Here we have a vintage Old Mr. Boston English Market Gin that seems to have been distilled between the late 1960’s at which point Old Mr. Boston had distilleries in Boston, Albany, Georgia and Lakeland, Florida. We know for sure that it was distilled before 1975, because thathet’s when Glenmore Distilleries Inc. (who bought the company in 1969) dropped the “Old” from the name. This is the decidedly uncool, dapper, Mr. Old Boston.
It’s distilled from 100% grain, and in fancy text it proclaims that it’s “Eighty Proof— just like in England.” The botanical blend is indeterminate, but in the 1940’s they used to advertise that it had “17!” exotic components*.
This is another vintage bottle. There’s only a few mL of evaporation evident, and the bottle is nearly completely full. It’s still intact and sealed with a twist off metal cap.
The Mr. Boston brand still endures today, largely on the strength of its eponymous line of cocktail books which are perhaps some of the most important collections of post-prohibition cocktails and mixology. But today, the brand is just that— a brand— and shares little other than the name with the Old Mr. Boston Distillers Inc. founded by H. C. Berkowitz and Irwin Benjamin in the waning days of prohibition. This vintage sample is intriguing because it was distilled under the auspices of the original Old Mr. Boston line and was either distilled before their 1969 acquisition or shortly before.
While the nose is a touch harsh in terms of strong notes of ethanol, there’s evident complexity in the aroma with both juniper and coriander notes coming through as well.
The palate is surprisingly creamy with a buttery texture, but the flavor is really quite intriguing. Plenty of juniper, with a piney and slightly waxy character; but tons of spice and backbone here. I’m getting hints of nutmeg, Neroli oil, coriander and even cardamom. The finish begins with a very traditional accord of juniper, angelica, and coriander and a long but quite pleasant finish. No heat at all, just a very long, very classic finish. It’s only a bit sad that there’s a bit of acetone and rubbing alcohol notes as the flavor retreats. Surprisingly though, I found there to be some moments that were actually quite nice.
Considering the general esteem that the “Mr. Boston” brand is not quite held in these days, it seems surprising to me that their gin is far better than anticipated. It has some quite nice notes to it, and while traditional, I find that it embraces spice and counterpoint more so than others peers of this era.
While I probably wouldn’t recommend it as heavily side-by-side with many modern gins, given its age, it’s not too bad. The off-notes would probably be enough for most to leave Old Mr. Boston English Market Gin at the wayside for your daily constitutional, it’s worth a closer look for gin historians and collectors.