What we have here is a small experiment in trying to categorize the types of gin on a chart which shows their relationship to one another. The top/bottom axis is the classic/contemporary distinction. The left and right tries to distill the ideas of “complexity” and “perceived spiciness” into a continuum.
It’s still a bit of a work in progress, but I welcome your feedback.
I think the relationships are pretty good. I tried to stick to a few classic points of reference that everyone knows, and then use gins that I’ve reviewed in the last two years: so gins which are still somewhat fresh in my mind, and gins for which I have extensive tasting notes as to accurately place them.
Click on the graphic to see the full-size version.
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Plymouth Gin was one of The Gin is In’s earliest 5 Star Gin Reviews. As part of the 50 States of Gin tasting, we had a Navy Strength Gin tasting where we compared some of the big names in the industry to some of the new offerings from U.S. microdistilleries.
Plymouth is the five hundred pound gorilla. One of the best gins out there with one of the most storied pasts, and this gin whose Navy Strength gin is perhaps most synonymous with the term Navy Strength Gin.
At 57%, its heated and intense. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
How does Plymouth’s Navy Strength Gin stand up to the lofty standards set by its forebearers?
Q. Aaron, does it taste significantly different than the regular Plymouth Gin?
A. The strength. No, rather, the lack of dilution. It emphasizes different notes. (drinks gin) Really, while the mainline gin you kind of feel this balance. (drinks gin) Here the citrus seems rather dominating. The juniper comes in on the finish.
Q. Does the 57% affects its drinkability?
A. As I’m drinking it right now. Neat. A little bit, honestly, I’d be hesitant to recommend it to someone neat.
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The Pink Gin is a deceiving cocktail in only one way: the name
The word “pink” doesn’t conjure up notions of strength and potency. But in this case, it should. For the uninitiated Pink Gin is a cocktail which dates back to the British Royal Navy. Similar the Gin & Tonic, where the quinine was designed to help stave off diseases, the Pink Gin also evolved for medicinal purposes. Angoustra Bitters supposedly alleviate seasickness, and to make the bitters more palatable to Navy conscripts, they added gin. Lots of it.
David T. Smith
"Generous Few" drops
A seemingly easy to make drink
The recipe is rather unwavering in terms of ingredients: Gin + Bitters. (It’s a very very dry Churchhill martini with a dash of bitters). But how many bitters? All bets are off. While Wikpedia lays claim that the original recipe is 1 part gin: 1 dash bitters, the definition of “part” seems up for grabs. From there, it seems that the only thing that everyone can agree on is that you probably need more than one drop of bitters.
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I 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.
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