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Review:

McDowell's
Blue Riband Gin

Distillery

Ponda Distillery, McDowell & Co., Bethora, Ponda, Goa (United Spirits Limited, Bangalore), India.

Website

United Spirits Ltd. and United Breweries Group.

History

Carew Phipson Ltd., the founding company, was originally established in 1826. In the early 1990’s this was acquired by Angus McDowell from Scotland, and renamed as McDowell & Co. Meanwhile, another Scottish gentleman, Thomas Leishman established another company in 1857, which was to become United Breweries (UB) of Kingfisher Lager fame. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s UB established United Spirits Ltd (under the now global UB Group) most notably acquiring the scotch whisky company “Whyte and Mackay” and perhaps the lesser known McDowell & Co.

The Blue Riband Gin brand was launched in 1959 and is one of the oldest and best selling Gins in the Indian market. It only really took off in the 1980’s and sells over 9 million bottles per year and has around 60% of the market in India. In 2000 it was relaunched with updated packaging.

Production

Unknown, although we know Ponda Distillery has at least two copper pot stills which may be used in their Gin Production.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

43% (86 Proof).

Price Range

$ - $$. Not available in the USA and very difficult to order online. Can be purchased in India and other neighboring countries.

Botanicals

Unknown.

Name

The Blue Riband, although used in sporting awards, was also given to the ship with the fastest record for a transatlantic crossing - currently held by the US United States. This stems from the Order of the Garter, established in 1348 by the King of England, where the blue ribbon garter infers the highest award for chivalry to recipients. The Garter has the motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense”, which translates as “Evil to him who thinks evil”. In France the well-known term “Cordon Bleu”, used to denote high quality, means Blue Ribbon. From 1935 onwards a trophy, The Blue Riband, was presented to the fastest vessel crossing the Atlantic.


Tasting Notes

On the nose is light juniper, citrus (lemon) and spice. On the palate this dry oily medium bodied spirit displays juniper and citrus (lemon) with herbal notes. The finish is citrus and peppery with spicy tones.

This is a soft and fairly smooth Gin, great for a Martini (nice and dry) but perhaps less so for a Gin and Tonic - although perfectly fine in its execution. However, our favorite Gin based mixed drinks are a Gimlet and Tom Collins cocktail.

Awards & Accolades

88 Points, Beverage Testing Institute.

Read


For those with nautical interests, "Record Breakers of the North Atlantic: Blue Riband Liners 1838 - 1952" by Arnold Kludas, will be a more than welcome read. Grab yourself a BlueRiband Gin and relax with this book.



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