Gin, bathtub not included

As promised, Jen and I tasted a sampling of seven gins, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the death of Dorothy Parker. These were remnants of bottles bought and mostly drunk over the last several months, so there was no real logic to what gins we were sampling. In alphabetical order, we tasted

  • Aviation
  • Bombay
  • Bulldog
  • Hendricks
  • Junipero
  • Plymouth
  • Tanqueray

Gin tastingThe gin was served neat, at room temperature, in identical glassware. It was a blind tasting for Jen, but not for me since I poured the gins and kept them in an order where I’d be able to identify them later. We took rough notes and in tasting the gins, we came to realize some of the shortcomings of the methodology I used.

First, I don’t think serving the gins neat was the right choice. The Hendricks, for example, was tighter at room temp than it was, later, with a slight chill. With the chill, it released the rose and cucumber nuances for which it is well known. None of those came out at room temperature. For this reason, I’m a little reluctant to write up our tasting notes. I’m just not sure how faithful they are to each gin’s character.

When the New York Times held a gin tasting, back in early May, the tasters chose to sample gins in martini form, and this seems to me a wise choice.

Also, I wonder whether seven gins were too many to taste at one time. I think comparing three or four at one time might help fight palate fatigue.

I am eager to start doing regular taste tests for various spirits. I feel like I learn more about the characteristics of spirits in comparison than I do when sipping an Aviation or an Old Fashioned. So we’ll revisit this soon and taste-test various martinis.


6 thoughts on “Gin, bathtub not included

  1. When we did our gin tasting, we sampled them as you did and then in Gin and Tonics. We got wildly inconsistent results, but it was fun, nonetheless. I’d definitely give the taste test a try with martinis.


  2. We held a gin tasting a few months ago at one of our monthly meetings. The consensus was that we did gain some useful information from the room temperature tasting (such as though that feature heavy citrus notes over botanicals), however we felt that we should have followed it with a chilled tasting considering this is the form in which most people consume their gin. Perhaps we should all try again and compare notes…we are always looking for another reason to taste delicious gin!


  3. Next time consider diluting the spirit, with a neutral tasting water, to about 20% alcohol. I find that brings out flaws you might not otherwise find, and it also makes it easier to taste them. Then I take the ones that held up in round one and taste them both with tonic and then washed, since that’s more like the way normal people actually drink the stuff. I don’t use vermouth because they vary so much and seem to combine differently with different gins. Until recently there were few tonic choices, but now I think I would probably use Fever-Tree.


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