Tanqueray Malacca

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Sometimes I get so caught in this craft thing that I miss – well not quite miss- but fall behind on reviewing the gin that is the Zeitgeist. The gin de la moment. Tanqueray Malacca was hot news in late 2012-early 2013. Tanqueray brought back from the dead a gin which sold like ice to Eskimos a decade back. But I suppose now, as a gin drinking public, we’re more open minded to the idea that a gin- even a gin from a big name like Tanqueray- can lead with notes other than juniper.

And Tanqueray Malacca was so popular in its first Lazarus moment— that it was brought back again in 2018. But this time with a new bottle.

Tasting Notes

Citrus on the nose at first. This certainly can’t be from Tanqueray, can it? Definitely doesn’t echo any of the other trademarks of the Tanqueray brand. Not a lot of juniper. Zesty, citrusy and bright. Lime and grapefruit predominantly.

The taste of Tanqueray Malacca is robust and smooth. Citrus up front again, a tad bit of acidic tang. Lemon, and Grapefruit. The middle we get some baking spices, Cinnamon in the middle. The finish is perhaps the shining moment for this gin, you get a tad bit of juniper and a long creamy finish with notes of creme anglaise, specifically warm creamy vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

Interestingly enough, these warm notes are more pronounced when the spirit is drank neat and room temperature. When chilled, the citrus becomes a bit more pronounced.


Gin and Tonic:  bright, lots of vanilla and creamy citrus, downplayed juniper for sure. I like the creamy finish. Although the strength isn’t as strong as traditional Tanqueray, the flavors maintain their intensity even with tonic. Delicious mixed drink, highly recommended.

Martini: I think some of the spirits’ most interesting notes come out when warm. So a bit more citrus forward, zesty and a bit acidic. Perhaps a tad too citrusy. I didn’t find the Vermouth to really counter it enough. An okay drink, not among my favorites.

NegroniExquisite, the notes come through brightly and play really nice with. A sweetness that elegantly counters the bitterness. Buttery, rich, and with a lot of sweetness. Really enjoyed this cocktail.

AviationPerhaps what this was explicitly built for. Rich vanilla and violet, swirling citrus and merengue with a touch of bright juniper. Very nice.

Martinez: Nice, but I found it lacking in the rich earthy base notes, and slight tangy sweetness that more Old Tom style gins bring to it. Again, can’t shake that intimation of creaminess here, a slight cherries and cream note in the background.

Tom Collins: Lemon merengue pie. Not much juniper in here. I’d cut back on the simple syrup a bit, the Tanqueray Malacca brings enough of its own, and it could be easy to make this too sweet. Very good.

Overall, Tanqueray Malacca

Although it’s sweet, it’s not quite an Old Tom. It’s a great gateway gin, and a really exciting contemporary style gin from a brand you might not expect it from. Makes a lot of really interesting cocktails and I for one am sad this is a limited availability gin because Tanqueray could really probably win over a lot of Hendrick’s drinkers and other fans of less-juniper forward gins if this became a staple of their every-liquor-store-in-the-world lineup.

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9 thoughts on “Tanqueray Malacca”

  1. I don’t know why the recipe had to change. I could sip a Malacca martini from the 2012-2013 limited release and fully enjoy the soft hints of citrus. I find the 2018 release to be harsh and too much like so many other, cheaper London gins.

  2. This is a great gin (2018 release) in the right cocktail. It is quite peppery, and therefore was not my favorite in a Negroni. In a Gordon’s cup though, this stuff was perfect!

  3. I _just_ picked up a bottle of this today. Spot on with your review. I used it in both an Aviation and a Corpse Reviver #2. I think it handled both quite nicely. However, I would like a more juniper-forward gin in the next Corpse Reviver I make (it was my first time making one).

    Off topic: Thanks for the relatively recent release of your book. It was a wonderful crash course in gin making and the history thereof.

  4. I’m new to the Gin and I have been exploring so many small batches and found very lousy product until I got this Malacca that according to my palate it has hit a great product… Not sure how it was in 2013… But this one defeat many out there. The Citrus part is quick send you to a mix of black pepper… Cinnamon… Nutmeg and clove…with ending note of Juniper and vanilla….however the Juniper Flash back and forward along passing thru adding a Vanilla hint at the end.
    GT’s are great… I enjoy it so much with Diet Ginger Ale (with real Ginger) creating a refreshing drink and relaxing because the mix enhance some of the spices in the middle. Do not add Lemon or Lime because it can kill some of the initial notes.

  5. I remember Malacca from back in 2002-2004, and bought the last dozen bottles in 2004 from the local bottleshop when they for some unknown reason discontinued making it. Was on holiday in Spain and Italy a few months ago, and at the airport in Milan returning home when surprise, I suddenly saw it on the shelf along with the Rangpur and a few other interesting ones. Happy to see it is back and I picked up a few bottles, but seems like it is not back everywhere yet as it is not available locally. Makes for great Martini’s or G&T’s on a hot and sultry summer eve!

  6. I also bought a case in 2002, but put it aside due to multiple military moves. 11 bottles are still sitting at my parents’ place. One of these days I need to crack into that case and to a taste comparison!

  7. I remember buying Malacca all the way back in the 20th century–it was available at a small liquor store in Ft Collins, CO, but then mysteriously disappeared. Then I was sitting at a restaurant’s bar outside Denver waiting for my date to show up and had ordered my typical Bombay Sapphire Martini when the bartender asked if I’d ever had this new Gin they had just gotten in–Malacca. This was in 2013. I was able to get the owner to sell me a bottle. My girlfriend at the time (she’s now my wife) took notice and somehow has purchased a large number of bottles which she gives me at special occasions (birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Anniversary) so I have a martini with it on Saturdays to spread the enjoyment out!

  8. Discovered it on my birthday 30 years ago. Tomorrows my birthday and while I’m excited to hear Tanqueray is making it again it would hurt my feelings if they fail at reproducing it a second time. Simply nothing else like it. Sadly it vanished sometime around 2003. A decade ago maybe there it was again i thought but was left disappointed and forever distrustful. I thought it terrible. I would love to find a bottle of the old formula to cherish. Maybe Dave or anonymous from on here would like to meet and share a shot or two with an old man who didn’t realize it would be the last bottle of something so special that last time i bought it. You tell me when, where and tell me what I need to bring to contribute and ill be there!

  9. The best gin we have found for either gin and tonics/ martinis We live in Portland OR USA. Bought 5 bottles in 2018. When will the next release occur? Would love to get more.