Now that I’ve got some time to try the other tonic waters with each different gin, I’m meeting old friends again. Tanqueray, one of the world’s leading gins, created by Charles Tanqueray in 1820 is now waiting for me to be tested with the 3 remaining tonic waters: Fentiman’s, Thomas Henry and 1724. Just like in last Sunday’s tasting with Bombay Sapphire, I’m curious how I will rate these gin & tonics considering the amount of specialty gins I’ve been tasting over the past few months. It’s not that my taste is spoiled, but if you’re spectrum of taste gets wider and more experienced there is always a chance that you keep comparing everything to that one perfect gin. It’s like buying a new suit: the one you like most is always the most expensive one and you keep comparing everything else with that perfect € 2000 suit.
It also made me reflect on what I’m actually rating: is it my own taste or the way the gin and tonic match? Letting your own taste lead you towards picking the best tasting g&t is very tempting, as it is the easiest to describe: you like it, you don’t or something in between (that’s some quality writing btw). But since my taste probably doesn’t reflect anyone else’s, this tasting needs to describe only the way the gin and the tonic waters mix together. I do throw in a personal note from time to time (yes, I know: everything I taste is personal anyway) but I try to describe the flavours I get in each mix as objective as possible and the rating below each mix is mostly how these 2 complement eachother. Each gin has another tonic to match and the more outspoken the taste of a gin is, the less likely you can match every tonic with it. There is of course a little bit of my taste in the verdict, so evertime you see a 9,5 it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best gin&tonic on the planet, it means that the g&t match (almost) perfectly and that I really like that mix.
So, how does Tanqueray mix with my tonic-panel?
1724: The gin is very dominant in the nose with loads of juniper. The taste is soft, yet firm and a bit floury. The middle part of the taste is more sweet, coming from the liquorice and the soft taste of 1724 really lets the botanicals in Tanqueray come out. The atertaste is slightly bitter with a salty edge.
Fever Tree: These 2 complement each other quite nicely: The angelica-notes come in from the gin, balancing the bitterness of the quinine very well. The natural sweetness of the tonic goes great with the citrus-notes that are quite dominant in the Tanqueray and together with the pleasantly sweet taste of liquorice it creates a very nice aftertaste.
Thomas Henry: The nose in this mix is very soft and the juniper and citrus stay very well balanced. Sipping this mix underlines how the sweet notes work perfectly together with the angelica and coriander. The tonic adds a lot of length to the Tanqueray in a very good way!
Fentiman’s: The opening is soft and floury with a gentle juniper and a nice bitter. The citrus is quite present, obviously, as both the gin and the tonic are citrus-heavy. It is a very fresh taste and not perfumed as sometimes can be the case with Fentiman’s.
Conclusion: the differences in rating are not too large between these tonic waters, indicating that Tanqueray is easily mixable. It is of course a much stronger gin than, let’s say, Bombay Sapphire, but both gins were created in a very different time. I was quite impressed by the mix with Thomas Henry and I gave it the best rating of these 4. Again, this means that the match just about perfectly ànd I like this mix even more that the other 3. I am very curious if any of my readers (anyone? Echo?) has conducted a similar tasting