Tanqueray is a London Dry Gin with a dry and crisp taste. Whilst the recipe is a fiercely guarded secret it is thought to contain as little as four botanicals. Bottled at 47.3% ABV it’s very dry and has strong juniper notes with a hint of spice.
Charles Tanqueray initially launched Tanqueray Gin in the 1830’s, establishing Edward & Charles Tanqueray & Co on Vine Street (Bloomsbury) in 1838. When Charles died in 1868 his son inherited the distillery and continued his pioneering work. Tanqueray gin was successful, soon becoming stocked in up-market grocers and exported to the British Colonies.
When prohibition began in the United States in 1920, allegedly Tanqueray & Sons continued to legally ship gin to islands just off the US coast in cases designed to float. Socialites would then obtain the gin via the black market and speakeasies. This arrangement operated until the great air raid of 1941, when the London distillery was almost completely destroyed. Only one of the facilities survived the bombing and this remaining one, now known as “Old Tom”, has since been moved to Cameron Bridge, Scotland.
The four botanicals thought to be used are juniper, coriander seed, angelica root and liquorice root all combining to create a smooth gin, well balanced, juniper dominant and everything a gin lover would want in a glass. There is a good reason why it’s been so popular across the world, it’s a great gin, creamy and both at 43.1%ABV and 47.3% ABV, easily drinkable and makes for a cracking G&T. The lack of citrus botanical makes it slightly earthier than many other gins but coriander has hints of lemon on the nose and with a healthy twist in the glass, the gin seems to be made for a G&T with a backbone! It’s an interesting gin to put head to head with Beefeater, as the two have both a similar heritage, price point and are both distinct as London Dry gins – we recommend trying both to see which you prefer.
According to company legend, Tanqueray was Frank Sinatra’s favourite gin. Even though this may not be true, we also like the story about the crest on the front of the bottle. The pineapple is known as a symbol that represented hospitality and having them in your home was sign of wealth and power back in the 1800′s (as they were both expensive and hard to get hold of) but the two axes are allegedly a symbol of the family having taken part in the third crusade. Folklore perhaps, but it makes for a nice anecdote.
With pressure mounting for shelf space in a resurging gin market Tanqueray have (like many others) had to compete hard to remain the house serve in bars… We’re pleased to say that like Beefeater, their efforts are paying off and campaigns like ‘Tonight We Tanqueray’ seem to have sparked the imagination of many consumers and re-igniting Tanqueray’s stake on being both the established and the most talked about gin in town. The ‘Tonight We Tanqueray’ campaign engages consumers with four internationally recognized celebrities from fashion, film and music; singer Aloe Blacc, actors Idris Elba and Michael Pitt as well as supermodel-turned-singer Karen Elson. For the campaign this team of influential endorsers have recorded exclusive content to be rolled out in the in 2011/12, and will also participate in a number of exclusive fashion, film and music events for the brand. It’s slick, well executed and sufficiently tasteful that as you forget about the “big name” marketing and just buy into the concept. It’s the way many established brands, in drink or in other categories, wished they could do advertising and it has done the brand huge favours amongst both it’s loyal supporters and the occasional imbibers. You can see the videos here:
Global marketing director for gins at Diageo, Simon Breckon says this is an exciting time for the brand, “We have cultivated a campaign that we truly believe brings Tanqueray’s brand values to life whilst also remaining true to the premium qualities of the gin. It would seem that the number four is the common denominator in everything we do with Tanqueray – London Dry is made in the number four still, four botanicals give Tanqueray the perfect balance, four components come together in our signature serve – the Quatro, and we now have the perfect four ambassadors for the brand. We are excited to see the reaction to this campaign.”
To add to the fanfare the team have also released a limited edition bottle (with the seal of approval from world renowned bartender Erik Lorincz of the American Bar at the Savoy). It may just be packaging – but hopefully it shows just how far the team have gone to push the concept through all the facets of the brand and they deserve to be commended for doing that. Tanqueray Gin is a classic, must try gin that will be around for years to come – for all the right reasons.
In 2000, the brand released the first super-premium gin: Tanqueray No. TEN reviewed on The Gin Blog.
For more information about Tanqueray Gin, visit their website