Before there was Bombay Sapphire East (and actually around the same time as Tanqueray Malacca), another big name in gin was experimenting with Asian botanicals to expand the category. It adds lemongrass and ginger to the usual Gordon’s formula.
Launched in 2004, Gordon’s Distillers Cut would have been on the vanguard of the contemporary gin revolution; however, tastes hadn’t quite caught up. It was discontinued unceremoniously due to poor sales in 2009, and now bottles can be found on the collector’s market for upwards of a $100.
Some classic Gordon’s character on the nose: angelica, green juniper, and spiced ginger loaf, with perhaps a lemongrass icing. Interesting with a bit of Gordon’s and a bit of unexpected.
Smooth entry on the palate, with an oddly stunted juniper peak mid-palate. Lemongrass stalk, lemon and a touch of orange, but it’s the spice towards the finish where the ginger seems to shine most boldly. The ginger hovers somewhere between the muted spice of pickled ginger and the focused piquancy of dried juniper.
The finish is cool and gently warming, with a lot of classic gin character and juniper buoyed astringency softening the fading echoes of ginger.
It’s a bit too heavy with some of the additional botanicals. They don’t quite support the traditional botanical bill as much as they overpower it in moments. That being said, it’s delicious with Tonic and it works well as a mixing gin, adding cool notes of ginger, juniper and lemongrass to any cocktail you make. I think the lack of subtlety might have been what ultimately doomed it to the cabinet of historical curiosities, however, I think if it launched today this would undoubtedly win over fans. But likely not those same fans which strongly adhere to the Gordon’s name and the classicism it represents. I’d recommend this as a good gateway gin for those on the fence about the style if this were widely available today, but at the price point for a historical bottle of gin, it’s hard to suggest anyone other than a collector seek out this relic from the moment where Gordon’s saw the future.
A fascinating but ultimately unbalanced curiosity from Gordon’s past. The ginger is overpowering and the lemongrass is bold, and neither seems interested in mingling with the traditional botanical bill. But with a bit more balance, this could have been something special. I solely recommend this to collectors and gin historians, even though that Gin and Tonic is really quite good.