Calvert Gin was a gin brand founded by the Calvert Distilling Company just outside Baltimore. The distillery opened just after prohibition made whiskeys and gin up until 1991 when then-brand-owner Seagram’s moved the historic brands from their longtime Maryland home. The brands were sold to the Jim Beam group.
The original products made under the Calvert name were “premium” spirits. When you see on the second-hand market vintage Calvert Gins from the 1970’s— they were certainly a different spirit than the plastic handles that Calvert is in today.
Today Calvert is made by the St. Louis based Luxco. Calvert Gin is distilled from 100% Neutral Grain Spirits and is labeled as a “London Dry Gin.”
Harsh ethanol on the nose. Notes of cubeb, coriander, faint echoes of pine.
The nose of Calvert Gin is harsh at first whiff. Lots of ethanol, with faint echoes of gin spices like cubeb and coriander. The juniper note is subtle and weak. Weak lemon vodka notes hover in the background. Calvert’s nose is disjointed and all over the place.
The palate is a bit more classic in profile. There’s a pine-forward note of juniper at the front of the palate, with fake orange/lemon notes— oddly sweet tasting.
Then the finish comes on with a touch of spice but a moderate, lasting warmth. Still rather harsh for 40% ABV, but there is still some lingering botanical character.
Calvert Gin is a mixing gin primarily. I’d suggest using it for big parties or the like where the quality of gin is of little consequence. Making more complex cocktails like a Martini where gin is the centerpiece will be rather disappointing and somewhat harsher than usual.
I don’t know what Calvert Gin tasted like when it was a brand of higher esteem. As of today though, Calvert is a below average mixing gin that is best when it’s thoroughly mixed.
While it is possible to do worse at this price point, there’s better options at only a couple dollars more. It’s hard to recommend Calvert Gin in such a crowded marketplace.
2 thoughts on “Calvert Gin”
Agreed, I just bought a 1.75 of this tonight and after a few sips (shaken in ice, poured into a martini glass with an olive, no bitters no vermouth) I dumped the contents of the glass and the remainder of the bottle down the sink. I can only assume I purchased an “off” bottle because I can’t imagine how anyone would deliberately make a gin that tastes as bad as this.
Wasn’t this gin once made by Seagram’s, and considered the best made in the U.S. – even better for a martini for many, than spicier English gin?
Can you give any history of this? I had heard it was created in Louisville or southern Indiana, for Seagram’s by taster William Curran who travelled through the West Indies in the late 1950s-early 60s to create this long thereafter admired gin.