The much maligned Gordon’s gin is ubiquitous in bars across the world. The odds are, if you ask for gin in a pub, then you will get Gordon’s. Many view it as the bottom of the pile where gin is concerned, and even the more generous gin-drinker will label it bottom of the palatable pile, rising above only the supermarkets’-own and other budget brands.
However, can something as widespread and successful really be that bad? It is a London Dry Gin afterall – the top tier of legal gin classifications. Well, today I had the opportunity to find out; I was in Lidl buying an ultrasonic rangefinder (don’t ask) and I noticed Gordon’s gin on special for £10, so I jumped at the chance.
100 million bottles of Gordon’s gin are produced each year and it is sold in 150 countries across the globe. Gordon’s is also the only gin brand with the right to bear Royal Coat of Arms by Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
Gordon’s gin is triple-distilled and its botanicals include juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root. There is one other botanical which is kept under wraps; it, along with the recipe, is reputed to be known to only eleven people in the world.
Upon opening, it smelled like gin. No surprises there, but there was little remarkable about it and the scent of juniper was not huge.
Drank neat, Gordon’s isn’t the smoothest gin and it is quite simple; there are no stand-out citrus, floral or spicy notes and the juniper hit is middling, but it is not unpleasant. It is a similar experience with tonic water; there is nothing that really characterises it as anything more than generic G&T; unremarkable but not unpleasant.
While I am somewhat disappointed, I am not sure this is necessarily a bad thing. Genericy is a trait that will serve Gordon’s well in its niche of the house-gin of choice in most pubs. It will not blow anyone away, but it will satisfy the G&T requirement of the masses, including mine at a push; it is nothing special but it is acceptable.