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.
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.
Negroni: Exquisite, 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.
Aviation: Perhaps 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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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.