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Review

Gordon's Sloe Gin

Distillery

Alexander Gordon & Co, Cameronbridge Distillery, Windygates, Leven, Fife, Scotland (Diageo Company), London, England, UK.

Website

Gordon’s Gin and Diageo.

History

Established 1769 by Alexander Gordon (of Scottish descent and the same year he married) in Southwark, London, UK. It is believed Gordon’s were possibly the first but certainly the early founders of the London Dry category of Gin. Alexander was followed by 2 further generations until Charles Gordon sold the company in 1877 to John Currie and Co. In 1898 they merged with Charles Tanqueray and Co (to form Tanqueray Gordon & Co.) making it the world’s largest gin company at that time. In 1941 their London Distillery was destroyed in a German bombing raid and the only piece to survive was a copper pot still called “Old Tom”, now over 200 years old.

The Distillers Company Ltd (DCL) bought them in 1922 and in 1986 Guiness bought DCL, creating United Distillers (UD) a year later. In 1997 UD merged with Grand Metropolitan to create Diageo. In 1998 all production for Gordon’s Gin was moved from England to Fife in Scotland. Diageo sell in over 180 countries and truly are worldwide.

The Gordon’s brand is the top-selling gin in nearly every European market and the number two selling gin in the world (Ginebra San Miguel currently holds top spot). 100 million bottles of Gordon’s gin are produced each year and it is sold in 150 countries across the globe – this is a tough act to follow – their slogan back in the 1970’s wasn’t far wrong: “It’s got to be Gordon’s”.

Their Sloe Gin was originally launched in 1906. Since then it has gone through a few packaging face-lifts, most recently in 1993 and 2004 (when they moved to clear glass bottles). This is the best selling Sloe Gin in the UK and given Sloe Gin mainly sells in the UK it is probably the best selling in the world too.

Production

Gordon's original Gin is used as the base spirit (made from locally grown wheat and distilled three times). The sloe berries, along with sugar syrup and almonds, are steeped in the Gin and presented in clear rectangular bottles to display its deep red almost purple color. Their slogan “A darker kind of Gordon’s” is very apt.

Legend has it that members of the Gordon Clan saved the King of Scotland from a wild boar whilst out hunting. Since then the clan have been using a boar’s head on its coat of arms and their Gin bottles have a Royal Boars head crest on its packaging.

Category

Flavored Gin - Sloe.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

26% (52 Proof).

Price Range

$$ - $$$. Not available in the USA but try Master of Malt in the UK and be prepared to pay another 80% for shipping.

Botanicals

The 8 Botanicals used are: angelica root, coriander seeds, juniper berries, lemon peel, liquorice, orange peel, orris root and sloeberries.

Name

Named after the original founder, Alexander Gordon, and the main botanical ingredient of sloeberry.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is perfumed fruit with hints of juniper and spice. On the palate this syrupy sweet spirit has fruit (plum and blackcurrant) and astringent sloe. The close is long dry and peppery with hints of fruit (plum - almost damson like).

This is a particularly sweet Sloe gin and we found it a little cloying to be taken neat (unless you specifically enjoy liqueur like drinks). Where this came into its own was as a base to longer drinks: with soda, lemonade, bitter lemon, sparkling wine etc. Gordon’s recommend mixing with this with tonic and whilst we do not personally like this drink per se, it seems to be fairly OK with Gordon’s Sloe Gin. Our favorite mixed drink was using this in place of Cassis with Champagne (or similar) for a Kir Royale variation, the blackcurrant notes of the Sloe Gin work well in this arrangement. Whilst not one of our favorite Sloe Gins it has the value of being a relatively inexpensive one for long mixed drinks.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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