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Gin Reviews

Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Export Strength 47.3% ABV


Tanqueray is like that cool kid in school that doesn’t try that hard. It’s cool not because it follows trends, but because it remains understated and unaffected in the face of such trends.

Tanqueray is an undisputed stalwart of the London Dry family of gins. While the recent boom in gin consumption has seen many craft gin brands experiment with a host of unique and eclectic botanicals to unlock new flavors in gin, Tanqueray has continued to stay true to its original juniper-forward recipe that was first developed by Charles Tanqueray in the 1830s. 

Tanqueray was, in fact, one of the first few “London Dry Gins” that were produced – London Dry Gins here referring to a dry-style gin that’s juniper-forward in flavor and devoid of any added flavorings and sweeteners post-distillation. Prior to the 1830s, the more commonly consumed gin was an Old Tom style gin, a heavily sugared form of gin that was artificially flavored to mask certain impurities in gin that were common during a time when more advanced distillations methods were yet to become mainstream.

In 1832, the method of continuous distillation was invented, allowing for a purer spirit to be distilled and opening the doors for the creation of the London Dry Gin. It was at this time that Charles Tanqueray developed and tweaked his secret recipe of only four botanicals – juniper, angelica root, liquorice and coriander seeds – which he used to create Tanqueray gin. With simplicity at its core, this recipe has withstood the test of time, and is what is used to produce the Tanqueray Gin that we’re drinking today. 

Tanqueray's production process (Image source: Diageo)

Today, Tanqueray is one of the top selling gin brands in the world, with a significant foothold in the US market. There is a reason for its greater prominence in the US market over the UK market though: in 1898, Charles Tanqueray’s son Charles Waugh arranged for a merger between the Charles Tanqueray & Co and Alexander Gordon & Co, bringing the brands Tanqueray and Gordon’s under the same house. The merged entity took a divide and conquer strategy when it came to geographical expansion, and decided to focus marketing efforts of the Gordon’s gin brand in Britain, and that of Tanqueray in the United State. This thus formed the foundation of both brand’s enduring market share and brand equity in each of those regions today.

An iconic gin deserves an iconic bottle! (Source: J M McGunn & Co)

Still, whether in the United States or otherwise, where there is gin, there is always likely to be a bottle of Tanqueray close by. And it’s easy to spot too! Part of what makes Tanqueray iconic is that it comes in a highly recognizable and dignified-looking bottle with a gorgeous green tint and classic red seal. Fun fact, the shape of the Tanqueray bottle is actually modelled after a cocktail shaker, aptly referencing Tanqueray’s use in a range of different cocktails.

With that said, let’s get to tasting!

Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Export Strength 40% - Tasting Notes & Review

 

Appearance: Crystal clear.

Nose: Fresh pine needles, distinct juniper with barely-there citrus note.

Palate: What jumps out at me immediately is how creamy this gin is – it goes down really easy. You also get a strong note of juniper, fresh cut grass and aniseed. There’s not really much citrus on the palate, though I did detect a subtle sweetness to the gin that had a fruity character of red berries.

Finish: Long, with coriander and black pepper. Some tangy notes of lemon peel and orange zest, with lingering sweetness of licorice. 

In a G&T:

It’s nice to see that the crisp, earthiness of the fresh juniper notes is still retained despite the addition of tonic. I get rooty notes of pine and cedar that makes for quite a refreshing, elegant drink. Tanquerey on its own has quite a creamy mouthful, and the tonic cuts through it and brightens it up with fresher, citrusy notes - touch of orange and lime. There is still a lingering sublte sweetness that I picked up when I drank the gin neat earlier – again still reminding me of licorice candies.

Fun fact, it is said that the first drink the White House toasted the end of Prohibition to was a Tanqueray & Tonic! 

Overall Thoughts:

This is a bar shelf staple for good reason! Tanqueray is truly your archetypical London Dry Gin -  really unpretentious with an obvious leaning towards those classically earthy juniper notes, yet at the same time well balanced and accented by subtle hints of citrus and coriander spice.

Flavour wise, it’s not so citrus-forward as other mainstay London Dry Gins like Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater, but I think it makes for a versatile canvas upon which you can building flavors in a cocktail – you could flexibly dial up the amount of citrus you add to it through your garnishes or syrups.

If I were to personify Tanqueray, it really would be as that cool kid in school that doesn’t try that hard. It’s cool not because it follows trends, but because it remains understate and unaffected in the face of new trends.

 

Til next time! 

@lotusroot518