Taaka sounds vaguely Russian. And perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise as the brand was originally introduced in the late 1950s as a bargain vodka. Later on Taaka Gin was introduced and it built upon the vodka’s grain base. Furthermore, it describes its botanical mixture as simply “imported.”
Taaka Gin is distilled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky and is part of the Sazerac portfolio.
Taaka Gin has a nose of primarily juniper— piney, with a subtle citrus hue. It’s rather mild but unmistakably gin.
The palate is again slightly mild. Quiet at first, subtle spice notes build. Cassia sticks with a hint of forest floor lend Taaka Gin a surprising earthiness. Juniper peaks mid-palate. It’s slightly sharp, peaking with powdered juniper berry.
But Taaka Gin finishes with a hint of lemon zest and a mild sour, bitterness. It has a long and rather warm finish, but never overpowering. It’s actually quite nice for a “bargain gin” as it resists the cliche of those hot, ethanol finishes. Perhaps it’s the rather modest 40% ABV speaking here, but Taaka Gin is better than I expected based on the bottle alone.
Taaka Gin is built for inexpensive mixing. Though its better than expected neat, that’s not how I would recommend consuming it. It makes a nice, piney Gin and Tonic. It similarly comes through with a juniper note in a Gin and Juice.
I find it a bit disappointing in a Martini; however, it’s merely because it pales in comparison to the wealth of gin that’s currently available today. But if you’re going to sip a Martini with a bargain priced gin, Taaka Gin compared favorably to some of my favorites at this price point including Booth’s and Faber’s.
Overall, Taaka Gin
Listen, Taaka Gin isn’t going to rival the quality of flavor you get from even a Gordon’s, Tanqueray or Bombay. But when you buy 1.75 liters of gin for somewhere in the range of twelve dollars— you’re probably not expecting that.
Among gins at the “ultra value” price point, Taaka Gin is far better than many of its peers. I won’t call them out here by name— but this is one of the few gins in its class that make an acceptable cocktail. If you need a jug of gin for your next party— this is the gin I would recommend.
Recommended at its price point.