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Tanqueray Gin

Review: Tanqueray Gin   88.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted October 1, 2013

Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced.

Tanqueray Gin, is a London Dry Gin distilled four times with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation. According to the Tanqueray website, juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice are the four major botanicals used in the gin’s construction. The spirit is bottled at different proofs for different regional markets. As I live in Canada, the bottling proof  of my sample bottle is 40 % alcohol by volume.

SAM_0968 TanquerayIn the Bottle 4/5

My sample of Tanqueray Gin arrived in a 375 ml bottle as shown to the left. It was given to me by a local gin enthusiast (a friend of mine) who wanted to me to review his favourite spirit. The green bottle is nice with a look and shape that is distinctive in the gin category.

According to the Tanqueray website:

“Tanqueray’s iconic bottle design is a contemporary update of the original 1948 design, which in turn, was inspired by the shape of a classic cocktail shaker. The famous Tanqueray family crest embossed on the glass of each bottle features a pineapple, a historic symbol of hospitality and warm welcome.”

I like that the bottle is widened just above the label as this makes the bottle easier to grip when I grab it out of my fridge. Of course, I am not enthusiastic about the metallic screw top, which is my opinion should be replaced by a plastic cap.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Tanqueray is a clear spirit which when poured into my glass displays a nice combination of assertive juniper and lemon citrus at the forefront of the aroma. There is also a firm, but mild spiciness rising from the glass which hints at cardamom, ginger and citrus zest with more than a few hints of anise and licorice as well. As I let the breezes above the glass drift and change, I am reminded of old spruce trees with mossy backed trunks which seems to imply a soft earthy side to the gin’s character as well. All in all, this is a very pleasant spirit to nose which demonstrates a nice balance between the assertive juniper and the lemony spice.

In the Mouth 54/60

The Tanqueray Gin has a very obvious juniper flavour which comes forward in the initial delivery; yet the bitterness which so often accompanies juniper seems to be for the most part, absent. Instead, there is a soft lemony sweetness melding into that juniper flavour giving the gin an approachability I was not expecting. Light citric spices add a mild effervescence, and a soft earthy flavour reminiscent of damp soil or humus seems to lie underneath supporting the melded flavours of juniper, lemon and spice. This is quite nice to sip, being neither to aggressive nor too laid back.

I jumped into a few cocktails, and was very pleased with the results. I mixed a Gin and Tonic, a Lime Gimlet, and a Gin Martini. Of the three, I preferred the Gimlet, but any of the three would be welcome on my back deck on a hot sunny day. Tanqueray is a pleasant mixer seemingly destined for classic cocktails.

In The Throat  13.5/10

When sipped neat the gin finishes with a nice push of lemon citrus. A lightly glowing spiciness lingers afterwards which is, I am sure, one of the reasons the gin mixes so well in those classic cocktails.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

Everything about the Tanqueray Gin is pleasing. It has a firm juniper flavour which is tempered and accented by a nice lemon spiciness and a gentle earthiness lies underneath adding to the approachable flavour. As a cocktail gin, it mixes very easily into each of the classic bar drinks I constructed for myself.  Tanqueray is pleasant in all aspects, had a bit of a “wow factor” been present, I would have allowed my scores to rise up into the stratosphere.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes

Although it is customary to use a squeeze of lime in the classic Gin and Tonic recipe, the use of lemon juice in the mixed drink is testified to as early as 1938 when an advertisement for Gilbey’s Gin in Punch Magazine displayed the classic Gin and Tonic as served at the Shepheard’s in Cairo with a squeeze of lemon juice rather than lime.

Tanqueray and TonicAlthough my recipe is not the same as the recipe served at Shepheard’s, I too find a hit of lemon juice rather than lime to be a welcome addition to the Gin and Tonic  Cocktail. And as you can see from the photo, it is not necessary to use Gilbey’s Gin to make a great G&T. A classic gin such as Tanqueray is more than acceptable.

Gin and Tonic #4 (Lemon)

1 3/4 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (or to taste)
2 oz Q-Tonic
Lemon slice

Add the first three ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Q-Tonic
Garnish with a lemon slice


SAM_0971 Lime MartiniLime Martini

2 oz Tanqueray Gin
dash Vermouth
1/2 oz of Lime
3/8 oz of sugar syrup
Thin slice of Lime

Rinse a chilled Martini glass with a dash of vermouth
Pour the other three ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into the cocktail glass

Add a thin slice of lime to the cocktail.

And of course… enjoy!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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