Saturday, June 22, 2024

Review: Ransom Old Tom Gin

September 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Bottle Reviews

First thing of note is the amber color. This is a very different gin from what most of us are used to, adapted from U.S. recipes back in the 1880s. Not likely to be a clean substitute for your London Dry, but quite worthy on its own.

Nose: As for the nose, there’s some sharp alcohol, but with moderate herbal and slight spice notes and a little earthiness and maltiness. Most of the nose is orange and lemon, with some tarragon in the mix.

Taste: First thought upon tasting: “that’s really weird.” Bitter citrus, with juniper, and coriander, but in a nice balance. This is very interesting stuff. There is a lingering maltiness to the taste. I can taste that this gin is made from barley, of all things.

Finish: If it wasn’t for the botanicals, this could taste like a somewhat warm-on-the-throat whiskey. The flavor does get overpowered later on with an almost camphor-like mouth feel, but the malty citrus-cardamom flavors are maintained.

Notes: Ingredients are listed as: Malted two-row barley, corn, juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamom pods and angelica root. That makes an interesting beverage, but with the odd grain choices, it feels like it’s in some weird netherworld between whiskey, beer and gin. It’s natural that an old gin would have been distilled from excess brewing capacity and/or excess grain of whatever type was available, and I can see why in the 1800s this was an attractive thing to do and I can see why it’s an attractive thing to do once again. It’s just a whole different level of flavor that you don’t get from what most people think of as gin, and feedback from bars and individuals could be interesting because of this fact.

To wrap up, I’d say you probably don’t want to make a martini out of this because it will look more like a Manhattan and you’ll just confuse your guests. But it would make a lovely Last Word or Corpse Reviver #2, or most gin-forward cocktails from before Prohibition, and likely a few others, too.

Old Tom Gin, (Ransom Spirits, Sheridan, Oregon) 86 proof, $34.90

(Sample provided by Mr. Boozenik’s wallet)

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