Maker: Ransom, Sheridan, Oregon, USA
Style: Barrel-aged Old Tom
Batch: 25 (different batch pictured)
Age: 3-6 mos.
Appearance: Dark straw. Thick legs and robe.
Nose: Light juniper, cardamom, coriander, a touch of citrus and a little malt.
On the palate (neat): Medium bodied and spicy. Cardamom really comes to the fore, only slightly restrained by the citrus notes. Gets sweeter with a splash of water, but still very spicy.
Finish: Even spicier with what tastes like a big hit of ginger (Angelica maybe?). Tingly for a long time.
Mixed: Makes an interesting Martini. A dirty or a Gibson helps to cut the spice with more aggressive saltiness than a dry. A perfect also balances out the spice from the sweet side. My go-to gin for a Negroni. Makes for a screwy Tom Collins or Gin & Tonic.
Parting words: The folks at Ransom were generous enough to put the ingredients right on the front of the label of this product. They are: Malted two row* barley, corn (maize), juniper berries, orange & lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamon (sic) pods and angelica root. To my tongue, the cardamom takes center stage here.
My friend Gary, a self-made expert vatter of all things spirituous, handed me one of his projects when I was in Kentucky last spring. It was a recreation of what, based on his research, 19th century Old Tom gin would have been like. Old Tom was sort of a bridge between Dutch genever and London dry gin in terms of sweetness. Gary’s take is quite sweet. The citrus, particularly orange, is in the driver’s seat. The focus is much more on that than on the spice. Gary’s is more drinkable neat, but Ransom’s is probably more interesting over all.
At any rate, Ransom’s Old Tom gin is a not something I drink a lot of, but it has it’s place and is definately worth trying as an example of a nearly extinct species of gin. Ransom’s Old Tom Gin is recommended.
*Two-row barleys are low-protein, older strains of barley used in the making of English ale (among other things). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barley#Two-row_and_six-row_barley