This review is for the 55% ABV version of Old Raj Dry Gin. It begins with a classic set of botanicals among which are juniper, citrus, coriander, cassia, and other classics. But what really sets it apart is is slight golden tint, which is a result of the post-distillation addition of saffron.
Saffron Gins are not altogether unusual. Gabriel Boudier, Indian Summer— but while some lack balance, I find that Old Raj Dry Gin manages to incorporate the saffron with subtlety and does come out nicely integrated.
First thing I noticed is that it tasted perceptibly stronger. At 110 proof Old Raj Dry Gin is truly a bartender’s gin, capable of retaining character in nearly any cocktail. It has a nice warmth to it, with the orange surprisingly dominant. The juniper stands out in the gin’s scent and holds up well upon tasting. The saffron is sweet, earthy and subtle. I think it’s a good compliment to the orris root and almond. In other words, its a background player, that doesn’t do more than it needs to.
Straight, in a strong martini, or paired with a more bitter tonic such as Q, the saffron is there and part of what is a very nice blend of traditional gin ingredients. Sadly, mix it with anything more poignant and the saffron is gone.
This is not to say that Old Raj Dry Gin doesn’t hold up as a fine gin in these cocktails (it most definitely does), but the point of difference isn’t necessarily there when compared to other top-notch, high-proof gins such as Plymouth.
Overall, Old Raj Dry Gin
Overall, I really enjoyed Old Raj 55%. For some the muted-Saffron may not be enough to justify the price; however, I would encourage those to give it a fair shot. I think it does the Saffron exceptionally well without compromising what a gin should be. I think the only question I have from here, is just how does the 55% compare to the 46%. I guess for now I leave that to my respected gin-drinking colleagues.
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I hope FoodiePilgrim isn't storing his Old Raj in a lead crystal decanter.