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Tanqueray No. 10

Review: Tanqueray No.10  Gin   90/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised June 11, 2012 (original review posted April 10 2010)

Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was almost destroyed in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced.

Tanqueray No. 10, is produced through a quadruple distillation process with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation. Rather than using only the citrus peel for their infusion, Tanqueray 10 is instead made with the whole fruit. Thus entire grapefruits, oranges and limes are used along with juniper, angelica, coriander, licorice and chamomile in the production of the No. 10 Gin. It is named for the “Tiny Ten” still, from which all of the No. 10 Gin is distilled, and is considered the most premium gin in the Tanqueray line up.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Tanqueray No. 10 arrives in the tall green bottle shown to the left. It proudly displays a facsimile of a silver ribbon as its front label giving the bottle a classic statuesque look. The closure is again silver in colour and is a solid plastic cap which seals the bottle well. The bottle itself is not round rather it has an octagonal shape with wider shoulders than feet. This tapered shape is actually functional as the tapered bottle is easier to grip than a straight bottle would be. The overall presentation is solid, but not spectacular.

In the Glass  9/10

Although gin is not traditionally a sipping beverage, it still can be appreciated in the glass prior to mixing a nice cocktail. I do not swirl my gin normally, but when I swirled the Tangueray No. 10 in my glencairn glass I noticed that it imparted a light oily sheen on the inside of the glass. I saw long slender legs forming, and I suspect this light oiliness is why it has the ability to impart a little finish to my cocktails.

The initial nose is light juniper and alpine forest. It reminds me of what I sense when I go camping in the forests of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There are some sweet floral notes which are hard to identify (probably some chamomile in there); but the floral character combines well with the citrus flavours of lime and grapefruit (especially the grapefruit). I also sense a light ribbon of orange liqueur and the subtlety of other mixed botanicals. Nosing this Tanqueray gin is relaxing and enjoyable, as everything seems well balanced with no sharp notes and no single element causing disharmony.

In the Mouth 54/60

The gin is soft and remarkably approachable on the palate. Juniper berries lead out in front with hints of pine and spruce boughs falling in behind. A bit of spicy heat is present, but only just enough to let you know that the gin carries a higher than normal alcohol content  (94.6 proof). The grapefruit I sensed on the nose gives the gin a welcome ‘freshness’ in the mouth, and I can taste a light orange sweetness akin to Triple Sec or Cointreau in the background. Again I am having trouble identifying the floral notes which drift in and out of the currents of the gin although images of freshly bloomed lilacs come to mind.

It is the soft freshness of the citrus and the mild floral character of the gin which I appreciate.  This combination makes Tanqueray No. 10 one of my favourite gins for cocktails. It adds more than pine and juniper; it adds a glimmer of that citrus freshness and a light hint of springtime into the glass.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The beginning was all juniper berry and pine, but the exit adds sweet oranges and tangy grapefruit.  This  is surprisingly smooth, especially when one notes the 94.6 proof on the side of the bottle. The finish has length which bodes well for mixed drinks.

The Afterburn  9/10

I should repeat what I said earlier, and say that gin really isn’t made to sip straight. Gin is primarily a cocktail spirit made for Martinis and bar drinks. Tanqueray No. 10 is a stellar mixer in all of these cocktails; but what really sets it apart from other gins I have tried is that it is also enjoyable when sipped neat a room temperature or with a dash of ice.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Cocktail

Where do I start?  Tanqueray No. 10 Gin is good for every variation of the gin Martini I have tried. As well if you want a Collins style drink or a Gin and Tonic, I heartily recommend Tanqueray No. 10.

For the purposes of this review however, I will start with an under appreciated gin based cocktail, the Gimlet. The orange and grapefruit citrus elements I noticed on my palate will certainly mix well with Lime. Here is my variation on the traditional gimlet which I make with gin and key limes.

No. 10 Keylime Gimlet The No. 10 Key Lime Gimlet

2 oz Tanqueray No. 10
3/8  oz fresh Key Lime Juice
1/4 to 1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
Half a glass  of  Cracked Ice

Mix the three ingredients over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with fresh key lime slices added to the glass.

The sugar syrup is usually omitted in the traditional recipe (which uses lime cordial instead of lime juice), but for me, real lime juice and sugar syrup make this drink much better. I also love the look of the key lime slices trapped in the bottom by the ice, this gives my cocktail just a little ambiance when it is served.

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A Variation on the Gimlet which I love on a hot summer day is as follows

No. 10 Key Lime Slushy

2 oz Tanqueray No. 10 Gin
3/8  oz fresh Key Lime Juice
1 to 2 teaspoons Grenadine
A Glass of  Cracked Ice

Put it all in a blender
Blend until smooth(ish)!
Garnish with a slice of key lime
Enjoy!

The Grenadine gives the slushy a nice color which always seems to impress my guests.

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The Pink Rocket.

a cocktail by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

2 oz  White Rum
1 to 2 oz  Pink Grapefruit juice
1/2 to 1 oz  Pineapple juice
3/4 Ounce Tangueray # 10 Gin
1/2 ounce Grenadine

Shake with ice
Strain into a small rocks glass

In this final cocktail the Tangueray No. 10 acts to accent the already great flavours in the cocktail. Enjoy!

And always remember the aim is not to drink more it is to drink better!

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My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

4 Responses to “Tanqueray No. 10”

  1. tiggerzzz said

    I have never been a huge fan of gin having only bought one bottle that lasted a very long time (bombay saphire).

    I came across your blog a few months back and have picked up a few of your suggestions. Tan 10 was one of these. I tried gimlets,and martinis,and was quite pleased.

    I have never tried a gin and tonic and mixed one with a lime wedge twist Wow The combination of flavors was incredible and seemed to increase as I sipped. It is such a simple drink but the flavor is so complex with the tan 10. Martini’s even began to be more enjoyable.

    Needless to say the gin is the first soldier down of the 4 bottles I bought.

    It is great to have a western Canadian reviewer sorting through all the choices. My experience with premium brands has always been mixed so I usually default to the standard mixers.

    Great Job!

    • Hi tiggerzzz

      I used to think that I was strictly a whisky guy. Then I tried some good rum instead of the bottom shelf stuff. Then I thought I was just a rum and whisky guy. Then I was convinced to try some really good Tequila and Gin. Now I am a Rum and Whisky and Gin and Tequila and Vodka guy who is about to start exploring the Cognac realm seriously. What I have learned is that there is a reason other people like those other spirits. Some of them are darn good.

      Welcome to the world of exploration! I hope you discover many more great spirits that surprise and delight you.

      PS: Still haven’t found a decent dry white Wine.

  2. Chris said

    Would you consider reviewing Tanqueray and letting us know how it compares to Tanqueray #10?

    • Hi Chris

      So many companies are stepping up and sending me samples that my review queue is always full. But, I would be happy to do a Tangueray review if Diageo (The Brand owner) sent me a sample.

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