Review – Tanqueray Gin
One of the world’s most recognisable gin brands has its roots in the 1830’s when a young Charles Tanqueray, turned against the family tradition of becoming a clergyman and instead established his distillery in Vine Street, London. The family firm was taken over by Charles’ son when he died, who continued to grow the company and set it on the path to global success as it became one of the founding brands of drinks giant Diageo. All Tanqueray gins are based on neutral wheat spirit produced at the same site in Cameron Bridge. Despite the huge size of this brand, Tanqueray still proudly use the ‘one shot’ method of distillation whereby the botanicals are distilled to produce the final strength of spirit (compared with the ‘multiple shot’ method where a recipe of botanicals many times stronger than the desired finished product used, with dilution with neutral spirit undertaken at the end).
Released in 2000, Tanqueray 10 takes its name from the still in which the ‘citrus heart’ is produced, Tiny 10. Tiny 10 differs from the other Tanqueray pot stills in that it is heated by a steam jacket. Fresh oranges, limes, and grapefruits are used to produce the citrus heart, which then undergoes a second distillation in the Old Tom still with the addition of juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, camomile flowers and more limes.
Nose: Delightfully fresh and crisp upfront, with citrus notes is immediately evident. The expected juniper follows close behind, as does a warm but subtle spice against an earthy background. Grapefruit, camomile and coriander are all notable, but the overall impression is of a very well balanced and rounded gin.
Neat: As with the nose, this is a remarkably well balanced and rounded gin. Waxy juniper plays off nicely against the citrus-led flavour profile and, whilst this is often described as a citrussy gin, these notes are perfectly balanced with white pepper spice, floral camomile and a deep earthy tone to result in a gin that hits all the right spots. Particularly characteristic of this gin is the wonderful lingering finish that doesn’t become one dimensional, but instead just slowly tails off to once again remind the palate of the delightful balance achieved.
Mixing: It comes as no surprise that this gin mixes extraordinarily well. Perhaps never better than in a simple Dry Martini, the balance of citrus, floral, spicy and earthy flavours mean that you’ll need to try hard to find a drink in which Tanqueray 10 is not a solid choice. From the light and refreshing minty signature Southside (recipe below), through to the aromatic and herbal Amber Room #1, this gin puts on stellar performance every time. The downside to spirits of this quality is that it does seem a shame to lose the full impact of the botanicals when mixed with other ingredients that tend to mask the subtleties. In particular, sour drinks such as the Aviation and Clover Club, although delicious detract somewhat from the strengths of this spirit. By contrast, more aromatic options such as the twist on a Sazerac that is the Wink benefit from the citrus notes that the gin brings and really play to its strengths.
Signature Cocktail – Southside
7 Mint Leaves, 2oz Tanqueray 10, 1oz Lime Juice, 0.5oz Sugar Syrup
Lightly muddle mint in base of shaker. Add rest ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a mint sprig.
Tanqueray 10 really sets the bar for what is expected from a premium gin. The balance and complexity of flavour is mightily impressive and means this gin can be considered an essential ingredient for the home bar. Rating: ★★★★★
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.