Sometimes I get so caught in this craft thing that I miss – well not quite miss- but fall behind on reviewing the gin that is the Zeitgeist. The gin de la moment. Tanqueray Malacca was hot news in late 2012-early 2013. Tanqueray brought back from the dead a gin which sold like ice to Eskimos a decade back. But I suppose now, as a gin drinking public, we’re more open minded to the idea that a gin- even a gin from a big name like Tanqueray- can lead with notes other than juniper.
Citrus on the nose at first. This certainly can’t be from Tanqueray, can it? Definitely doesn’t echo any of the other trademarks of the Tanqueray brand. Not a lot of juniper. Zesty, citrusy and bright. Lime and grapefruit predominantly.
The taste is robust but smooth. Citrus up front again, a tad bit of acidic tang. Lemon, and Grapefruit. The middle we get some baking spices, Cinnamon in the middle. The finish is perhaps the shining moment for this gin, you get a tad bit of juniper and a long creamy finish with notes of creme anglaise, specifically warm creamy vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
Interestingly enough, these warm notes are more pronounced when the spirit is drank neat and room temperature. When chilled, the citrus becomes a bit more pronounced.
In Some Cocktails?
Considering that we can largely thank bartenders and their clamors for this spirits’ return for the existence of new Tanqueray Malacca today, we can only assume that this spirit must superbly. I know that some big names have likened it to “Old Tom” gin, at least they did in a time when Old Tom gin was non-existent [today, we’re fortunate to live in more bountiful times]. Let’s take a look at it both ways:
As if a regular gin….
Gin and Tonic: bright, lots of vanilla and creamy citrus, downplayed juniper for sure. I like the creamy finish. Although the strength isn’t as strong as traditional Tanqueray, the flavors maintain their intensity even with tonic. Delicious mixed drink, highly recommended.
Martini: I think some of the spirits’ most interesting notes come out when warm. So a bit more citrus forward, zesty and a bit acidic. Perhaps a tad too citrusy. I didn’t find the Vermouth to really counter it enough. An okay drink, not among my favorites.
Negroni: Exquisite, the notes come through brightly and play really nice with. A sweetness that elegantly counters the bitterness. Buttery, rich, and with a lot of sweetness. Really enjoyed this cocktail.
Aviation: Perhaps what this was explicitly built for. Rich vanilla and violet, swirling citrus and merengue with a touch of bright juniper. Very nice.
As if an Old Tom….
Martinez: Nice, but I found it lacking in the rich earthy base notes, and slight tangy sweetness that more Old Tom style gins bring to it. Again, can’t shake that intimation of creaminess here, a slight cherries and cream note in the background.
Tom Collins: Lemon merengue pie. Not much juniper in here. I’d cut back on the simple syrup a bit, the Tanqueray Malacca brings enough of its own, and it could be easy to make this too sweet. Very good.
ORIGIN: [flag code=”GB” size=”16″ text=”no”] United Kingdom
WHAT TO DRINK IT IN: Tom Collins, Gin and Tonic, Negroni, Aviation. Was pretty great in nearly everything I had it in.
AVAILABILITY: Worldwide, but temporily for a very short time. A limited run of 100K bottles is probably nearing its end even as you read this.
RATING: Although it’s sweet, it’s not quite an Old Tom. It’s a great gateway gin, and a really exciting contemporary style gin from a brand you might not expect it from. Makes a lot of really interesting cocktails and I for one am sad this is a limited availability gin because Tanqueray could really probably win over a lot of Hendrick’s drinkers and other fans of less-juniper forward gins if this became a staple of their every-liquor-store-in-the-world lineup.
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