray released two relativly short-lived bottles – Tanqueray Orange gin and Tanqueray Lemon gin. Both would be phased out by 1957, but an idea that hasn’t is the now iconic green bottle.
Between 1948 and 1950, all production of Tanqueray was moved to be housed in the green glassed bottles, with 1977 proving its success by selling one million cases in the US alone. Due to the increase in demand, the distillery was moved to its Laindon site in Basildon, Essex. The first gin distillation using the traditional copper stills (including ‘Old Tom’ which was over 200 years old and survived an air raid in 1941 when the London distillery was almost completely destroyed but the one which housed ‘Old Tom’) was successfully achieved in 1989. The distillery moved again to Cameron Bridge in Scotland as its current owners, Diageo, created a ‘dual-purpose’ site for its brands. Tanqueray No. 10 was launched in the US in 2000 and notched up seven top awards in its first 8 months of availability including double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In 2003 it was inducted into the World Spirits Hall of Fame.

Tanqueray No. 10

Not bad eh?

So what makes the Tanqueray brand different from all the others? Tanqueray is distilled four times and uses only 4 botanicals – juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice. Compared to the number of botanicals in Bombay Sapphire, Sipsmith and Martin Millers which each have 10, it can make you wonder if more is necessarily better. Tanqueray No. 10 on the other hand has a little more attention to detail. Created for the Martini drinker, it’s named after the 10th still, with added fresh grapefruit, chamomile, lime and orange to the original 4 and infused in small batches. So what does this create? Well below i give to you my tasting notes –

Tanqueray London Dry – 43.1%

Very fresh and smooth on the nose with slight hints of juniper and citrus coming through. A good hit of liquorice is present on the palate, with a slight spice that creates a long tingle.

Tanqueray No. 10 – 47.3%

Very subtle yet fresh aromas of grapefruit on the nose which leads to a great blend of juniper, vanilla and lime on the palate. Sightly sweet that creates a long lasting flavour and a hint of spice at the end.

For something that’s regarded so highly, can you afford to mix it with other ingredients? Try some of these out –

Tanqueray – Tiny Ten

Tiny Ten

Glass

Martini

Ingredients –

75ml Tanqueray No. 10
25ml Sugar syrup
Quarter fresh grapefruit juice

Method –

Shake over ice and serve

French 75

Glass

Coupet

Ingredients –

25ml Tanqueray London Dry
Half a lemon
12.5ml Sugar syrup
100ml Champagne

Method –

Shake the Tanqueray, squeezed lemon and sugar syrup together over ice, strain into a coupet glass and top with Champagne.

Again, simple recipes can sometimes have the best outcomes. I think Mr Charles Tanqueray knew something we didn’t.

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© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.