Ginebra San Miguel, known locally as GSM, is the World’s Best Selling Gin. Never heard of it? Perhaps that’s because it is a largely domestic spirit made for the Philippine home-market. This market accounts for over 46% of the Global Gin Market, in the Philipeans Ginebra San Miguel has a market share of over 60%.
The gin was established in 1834 and, as the name would suggest, it is made by Ginebra San Miguel, Inc. which is a majority-owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, the makers of the famous beer.
The GSM is made from sugar-cane alcohol and comes in four varieties:
Ginebra San Miguel Red
Bottled at 80 proof (40%ABV)
The original and best selling, this is the one I shall be reviewing.
“Its smooth, sweet taste gives drinkers a light on the chest feeling without the hangover the following day.”
Ginebra San Miguel Premium
Bottled at 35%ABV this is the high-end version that said it still only sells for Php 88.00*
“Targeted at a younger audience it has light alcohol kick, a pleasant taste and aroma with the least negative physical after-effects. Perfect for longer parties and get-togethers.”
On with the tasting….
nose: minimal, some marizipan, cream and dry pear. Slightly biscuity.
taste: Wow! A really powerful punch of alcohol, boiled sweets, almonds and a hint of pear and citrus. Strong (alcohol-wise) and intense, rustic to say the least. After a little while it becomes more like a vodka and is somewhat reminiscent of Polish Pure Spirit.
#2 Gin & Tonic
A little bready and quite heavy on the citrus. Minimal juniper with a fruity/earthy/citrus element which is gin-like. Not bad but there is something unsettling about it.
Another drink that really packs a punch, like a vodka Martini but not very smooth and with the unmistakable flavour of pear drops.
#4 Pink Gin
Not bad if a little soapy, quite warming and juniper is just about there. Perhaps a Pink Gin 7 Tonic would be the best way to drink this gin?
Very unusual, you get the bitter-sweet and then an odd alcohol flavour. Bit too sweet and syrupy. Almost like there’s something missing, probably the gin flavour.
Fairly palettable (for GSM) citrus and vanilla and small hints of juniper and coriander. A fairly uncomplex drink and below the usual standard for a Milano.
#7 Gin Buck
A little musky quite citrusy, gin is pretty well masked. OK but a slight hollowness and the taste of cheap vodka at the end.
My long-standing “worst gin I have ever tried” as Richmond made at Greenalls (available at Asda) but after a blind comparison with San Miguel despite the fact that Richmond has almost no nose and was rather sickly it was still the superior gin.
It was great to try this again and get a good handle on it’s flavour profiles, for a gin fan it’s worth trying as it is the world’s best selling gin but beyond this novelty I’d avoid it.
My sincere thanks to Chris of GinJourney for the kind donation that made this article possible.
*For a 750ml Bottle, 700ml of Gilbey’s Gin costs Php 130.00 and a 180g packet of Peanuts costs Php. 34.00.