Maker: Cadenhead, Campbelltown, Argyll, Scotland.
ABV: 55% (cut down to 45% for tasting purposes)
Gin & Tonic, Tom Collins: Old Raj is indistinct in both of these drinks. The Tom Collins is refreshing as always, but the G & T really falls flat, considering the proof and price of Old Raj. It might as well have been Seagram’s or some other bottom shelf brand. Highly disappointing.
Gibson: A slightly dirty Gibson this time instead of the usual martini, just to mix it up. Old Raj fares better here, but only slightly. This tastes like (shudder) a VODKA martini. The aromatics in the gin struggle to distinguish themselves from the vermouth, in this case a Noilly Prat’s Dry (the new formulation). Underwhelming.
Neat, slightly chilled: The color of this gin is a very light gold. What that comes from, I don’t know. The botanicals? A very short time in a barrel? The saffron that allegedly goes into it? Not quite sure, but it certainly makes Old Raj distinctive. The nose is a fairly standard gin nose, but more mild and dry than many in the same category. Juniper and citrus stand out with the citrus being the stronger of the two. All the rest is just alcohol. On the palate it fairly heavy bodied. Some sweetness, then that citrus is back, more specifically as lime. As it fades into the finish, the sweetness predominates with a background of citrus and a whole lotta burn. This must be what it would be like to do a shot of vodka while sucking on a lemonhead.
Parting Words: I found Old Raj to be a disappointment. It really struggles to bring anything to the table when mixed, even in drinks in which gin takes the driver’s seat like martinis (and Gibsons). Neat it holds its own. My only complaint with it neat is that it is unbalanced. Too much citrus and sweetness and not enough spice. If you are one of the few, hep cats out there who enjoy drinking your gin neat, I recommend Old Raj. If you are looking for a distinctive gin for classic gin cocktails, look elsewhere