Carnaby’s Gin

Carnaby's Gin

I wanted to title this feature “IT CAME FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF.” You know, give it a bit of a “B-Movie” sort of feel. But in retrospect I was uncertain whether or not that may be fair. I want to be a neutral reviewer of gin and give all gin an equal chance. There’s a whole lot more than just quality that goes into shelf position. Sometimes the big brand names get the prime real estate. Sometimes its simply about price. Other times it alphabetical, promotional, capricious, etc. There’s no reason, so I want to come and approach Carnaby’s gin with an open mind. So here we are Carnaby. You and your plastic bottle. What do you have to offer us gin drinkers of the world?

First Impressions
The scent of Carnaby’s gin remarkably unoffensive and neutral. There’s a faint hint of juniper, but not much else. There’s not even a strong scent indicating that this is alcohol from the outset.

What’s Supposed to be in Here/What were you expecting?
I try and go in cold most of the time. I try not to know what the botanicals are when I go into a review. I want to be as unbiased as possible. But sometimes the botanicals are on the bottle; sometimes I get sent a bottle with lots of descriptions and backstory; sometimes I know the website. But with Carnaby’s? There is no brand-specific website, no other reviews and no list of botanicals on the bottle. What searching I did do, I was only able to turn up a few small mentions of this gin:

Young’s Wine and Spirits describes Canarby as such: “A very good inexpensive domestic gin. A worthy choice when on a tight budget.”

And that’s it. Seriously.

Carnaby's London Dry Label

Second Impressions
After the initial smelling, I was prepared to be pleasantly surprised. So I poured myself a glass and began to taste it.

It tastes rather weak bodied. Almost Watery in quality. It tastes of juniper has a faint spicy heat, probably not spicy enough to be the classic “burning pine” sensation. It quickly dissipates though quickly taking on a flat almost metallic quality, which lingers in the back of the throat long after the initial sip. It stays with you, but not necessarily in the way that a good gin does. It lingers in the back of your throat.

Made in my Backyard
Well Carnaby’s origin is one of those  producers which makes a great deal of brands. They mostly have a stronghold in the New York City area, and are the same company that makes the relatively ubiquitous (in New York City) Georgi vodka. Star Industries makes several varieties of inexpensive domestic gin. I haven’t tried their other varieties, so I can’t say for certain if there’s much of a difference between the varietals listed here.

Their plant is located in Syosset, New York, and they originally began business in Sunnyside, Queens. (Queens represent!)

Best consumed: Passable in a “gin and juice” sort of drink. The kind of drink where you won’t taste the gin much anyway. 
Availability: All over New York City.
Rating: There’s a time and place of cheap gin, and I can’t begrudge someone for buying the cheapest gin to get the job done. But I’m hard pressed to really find anything that stands out. Its inoffensive enough to do the job, but there’s plenty more better options.

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Readers' Reviews

Last updated January 5th, 2012 by Aaron

2 thoughts on “Carnaby’s Gin

  • January 6, 2012by Josh Miller

    Nice write-up! Reminds me of my experience with Pinnacle gin, which is a bit more expensive. I think gin is probably the best value in the entire spirit world considering you can get a quality London Dry Gin for $13/750mL. Aloha

  • January 8, 2012by AaronPost author

    I do agree. I think its rather remarkable that gin is a liquor for which the classic style has become associated with “cheapness.” I can’t think of any other liquor for which the biggest names, oldest distilleries and the most known brands are selling their product at a comparable price point to Seagram’s.

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