I first came across Ransom Old Tom Gin at our Old Tom Gin Tasting last year where it really stood apart from the other gins.
It’s made in Sheridan, Oregon, where it was created to be a historically accurate revival of the predominant style of gin drunk during the Golden Age of American mixed drinks. The spirit was developed in collaboration with the drinks sage David Wondrich.
There is a genever character to this gin, which probably comes from the use of malted barley and high-strength corn spirit in the base wort (the liquid in which the botanicals are infused). Only the heart of the final distillation from an alambic pot still is retained for bottling. Finally, the gin is aged in neutral Pinot Noir barrels.
Nose: Pine, sap, a hint of cedarwood and cardamon.
Taste: There was a little smooth silkiness at the start, followed by sappy, piney juniper, some vanilla and oak. There were herbal hints, too, and a little tingle towards the end. The wood comes through again, very much like freshly cut wood, rather natural and forest-like. As gin goes, it is really rather good and completely unique.
2) Gin & Tonic
Fresh and flavourful, with some extra piney bitterness and then some oak-y vanilla at the end, which rounds the drink off nicely.
3) Dry Martini
[50ml Ransom Old Tom, 10ml Dry Vermouth – STIR]
A light gold in colour and quite thick in terms of texture, this had lots of rich, piney, sappy juniper notes, alongside some coriander and an oat-y, bitter note intermingled with vanilla. This was a very different type of Dry Martini, being far more herbal and quite intense.
4) Sweet Martini
[50ml Ransom Old Tom, 10ml Red Vermouth – STIR]
The more bitter notes of this gin really come through well in this cocktail; it had a hint of gentian and wormwood. Despite being a very bitter drink, I did manage to find a subtle floral sweetness towards the end. Overall, quite complex.
[30ml Ransom Old Tom, 30ml Red Vermouth, 30ml Campari – STIR]
I thought this would work well and it does. I tend to find that more intense red vermouths best in Negronis, but, when using the more complex Ransom Old Tom, Martini Rosso does a pretty good job. This Negroni has strong, intense, hard-hitting juniper and herbal notes with some woodiness, too. If you like Negronis, I think you’ll be a fan of this.
6) Old Tom Cocktail
[50ml Ransom Old Tom, 10ml Pastis, 1/4tsp Sugar, 1 Dash Orange bitters – SHAKE]
Delicious the anise in the pastis works well with the complex herbal and woody notes of the gin. It’s almost as if the gin was made for this drink. a really harmony of flavour.
7) Union League
[50ml Ransom Old Tom, 20ml Port, 1 Dash Orange bitters – STIR]
Really rather tasty; there’s lots going on, including some bitter herbal and pine notes, followed by some oakiness and the the strong, rich flavours of the port. On the finish is a sappy juniper and the citrus of the orange bitters. This is a drink of phases, but very pleasant, too.
To find stockist of ransom Old Tom Gin in the US & Canada check out: http://www.ransomspirits.com/