Growing up in 1970’s Great Britain there was only one gin, and it’s was Gordon’s. Gordons
kept the world supplied with gin, long before the artisan gin renaissance. It was rather like the a ginny version of Light of Eärendil, to misquote Tolkien “May it be a gin for you in dark places, when all other gins are out”. These days Gordon’s feels distinctly old-fashioned, rather like your Aunt Petunia. OK, enough fantasy book references, what do we know about the gin?
Gordon’s is currently part of the Diageo drinks giant, but has a long history. It was first distilled in 1769 by Alexander Gordon. A little over a century later the firm merged with rivals Charles Tanqueray & Co. to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co. The gin comes in the iconic green bottle, unless you are some poor soul like myself, who gets the clear glass export version. The gin itself is triple distilled for “extra dryness and smoothness“. Looking at the all-important botanicals the website explains it way better than I could “As well as juniper berries our recipe includes coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel. Coriander gives the dry and citrus taste (rather than lemon or orange peel that gives a blunt and overpowering taste in many other gins). Angelica is the magic ingredient that ties together the other botanicals to give a long and complex flavour.” Enough of the theory, how well does the gin stand up to tasting ?
Day or Night Gin ? Gordons is a 37.5% vol. spirit, so you could have a G&T for lunch and slip back to your desk for an afternoon pretending to check your emails.
What does it smell of ? Beyond the slight juniper smell it has a slight citrus tone, but nothing as strong, or offensive, as “the great smell of Brut“.
What does it taste of ? It’s very much the classic combination for a gin, juniper starters, citrus main-course and a spicy dessert. The citrus peels and coriander in the botanicals list come out here. Somehow the whole package is very polite, not too sharp, edgy or aggressive. In a gin & tonic Gordon’s blends, which means it tastes like a G&T, but doesn’t have much oomph.
Buy It ? I vaguely remember buying a bottle (70cl) on discount at the Lidl for €12.99. Looking on-line today (Jan 2017) see that you can buy it somewhere between €10 and €12, plus postage. To be honest I expect you could pick up a bottle for under €15 anywhere in Germany (but not at the Galeria Kaufhof, my benchmark German booze retailer). In the UK, Tesco’s have it available for £14.00.
Overall 3 out of 5. The Gordon’s rather surprised me. It’s not a complex gin, but it does the basics well. Do try to use a good tonic water if you make a G&T with it, Schweppes just doesn’t help it. Given the low price point it’s not that bad.