City of London Old Tom Gin is a lightly sweetened Old Tom style gin. Bottled at 43% ABV, it features a very traditional list of botanicals. Each batch though is small and tightly controlled— produced a scant 200 bottles at a time.
It seems fitting that City of London Distillery would produced an old style of gin. When they opened their doors in 2012 they were the first distillery within the city limits in very nearly two centuries.
Nose: Beautiful green juniper leaps forward. Slight spice accompanies it, with hints of coriander and a touch of bitter orange.
Flavor: Juniper is dominant with green and pine facets. Moderately intense palate. Citrus is there early but blossoms mid-palate. Orange, lemon and angelica blossom into pine and coriander notes late. Quintessentially classic with a lot of classic gin notes shining forth.
Pleasant, slightly luscious mouthfeel; however, City of London old Tom Gin is quite dry. The sweetening is extraordinarily subtle.
Finish: Juniper again leads, but hints of warm spice lend it some depth. Moderately long, it’s quite beautiful.
If you’re looking for City of London Old Tom to add sweetness in cocktails, you may be disappointed. the flavors come through; however, the sweetness is so scant and so subtle— the spirit’s dryness shines.
That being said the smoothness from the cant sweetening lends itself beautifully to a Martini. Almost any cocktail in that family from the Arsenic and Old Lace to the Alaska work well.
I also enjoy it in a Gin and Tonic or Gin and Seltzer.
Despite being marketed as an Old Tom, bartenders shouldn’t be afraid of using City of London Old Tom in everyday cocktail applications. It’s flexible and juniper-forward star.
Overall, City of London Old Tom
The category of Old Tom is fascinating. It’s pregnant with expectations. The category itself is open to a diversity of expressions.
As a modern style Old Tom that emphasizes subtlety, City of London Old Tom is stellar. However, overall based on expectations for the category, it reads to me more as an excellent classic style gin (tasted blind, without reading the bottle) than an Old Tom.
I won’t hold name confusion against it. This is a beautiful classic style gin that I think would find a welcome place in the home of any gin fan.