Starting in 2016, the Citadelle Gin product line was expanded to include special, limited edition and one-off spirits that riff on the Citadelle Gin formula. These Citadelle Extremes are “…experimentation, pushed to the extreme… [Alexander Gabriel] interprets Citadelle in “extreme” versions, forgotten or never seen, exploring the fascinating facets offered by gin.” [source] No Mistake Old Tom Gin was the first gin in this product line.
No Mistake Old Tom Gin is sweetened with toasted, aged brown sugar. The sugar is first aged in former spirit barrels. It is then added to Citadelle’s Reserve gin at which point the sweetened aged gin is aged a further four months in casks. The three separate aging steps in the creation of No Mistake Old Tom Gin make it unusual from a process standpoint, but also means it ranks in the upper 10% of aging time among aged gins.
This gin is amber in hue with a golden clarity to it. No Mistake Old Tom Gin has spice and wood to the nose of it— cedar and oak board, with a fair amount of pepperiness. Cubeb stands out of on the nose, with hints of stewed raisins, oranges and lemons, then coriander seed and dry toasted cassia. There’s something suggestive here of the vegetables and fruit portion of roasted Chicken Provençal.
Sipped, No Mistake Old Tom Gin is moderately sweet with brown sugar and black walnut— early-to-mid-palate pine and juniper show though.
Toasted spice and honey notes dominate the back palate. Hints of pumpkin pie spice and cassia bark segue into a moderately-long finish that is highly influenced by wood, lending a rather dry finish.
No Mistake Old Tom Gin is an extremely bold Old Tom style gin. It has both an aggressive sweetness and an aggressive aged quality. Citadelle’s Old Tom isn’t a quiet mixing gin. It has a perspective that will take over mixed drinks. Mix up a Tom Collins for a delicious history lesson that tastes nothing like the dry version. It’s sweet and almost rum like.
A lot of traditional Old Tom Gin cocktails from about the turn of the 20th century tended to pair with stronger complimentary cocktail ingredients. Some of these cocktails like the vermouth heavy Astoria Cocktail read simply as a reverse-Martini in the modern day with the aromatic Vermouth overpowering everything an off-the-shelf dry gin. But with an Old Tom like this one, the sweetness and bold aromatic profile adds a caramelized complexity and counterpoint. Make it with a fresh Vermouth and you’ll see why this used to be a popular drink.
The Martinez works but ultimately isn’t as successful. The extra sweetness from the sweet vermouth and the maraschino almost push it into cloying territory. As I said— No Mistake Old Tom Gin is just a bit sweeter perceptibly on the palate than other Old Tom’s which affects its performance.
Overall, No Mistake Old Tom Gin
No Mistake Old Tom Gin is certainly not a mistake. It’s a nicely made Old Tom gin with a bold perspective that is a fun addition to your behind-the-bar arsenal. It’s quaffable on its own— neat or on the rocks— with a complex aroma and flavor profile that although admittedly light on the juniper, it’s clear that Maison Ferrand considered every detail in the design of this gin.
As a style, the Old Tom is the Wild West. And just like the Wild West, what we remember best are the things that capture our imagination. No Mistake Old Tom does just that. It comes with only a small caveat that bartenders might be wise to consider this product’s profile before just swapping it in with a classic Old Tom Gin cocktail.
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