Fleischmann’s claims their gin to be the oldest continuously produced (save prohibition) gin from the United States. This vintage bottle of Fleischmann’s Distilled Dry Gin appears to date to the later half of the 1970s and was distilled and bottled by the Flesichmann Distilling Company in Clinton, Iowa,
(If you’re looking for the gin produced today under the Fleischmann’s Extra Dry Gin title, here’s our review)
At first pour, there’s metallic and plastic off notes, along with some juniper and coriander.
As with many vintage gins, it’s worth aerating the spirit and letting it breathe after so long in the bottle. I find the tasting vintage gins at several intervals can help let those aromatics, which have been trapped for nearly four decades, to begin to re-emerge.
I’m finding as it begins to breathe, though the metal notes remain, you can pick up a little bit more depth. Fleischmann’s Distilled Dry Gin has some notes of hay and grain along with those doctor’s office notes. I’m pretty certain that this sample may not be drinkable.
On the palate, it tastes of rubbing alcohol, tires and white vinegar. There’s a little bit of juniper as well, but it’s more turpentine than it is bright juniper that we’re accustomed to.
With the emergence of “vintage spirits” markets during the past five years and with old bottles fetching higher and higher prices all of the time, I’ve been asked by readers, “what do I think about vintage gins,” and more importantly, “how do they taste?”
Unfortunately, as with this sample— and I certainly don’t blame Fleischmann’s Distillery for this— it didn’t keep well. Buy carefully. Know your seller. Know the way the spirits were stored. Was it in a cupboard? A musty box? Did it sit in the sun on a decorative shelf for forty years?
Age often doesn’t improve spirits once they’re in the bottle. If you’re buying vintage spirits with the hope of getting something drinkable, be advised— there’s few sure things out there. Shop carefully vintage spirits collectors.