Where Men Can Become Better Gentlemen

Review

Oliver Cromwell
1599 Gin

Distillery

Produced by an undisclosed distillery in the Netherlands exclusively for the Aldi grocery chain based in the UK.

Website

Aldi Stores Ltd

History

Sold in Aldi grocery stores in the UK since the fall of 2010.

Production

Made in Holland. The Gin is presented in a tall clear rectangular bottle with a large white label and mainly black colored text – the “1599” being clearly identifiable.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$ - $$$. Not available in the USA, can only be purchased in Aldi grocery stores within the UK. 

Botanicals

Unknown.

Name

Named after famous English politician Oliver Cromwell and the year he was born – 25th April 1599. Oliver Cromwell was a member of the landed gentry and represented his local area, Huntingdon, in parliament from 1628. In the 1630’s his religious faith grew into a more puritanical fervor. In 1640 his political career was elevated to represent the whole of Cambridgeshire. In 1642 civil war broke out between the British parliament and Charles I (King of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) predominantly due to religious differences (Protestants versus Catholics).

It was during the English Civil War that Oliver Cromwell came to the fore. Starting out as a Captain in the parliamentary militia, he had no military experience but he managed to build an effective cavalry unit called the “Ironsides”. After 3 years their success led to Cromwell becoming Lieutenant General, and Parliament agreeing to the establishment of a professional army – the New Model Army. This in turn led to the Parliamentary army (the “Roundheads”) finally beating the Royalist army (the “Cavaliers”) during the battle of Naseby in 1645. Although this was a decisive win there were still many pockets of resistance and, despite the execution of King Charles I in 1649, Cromwell continued fighting loyal Royalists until 1951. It was during this time he became overall commander of the army and, perhaps debateable, reached a dark point in history. In 1649/50 Cromwell crushed resistance in Ireland at Drogheda and Wexford resulting in the deaths of around half a million Irish – history is written by the victors but it is hard not to see this as anything other than an outright massacre – no wonder even today, the name Cromwell is not always well received in Ireland.

In 1653, frustrated by the lack of progress by parliament, Cromwell (with the backing of the army) established himself as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and, despite refusing the crown in 1657, was the head (some might say Dictator) of this new republic until his natural death on 3rd September 1658. Many things changed during this time including the “liberty of conscience” whereby the church established Puritanism, and Jews were granted readmission to the country in 1656 (Jews had previously been expelled from England by King Edward I back in 1290). War was stopped with Portugal in 1653 and Holland in 1654 and started, in allegiance with France, against Spain (Spain being defeated in 1658). Cromwell also tried to stop sinful and immoral activities by closing down bars and playhouses plus banning Christmas, Cosmetics and many Sports – it is an interesting choice to name a Gin after him! Famously, Cromwell instructed portrait painter Samuel Cooper to paint him “warts and all”, hence the saying still used today. 

Following Cromwell’s death his son Richard Cromwell became Lord protector for an 8-month period from September 1658 to May 1659. Unfortunately the army became disillusioned with his inability to reconcile differences between numerous factions and they removed their support. The result of this instability led to the monarchy being re-established in 1660 (known as the “Restoration”) with King Charles’s son being crowned King Charles II. With this restoration, in 1661 Oliver Cromwell’s body was exhumed and hung for treason at Tyburn, Holborn in London for a day. His corpse was then beheaded and the head put on a spike at Westminster for around 25 years as an example for all to see! It is believed that one night it either fell off, or the spike broke, and the skull disappeared with several unconfirmed stories as to where it is today.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is clear juniper with hints of light citrus. On the palate this crisp and fairly smooth spirit has strong juniper (debatably too much) with some citrus flavors and faint aromatic herbal spice notes plus hints of alcohol. On the close is a dry juniper finish. This is a reasonable Gin, not too complex but an overtly juniper led spirit.

This is certainly a classic juniper Gin and a reasonable one, at a generally good price. It is not really a sipping Gin but makes a strong Gin and Tonic - you might find it more palatable with a higher level of tonic than usual and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Makes a fairly good Martini and Dirty Martini but not so much for a Dry Martini. Where is does best is in citrus flavoured Gin based mixed drinks e.g. Gimlet, Gin & Bitter Lemon, Tom Collins etc., we also liked it in a Pink Gin. Recommended as a good party Gin in mixed drinks and for hardened juniper Gin lovers as an every day drink.

As a rule we tend to find ourselves in agreement with judges in competitions, however we are left a little puzzled with the results for this Gin. We do not agree with where this Gin has been placed and if it wasn’t for Chris Dugdale’s review at the Gin Journey, we would be left alone with a feeling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Do not misconstrue this as us denigrating this Gin (or the judges) we simply believe the Gin is more highly placed (Gold and Silver awards) than it deserves (e.g. Bronze award or perhaps lower). Maybe we are missing something (which is entirely possible) but it is an interesting issue when our reviews broadly concur with competition results. At the end of the day, it must come down to your own thoughts and views and what your palate finds. Let us know what you think.

Awards & Accolades

Gold Medal, Gin Masters, 2013.

Silver Medal, International Spirits Challenge, 2013.

Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirits Competition, 2012.

Trophy & Gold Medal, International Wine and Spirits Competition, 2010.



Get In Touch

Have a question, query or need clarification...

Contact Us


Monthly Newsletter

Keep up to date, hear about unique items and have gentle reminders on being "The Complete Gentleman."

Sign up here:

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Complete Gentleman.


Don't Miss A Post

Keep up to date via RSS or another web-based reader:

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines