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Revisiting the classic gins.

When I began my career behind the stick in 1980, gin drinkers were very loyal to their brand of choice, as well as how they preferred it mixed in a Martini. But the next generation of imbibers had discovered vodka and did not share their parents' love for gin; gin consumption today remains low compared to other spirits.

The category has been expanding, though--it seems like a new gin launches every week, which is wonderful. But some of the great classics continue to drive the group, so for this tasting we'll focus on the earlier gins.


47% ABV; distilled from juniper berries, Seville orange peel, coriander seed, orris root, bitter almond, Sicilian lemon peel, angelica seeds and root, licorice.

Aroma: Juniper forward, lemon and orange citrus notes, floral notes but no perfume scents. Spices like black pepper, coriander, anise, and licorice root.

Taste: Alcohol forward, with juniper, spice and light citrus.

Mouthfeel: Dry, intense at first, pleasant acidity.

Finish: Medium in length, with a friendly juniper reminder.

Bombay Original

43% ABV; distilled from almonds, lemon peel, licorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia bark. Aroma: Juniper forward, eucalyptus, pine needles, grassy, spices--pepper and cumin, grapefruit peel.

Taste: More aggressive flavors, big and bold, explodes with citrus and juniper.

Mouthfeel: Big flavor, round and full bodied, not as refined.

Finish: Medium in length, but much bigger flavor at first, very light warming sensation.

Bombay Sapphire

47% ABV; distilled from almonds, lemon, licorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia bark, cubeb berries, grains of paradise.

Aroma: Soft alcohol, muddled juniper aroma, floral and fruity at first, with hints of licorice.

Taste: Juniper jumps after first taste, reveling orange and lemon citrus notes and softer, more delicate flavors.

Mouthfeel: Burst of flavors, elegant, refined; great acidity. Finish: Medium to long in length, with a wonderful warm reminder throughout the chest.


45.2% ABV; distilled from juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, angelica seeds, cassia bark, caraway seeds, nutmeg, rosemary and sage.

Aroma: Rather light, with a hint of juniper and coriander spice; slight citrus notes giving way to herbal tones.

Taste: Rather sweet at the start, with cinnamon and cassia opening up to the coriander/black pepper spice notes and leading to the herbal tones of rosemary and sage.

Mouthfeel: Starts rather silky but dries out quickly.

Finish: Warm, medium in length with just the lingering memory of bitter almonds.


40% ABV; distilled from juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root and one other (secret) botanical.

Aroma: Pronounced juniper but not over the top, leading to a unique perfume feature, a touch of vanilla, bright floral notes with light alcohol.

Taste: Juniper, followed by sweetness, with light coriander spice and a nod of bitter almonds.

Mouthfeel: Silky at first, dries out nicely with a fair amount of acidity.

Finish: Rather short, but very smooth and pleasant.


41.2% ABV; distilled from angelica root, coriander, lemon peel, juniper berries, orris root, orange peel, cardamom. Aroma: Big citrus immediately, followed with pronounced juniper, coriander spice and pleasant floral notes.

Taste: A delightful mix of citrus, juniper and spice. Mouthfeel: Round, full bodied and just slightly oily.

Finish: pleasant, warm, long and lingering, with notes of fresh herbs and citrus.


47.3% ABV; distilled from juniper berries, coriander, orange and lemon peels, licorice, angelica root and cassia bark. Aroma: Pops of juniper instantly, pine, eucalyptus, lemon citrus, floral--lavender.

Taste: Big blast of juniper, lemon and orange citrus notes, with just a mingling of black licorice.

Mouthfeel: Viscous, silky, and leading to a bone dry finish with amazing acidity.

Finish: Long, long finish, warming in the chest, masculine intense flavors that linger endlessly. ?

Tony Abou-Ganim is the founder of Las Vegas-based cocktail consultancy The Modern Mixologist and the author of The Modern Mixologist--Contemporary Classic Cocktails and Vodka Distilled.
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Author:Abou-Ganim, Tony
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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