plymouth-english-ginI have covered American Dry and London Dry styles of gin at length. I’ve talked about Genever. So that really leaves Old Tom and Plymouth as the two types I haven’t covered. Today, we’re going to fill in one of these glaring omissions: Plymouth Gin.

Plymouth Gin is a combination terroir/trademark. Only one maker is permitted to use the term “Plymouth Gin” and that is the distillery Plymouth, Coates and Co. which is located on the port of Plymouth on the English Channel. Plymouth gin is one of those odd examples where the brand and the style are one and the same. So this review will talk about Plymouth, but also more generally the style.

The flavors are not out of the ordinary for gin. There’s a strong citrus element and a strong juniper element. The flavor is smooth, but astringent. It has a bit of an oily lingering, but very pleasant mouth feel. It makes for a superb martini (in fact is the gin style that Winston Churchhill preferred for his famous no-vermouth martini) and a stunning gin and tonic. The smooth citrus and predominating juniper makes it a perfect example of what a gin and tonic in its platonic ideal should be. Whereas many non-traditional gins don’t pair well with lime- Plymouth and Limes were meant to be in drinks together. In fact, as  it is almost a classical example of gin it excels in almost any cocktail across the spectrum.

Compared to American Dry?
I think that Plymouth has a direct comparison across the pond. Bluecoat Gin, which is considered an American Dry style also exhibits a similar orange/citrus and juniper profile. This is a perfect place to compare the difference between the two styles. Whereas, Plymouth feels smoother and cleaner and exhibits a strong juniper finish to compliment the citrus, Bluecoat goes for depth and and a different kind of complexity. Bluecoat feels less sharp and more citrus. Though Plymouth starts out citrus, it comes back home. Which means in some cocktails there’s a bit of dissonance which begins to resolve itself in classic style; Bluecoat embraces its points of difference and doesn’t quite resolve on that juniper note. While both are stunning and worth gins, Plymouth feels classical and shares more in common with London Dry than it does American Dry.

On Drinking Plymouth
This is a gin that for one reason or another I overlooked for a long time. It is smooth, it is versatile, and above all its a gin which compliments everything that a  gin is supposed to compliment. I’ve found it to be a gin which I come back to time and time again and think it is a worthy and flexible addition to my gin cabinet.

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Suggestions: how's the aroma? How about the mouthfeel? What would you recommend having this gin in?


Readers' Reviews

by Mike G.

Widely acknowledged as the best gin in the world, bar none. It's exactly what gin should be, hovering somewhere citrus and juniper on the gin scale, but eschewing the floral excesses of, say, Hendricks. It is sharp, clean and to the point. It will raise the standards of any gin-based cocktail, but try it in a Hanky Panky, a shamefully forgotten concoction devised by the first ever female barmaid at London's Savoy Hotel, circa 1920.

Last updated July 10th, 2011 by Aaron

18 thoughts on “Plymouth

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  • December 10, 2013by Petulant Frenzy

    The more time I spend with this creation out of Plymouth, the better I get to know the depth of its personality. It has all the foundations of a classic English gin, yet as Aaron writes, it starts out citrus, albeit a complex one, then sheds a few complex perfumey layers and finally comes back home to juniper. That time, between the first recognizable citrus note, and the final juniper heat is a great experience. It is backsweetened to extend the dimensions on the palate. Drink this gin neat and at room temp if you are going to drink a gin neat and at room temp. The new package design is outstanding. Enjoy a few good sips with the bottle in hand and the experience is elevated.

  • December 13, 2013by Ben D

    I love Plymouth. That being said, in my area it’s almost twice the price of Broker’s or Beefeater. When I get a bottle of Plymouth, I tend to make that sucker last as long as possible. Great in a Martini (3:1) or a gin and tonic.

  • June 3, 2014by Doc

    Plymouth i.m.h.o. represents the tradition of the world of gin. absolutely a must-have in my personal bottles. I personally like to consume it in a “pink gin tonic” prepared by mixing gin with ice and a few drops of Angostura and completed with tonic (Schweppes Heritage or f.t. will perfectly work) : Practically perfect.

  • June 10, 2014by Charles

    Couldn’t agree more about Plymouth – the best widely available gin in the world. Where I live, it’s comparable in price to Hendrick’s, which I also enjoy, but the Scottish gin is too distinctive for regular drinking – it’s an occasional gin. It’s the super-clean astringency of Plymouth that makes it the quintessential gin – it purifies the palate every time.

  • August 9, 2014by Daniel

    I have finally tried Plymouth, and while it is indeed an excellent gin, I must take issue with the predominance of juniper. I find the juniper somewhat muted compared to the London drys such as Beefeater. It certainly is smoother and more “well knit” than most American gins, although the comparison with Bluecoat is undeniable. It makes one hell of a martini, 4:1 with Noilly Pratt and lime, which helps to brighten it.
    I’ve recently been drinking Martin Miller’s, Beefeater, and Greenhook. Love Greenhook w a bit of vermouth to tame it’s hot finish. Can’t wait to try these with Channing Daughter’s Winery vermouths.

  • August 21, 2014by Evangelos Grambas

    I would never have picked out that slightly oily after-taste had you not pointed it out. Not saying that that is all I learned from your review, just the most interesting one for me. I really love this gin.

  • September 3, 2014by Lauritz Todd

    Thank you for your review. I have enjoyed Plymouth Gin and started adding it to my cabinet after reading a few Travis McGee novels that were written by John D. MacDonald. He (Travis) was frequently on the deck of his Busted Flush house boat pondering life with his good friend Meyer. With that said, I find the juniper and citrus very subtle and normally drink it with a light squeeze of lime and in those cases of extreme summer a splash of tonic (need to try with a drop of bitters as Doc suggested.) I need to think about the “slight oily” aftertaste since it has not been pronounced and will need to compare to my other gins.

  • September 8, 2014by Charles

    How good to find Travis McGee’s name here and in the company of his favorite spirit. Plymouth really is the gold standard of true gins (as opposed to all those new, floral concoctions). Has anyone tried Langley’s No. 8? Launched last year in the U.K., newly available here and the subject of a nice little piece in last weekend’s Wall St. Journal (Sept. 5).

  • February 15, 2015by John

    Have to agree. Plymouth is a top ten gin. Maybe not a 5 star but close. Smooth and it really exemplifies what gin should be.

  • February 16, 2015by AaronPost author

    Thanks for all of your comments- sorry it took me so long to clear them all. Really appreciate you sharing your thoughts- I hear you on the other ones. I might have been a little forgiving on G’vine while I was rather harsh on Nolet’s, though I think G’vine is definitely more “gin-like” for my taste. I could do many gin-like things with it, but very few with Nolet. I enjoy Brandon’s, but I can hear where it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. And of course Plymouth, good stuff.

    Keep enjoying the good stuff,

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  • July 20, 2015by Seaskidawg

    Plymouth gin also figures predominantly in Len Deighton’s cold war masterpiece Bernard Samson series (abbrev., Game, Set, Match; Hook, Line, Sinker; Faith, Hope, Charity). The SIS resident in Berlin, Frank Harrington, favors Plymouth Gin with bitters. He drinks them at his favorite Berlin hotel run by an indefatigable (and, perhaps, unrepentant Nazi) Lisl Hennig.

  • July 23, 2015by Christopher

    Been drinking Plymouth gin since college 40 years ago. Read all the Travis McGee novels growing up and couldn’t wait to try it. Been drinking it ever since. Tastes change, and the McGee novels don’t hold up so well for me now, but the gin is still wonderful.

  • August 30, 2015by Stefanos Michalis

    Hello Aaron I just discovered your site and I like it very much, you do very nice reviews. My favorite drink is Gin and Tonic. My favorite gin (till now) is Beefeater and Beefeater 24, and I use schweppes tonic. I am curious as to why you have not reviewed these 2 gins yet. Are you planning to review these 2 in the future? Also I would really like to try some new gins (for G&T, and maybe neat) in the coming months. I read your reviews and I will sure try Broker’s , Martin Miller’s and Plymooth gin. Any reccomendation as to which should I try first? Last, could you suggest to me a widely available tonic that is a little sweeter than schweppes and maybe better quality?

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  • March 3, 2016by RV LITTLE


  • January 11, 2017by Steve Pearson

    I‘m a Naval officer and have been a gin diner for 50 years. Quite frankly, there is no other gin.

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