The Distillers Company began producing Gordon’s Gin in Union City, California in 1971. The plant, which was built in 1966 due to its proximity to rails, was home to many brands and distributed their products widely on the American West Coast.
The Fremont, California paper The Argus did a 1975 report on the Union City distillery. “In the berry room the aroma of juniper berries and coriander as well as other botanicals imported from throughout the world drift in the air.” Two copper pot stills styled in the fashion of the original Gordon’s Gin stills were imported from Scotland. “Juniper berries are mixed in the stills with neutral grain spirits pumped from a 250,000 gallon tank. The mixture is heated.” And then the magic happens…
It’s the inclusion of the Union City name which allows us to date the gin to after 1971. Based on the art, it seems that it came from somewhere during either the 70s or 80s.
But does this vintage Gordon’s Distilled London Dry Gin taste any different from the modern Gordon’s London Dry Gin?
Resinous, almost abrasive juniper on the nose. Still some juniper on the palate with some off citrus notes and acute notes of acetone and resinous pine branches and green juniper berries.
One thing seems clear to me. This bears nearly no resemblance to the modern Gordon’s London Dry Gin which I’m tasting side-by-side. Where is that sweet softness and the gentle kiss of the other botanicals?
Time has not been particularly kind to this sample. Let this perhaps be a caution to collectors of vintage gins. Be judicious in your sourcing, and be wary that improperly stored bottles may not be worth drinking.