Another gin, another day. This time it is Tanqueray 10 Gin.
I am going to do this post in reverse order, with tasting notes first and the detail later. The reason for this being that I tasted this gin before reading anything about it, so came at it without any preconception.
I was quite excited when bringing this bottle home. Tanqueray 10 comes in a tall, slim, green, octagonal bottle with the label taking the appearance of a wax seal and ribbon. The bottle shape reminds me of a slightly less baroque version of the St Germain bottle, just with less pronounced scoops beneath the shoulder. The whole package exudes elegance and quality. The only thing that would top it off nicely would be to replace the slightly naff metallic plastic lid with something made of actual metal.
The smell was nothing special; not overloaded with juniper or any surprising subtlety. It was gin in that there bottle.
Sampling Tanqueray 10 neat was a little bit of a let-down. It is fairly smooth and is certainly a gin, but there was little to stand it above many others I have tried. Not a big hitter in the juniper department, it definitely has subtlties, but they are, by definition, very subtle; there is little that stands out or makes it unique.
The addition of water didn’t liberate much extra in the flavour department either.
However, for all its lack-lustre qualities when flying solo, the Tanqueray 10 absolutely came alive with tonic water.
As is becoming standard, I used Fever-Tree premium tonic water; the aroma driven off by the effervescence was distinctly gin but with fresh, bright undertones and some unidentified complexity. This was only magnified in the tasting which presents a perfectly balanced, yet not over-riding, mixture of juniper and citrus freshness with an underlying sweetness. The bright, crisp, initial taste was then followed up with a tail of tantalising familiarity; it was slightly pungent, floral and resinous – it reminded me of my essential oils box, but I couldn’t place it. I pondered for some time over three glasses of G&T but still couldn’t place that taste. In my ponderings, I kept coming back to frankincense but it was only ever a vague feeling rather than a confident identification.
There was only one way to solve the mystery (well, actually two, I could look up its botanicals, but where was the fun in that?) and that was to break out the essential oils. After a little while of removing those little caps and sniffing, I had came across the source of the unidentified taste – chamomile.
This exercise also highlighted that I could probably make my own gin from infusing various oils in a good vodka, but that is an experiment for another day.
Probing into the details of Tanqueray 10 on the internet, the Chamomile was confirmed as the stray taste. I wouldn’t have thought chamomile would have been at all pleasant in gin, but Tanqueray make it work extremely well. I have come across cocktail recipes that call for an infusion of chamomile tea or chamomile syrup, but I have always dismissed them as being a little too strange; but who knows now? All bets are off. In a G&T, the Tanqueray 10 makes an intriguing and delightful drink.
Anyway, on to the detail…
Tanqueray 10 is a quadruple distilled gin (note “distilled gin” not “London gin”) that uses hand-picked, whole-fruit, fresh botanicals from all over the globe. these include…
Tanqueray is, as usual, very cagey with its botanical list and detail is in short supply.
No Ten is created in a small pot-still, called “tiny ten” and is overseen by Tanqueray’s Master Distiller, Tom Nicol. The bottle claims that No Ten makes a fine martini; while no expert on martinis, mixing one up made a very pleasing drink and while it was head and shoulders above my previous attempts at a martini, this could be down to me getting the gin/vermouth ratio right for once.
In conclusion, Tanqueray 10 makes a beautiful G&T and ranks up there with my all time greats. It stands tall and proud next to Whitley Neill and will likely be a common sight in my drinks cabinet; one to reach for when I am looking for a USP gin.