By Michael W. Harris
Type: London Dry
Base: 100% grain neutral spirit
Botanicals: juniper, juniper, coriander, angelica, licorice, white grapefruit, lime, orange, chamomile flowers
Unique Processes: Uses the smaller “No. 10” still that was used for experiments, and is thus made in smaller batches. Also, it uses the whole citrus fruits rather than dried peels.
Choosing Tanqueray No. 10 for one of my initial reviews might have been a bit of an odd choice since it is the more “exclusive” or “step-up” of Tanqueray’s gins. Most people consider the basic, traditional Tanqueray to be among the world’s perfect gins, especially with how it seems to keep its botanicals to just the basics, whereas No. 10 throws in entire citrus fruits.
But while standard Tanqueray was my go to gin once I discovered the wonder that is the g’nt, I have since ventured outside its safe and comfortable flavor profile—though I am enjoying just such a throwback Tanqueray and Tonic as I write this. Though if I am honest, my favorite bottle of Tanqueray was probably their limited edition Bloomsbury variant. Sadly, it was exactly that, a limited edition that is no longer produced. But on to the gin at hand…
I must admit, the more I try gins straight, the more I question the conventional wisdom of people always mixing them in cocktails. While I understand that gin seems to be a bit stronger than most spirits from the bottle with some bite to it, I find it no more or less pleasant to sip on than a good whisky. Seriously, unless you only have bottom shelf gin on hand, try it straight once in a while, especially if you have some good whisky glasses on hand like you see in my photos (Glencairn glasses are readily available from Amazon and are relatively cheap).
I say this because Tanqueray No. 10 is a great gin to enjoy while sipping. While it is slightly stronger than the Beefeater gin, the alcohol note is buried under the citrus botanicals which burst from the glass. I would say that No. 10 is rather pleasant to simply sniff, though people might look at you strangely if you were to just sit sniffing a glass of gin rather than drinking it.
Once you do unbury your nose from your recently purchased Glencairn, you will taste very smooth gin. There is a little bit of a bite to it, but the orange, lime, and grapefruit are much more forward. It is almost like biting into a Starburst. And these notes last well into the finish of the gin, as the lingering burn is more like the acidic taste from citrus rather than the alcohol one might expect. When compared to other gins that I have tended to gravitate towards for sipping (Cadenhead’s Old Raj or Vapor Distilling’s Ginsky), Tanqueray No. 10 is a cheaper, and more readily available in Virginia, alternative.
In all, the Tanqueray No. 10 proved a wonderful companion while I watched videos on YouTube on other (new) obsession—fountain pens—on the first day of May.
Gin and Tonic
If there is one obsession, though, that predates both gin and fountain pens, it is science fiction, which I have loved since before I knew what gin was or contemplated that pens could come in forms other than ballpoint and rollerball. So it was that I sat down on May 3 to watch the newest episode of The Expanse—which if you are a fan of sci-fi and are not watching then I cannot strongly suggest enough that you should give it a chance—and enjoyed Tanqueray No. 10 in its most logical state: the gin and tonic.
If there were a gin more suited to a g’nt based on its botanical profile alone then I am not sure what it is, because with all the citrus distilled with the No. 10 one would be led to believe that it was almost designed to complement tonic water and a lime twist.
I was not disappointed.
My notes on it begin, “This is just a smooth drink. Sweet, citrus notes. Just overall very fruity.” They end with, “A very nice g’nt, maybe a bit too citrusy for some, but eminently drinkable, and in the hot and muggy summer months ahead I can see this being a go to.”
In the words of Stan Lee: ‘Nuff Said.
After my experiences with the Beefeater Pink Gin, I had my doubts that the Tanqueray No. 10 would fare any better, especially since I had a feeling that Angostura bitters might pair well with the citrus of the No. 10. However, I was wrong.
The Pink Gin here was rather pleasant to drink while starting a new anime series (Dagashi Kashi) last Saturday (5/5). It started out more alcohol forward with the citrus subdued but opened up the longer I sat and drank. The bitters played well with the citrus that was welcome and unexpected.
It was also fairly mellow on the end with a lingering warmth on the throat. Rather than a turn burn, it created a nice feeling that, had it been colder, might have been rather pleasant. Being May, though, it was just a glow rather than a hug on a cold evening. Truly, this is what I expected a good Pink Gin to taste like and was much better than my experience with the Beefeater.
According to Tanqueray’s bottle for the No. 10 it is the “ultimate gin.” And while I might not go that far, it is a damn fine bottle of gin that would not be out of place on a gin-thusiast’s shelf. I am hard pressed to give it a “top shelf” ranking just because I know there are better (and more expensive) gins out there, but my palate really cannot withhold such a recommendation for such wonderful drinking experience all around. So as such, I am giving Tanqueray No. 10 a Top Shelf ranking and my suggestion that it find an almost permanent home in your bar.