James Young, owner and distiller for his eponymous Old Young’s Hand Crafted Spirits, makes his spirits in an under 400 square foot shed just north of Perth, Australia. We’ve also tried his barrel aged gin and Six Seasons Gin.
Common Gin is far from common.
The gin is bottled at above Navy Strength and features only one botanical— Tuscany sourced juniper.
Young told the Sydney Morning Herald that “We have quadruped the amount of juniper from our other gins.” describing it as a gin for category “purists”. [source, full article]
Old Young’s Common Gin has a bright, singing juniper forward nose. Piney and green, it’s perfectly balanced for a one-botanical gin. It’s fuller than you might expect, with not just the pinene coming through, it’s got some of that sabinene and limonene†. Hints of earthiness and citrus come through from just the Tuscan juniper.
On the palate, the juniper is loud enough to be tasted just over the roaring heat of the base spirit. Common Gin is intense in that regard. It also has a nice texture on the palate with a bit of apparent viscosity, which causes the heat to stick around a bit longer.
Once slightly diluted, Common Gin has a pleasant juniper note early. It then devolves somewhat into it’s constituent parts. A citrusy lemon peak mid-palate, then crushed juniper berry and a bitter, pepperiness suggestive of cubeb and gentian.
Given the high proof of Common Gin, both the astringency and dryness on the finish are well and pronounced.
The high ABV and classic flavor profile of Common Gin makes it bartender’s best friend behind the bar. It brings a great junipery roar to a Tom Collins. But more so, it’s the kind of gin that gets juniper at the front of the palate for things like the Clover Club Cocktail and Monkey Gland.
The gin dilutes well in cocktails, while maintaining it’s juniper character Although it might be a tad price for a bartender to make it their house pour (for example), but its versatility as a cocktail gin is commendable.
My only suggestion is that unless you’re going for what-is-sometimes-called the Reverse Martini of 3 parts Vermouth to 1 of gin, that you might look elsewhere. It’s a bit intense even when stirred in a Martini, Gibson, or Alaska.
If you blindfolded a gin expert, handed her this gin, and asked her “what country is this from?” You’d be apt to hear the U.K.
There’s no signature Australian botanicals nor continent signature eucalyptus. It’s a really good classic style Navy Strength Gin that any fan of classic prototypical gins should want to invite Common Gin into their life.
† For those you who want to learn more about the chemistry of juniper aroma, I wrote a piece for Artisan Spirit Magazine in 2016 I suggest you check out.