Seagram’s Sunday – Gin N Juice – Tropical Thunder

It’s been ten weeks since I started Seagram’s Sunday, and there has been as many reviews of Seagram’s products, but, today, we’ve come to a break (until I find more products to review!). It’s been a great ride so far, though, and there have been some pretty decent products, too.

The subject of this final, pre-break article is Seagram’s Gin & Juice Tropical Thunder. Released in 2007, this is bottled at 17.5% ABV and is described as being:

“A delicious blend of Seagram’s Gin, Fruit Juice, Ginseng and Natural Mango flavours, Certified colours.”


The Taste

Colour: Luminous orange.
Nose: Mango ice-cream.
Taste: Initially, this tastes of mango, but this rather hastily fades into the taste of overripe mango, followed by a note that I can only compare to gastric acid. I’ll leave it there. Another taster described it as “foul” and “the worst thing I have ever tried”.

With ice: Somehow, this was even worse; its most unpleasant aspects were simply amplified, with one taster saying that it reminded them of stale sweat.

Seagram’s Sunday – Gin N Juice – Red Fury

Released in 2005, Seagram’s Gin & Juice Red Fury was the fifth in the range to be produced, following Lemon Splash, Blue Beast,  Ruby Red Grapefruit and Green Dragon. It is bottled at 17.5% ABV and described as:

“A delicious blend of Seagram’s Gin, Tropical Juices, Natural Flavours, Ginseng and Certified Color.”

This seems like a good time to note that ginseng extract is used in a lot of Seagram’s Gin & Juice products. According to their website, it adds an “extra boost”, possibly suggesting some sort of health or energy benefit.*

The Taste

Colour: Glowing redder than red.
Nose: Strawberry, cherry and almond.
Taste: Sweet strawberry, then dry gin. Not bad, this tastes like strawberry gin, but with a weird finish that’s a bit cloying. Towards the end, a strawberry jelly/Jello flavour emerges.

With ice: A definite improvement: much more pleasant. It still has a harsh finish and is very sweet, but it’s almost drinkable.

~

* The Seagram’s website also points out that:

“Red Fury is bottled in a facility where milk is also handled. While all proper steps are taken to prevent cross-contamination, consumers of these(sic) products who have milk allergies should be advised.”

Whilst I think that it’s good and proper that this is pointed out, it did make me wonder why Red Fury was the only one with this warning, implying that it is bottled at a separate plant to all of the others.

Seagram’s Sunday – Gin N Juice – Lemon Berry Blaze

So far in Seagram’s Sunday we have looked at their flavoured gins and their cask-rested gins; now we move on to a third category of their gin products: Gin & Juice. These are ready-to-serve drinks that contain a combination of gin and fruit juice and have been produced since 1995.

1995 – Lemon Splash (later renamed Original Citrus)
1999 – Blue Beast (natural berry & ginseng)
2003 – Ruby Red Grapefruit
2004 – Green Dragon (kiwi, strawberry & ginseng)
2005 – Red Fury (tropical fruit & ginseng)
2006 – Purple Rage (grape juice & ginseng)
2007 – Tropical Thunder (mango & ginseng)
2008 – Lemon-Berry Blaze (berry lemonade)

Today’s article features the newest of these flavours, Lemon Berry Blaze. This is bottled at 17.5% ABV and is described as:

“A delicious blend of Seagram’s Gin, Lemon and Berry Juices, Natural flavours, Ginseng, Certified Color (sic), and FO#C Yellow#5.”

The Taste

Colour: Glowing turquoise.
Nose: Confectionery; specifically, fizzy strawberry laces.
Taste: Initially sweet, then the gin comes into play, but unfortunately, not for very long. This is really rather odd, being quite musky and chalky, followed by a hit of what seems like floor cleaner!

Given such an adverse initial reaction, I added some ice and left it for a minute to see if it would improve…

I quite like the nose and, after a bit of time, the drink becomes more palatable, but it still reminds me of a below-average alcopop.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Distillers Reserve

Introduced in 2006 and bottled at 51% ABV, Seagram’s Distillers Reserve is a blend of the best batches of Seagram’s Extra Dry, post-mellowing and bottled at cask-strength.

Colour: Very light, straw yellow.
Nose: The nose seems less intense than the original, with some juniper and citrus.
Taste: Firstly, the texture is quite different: viscous, silky and smooth. Most of the panel agreed that this was unusually smooth for a gin at 51% ABV. As well as juniper, there was sweet liquorice, floral and citrus flavours.

Although other Seagram’s gins are aged for the same period of time, the oak notes were far more pronounced in this version. The oaky flavour became even more pronounced when a drop of water was added to gin.


Gin & Tonic
A very fresh and crisp Gin & Tonic, with good levels of juniper and citrus with a well-rounded finish courtesy of the cask-resting. Very good.

Martini
This was a strong and bold Martini: it’s a bit spicy with some nice vanilla and woody elements. Very satisfying, with just a hint of anise at the end.

Negroni
A rather tasty drink: intensely bitter-sweet, with powerful juniper flavours and a creamy, oak finish. Delicious.

In Conclusion
I think that the basic Seagram’s is a decent gin, but the Reserve is even better: it has a good balance, a strength that makes it extremely mixable, and the process of cask-resting really makes a difference to the spirit,  making it a yellow gin and something of a rare species.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin

This is the first of two gins in this tasting from the Canadian Brand, Seagram’s. Both are made in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA. Seagram’s Original was introduced in 1939 (it was originally known as Seagram’s Ancient Gin) and is mellowed for 3 months in charred white oak whiskey (ex-bourbon) barrels. It is bottled at 40% ABV.

On its own:
Colour: Very light straw yellow.
Nose: Quite light, juniper with coriander and citrus.
Taste: Quite smooth, with juniper, coriander and a touch of orange. Quite similar to a normal London Dry Gin with a slight mellow note of cream/vanilla/oak, but it seems like the wood has more of an effect on the texture than the flavour.

Gin & Tonic
A rather sippable and cooling Gin & Tonic. Nothing ostentatious, but rather simple and honest. Juniper, a touch of citrus and a hint of vanilla. A slice of orange or lemon livens it up nicely.

Martini
A soft and straight-forward Martini, with a pleasant mellowness from the touch of aging of the gin. A fair bit of citrus, too, which keeps the drink fresh and zesty.

Negroni
A very even Negroni. Again, nothing special, but not offensive in the slightest. There is a pleasant, clean bitterness right at the end, which lasts for a while.

In Conclusion
I think that Seagram’s is a pretty reasonable gin, especially considering the price, and I’d be more than happy to use this as a pouring gin for cocktails. It’s a sham that it’s not more easily available in the UK.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Grape Twisted Gin

In the past four weeks, we have established that Seagram’s Gin have created a wide range of flavoured gins, but perhaps one of the most unusual that I’ve seen is the flavour of Purple Grape (although it’s also worth noting that they now make a Pineapple Gin). Although much rarer in the UK, it is quite a popular flavour in the US, in particular for soda drinks, desserts and jelly (Jello). Thankfully, the Seagram’s Gin isn’t bright purple!

On its own
Nose: A touch of Welch’s Purple Grape juice, along with a more traditional smell of grape brandy.
Taste: Sweet and a little sickly, this tastes of grape. Whilst this could be refreshing in a vodka, in this gin, it adds a bubblegum note, which is a bit of mismatch.

Gin & Tonic
In a Gin & Tonic, the flavour just gets worse: the bubblegum is even stronger and there is a real lack of refreshment.

In Conclusion
This is certainly one of the weaker (in terms of quality) flavoured gins that I have tried, as well as being one of the most unusual. Whilst not so great in the classic gin cocktails, this will go down fine when mixed with cola or lemonade.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Orange Twisted Gin

Released in 2007, Seagram’s Twisted Orange follows in the footsteps of a long history of products which pair gin and orange. Early orange gins tended to be like a cordial in style; that is, they were sweeter and of a lower ABV – almost liqueur-like. Some modern orange gins, such as the 1990s offering from Beefeater, were simply flavoured gin, being unsweetened, clear in colour and bottled at the usual 40% ABV.

On its own:
Nose: Not a very strong nose; mostly orange.
Taste: Very, very orangey, but the flavour reminds me of Calpol, being more of an artificial, orange oil flavour. Strong, but bitter.

Gin & Tonic
Again, the orange flavour was strong, but rather medicinal and slightly bitter. Overall, this drink still tasted rather artificial, like bitter orange oils, and I would have vastly preferred a much fresher flavour.

Martini
As you would expect, this makes a Martini that’s heavy on the orange notes, but I found that those dry orange notes do work well with the vermouth in this drink. Definitely the best way to drink this that I’ve tried so far, and the more I drink, the more I like it.

Negroni
Orange and Negronis are a naturally good match, but this drink was a bit juicier than a plain gin Negroni using an orange twist, tasting more like it contains a splash of orange juice. This was different, but pleasant to drink, with the strong bittersweet notes that you would expect from a Negroni.

In Conclusion
As the Seagram’s flavoured gins go, this is one of the weaker ones; the orange flavours are a bit artificial. I’m not, personally, a fan of orange flavoured white spirits, mainly because you can get a fuller, more pleasant orange flavour into a cocktail by a host of other means.

My favourite drink was the Negroni.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Lime Twisted Gin

For the third installment of Seagram’s Sunday, the focus is on a Twisted gin of a flavour more commonly associated with the spirit: lime. Often found garnishing Gin & Tonics, lime can often be found in flavoured gins, with Beefeater making one in the 1990s.

1) Own
Nose: Simple, straight-forward, zesty lime.
Taste: Quite strong on the spirit, but not too many of the gin notes come through. Fortunately, though, there is a fair bit of lime, too, which is zesty and fresh. This reminded me somewhat of a creamy key lime pie.

2) Gin & Tonic
Very lively, like a Gin & Tonic with added Rose’s Lime cordial. I thought this was quite nice, authentic and not very artificial, making it a good variation on a classic drink. Very tasty.

3) Martini
This reminds me of a Key Lime Martini or a cross between a Martini and Gimlet; either way, I am rather fond of it. There were strong notes of lime, juniper and a touch of cream. I’d certainly have this again.

4) Negroni
A pretty standard, classic Martini. Funnily enough, the lime didn’t come through very much and added very little to the drink. That said, it wasn’t bad at all.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Raspberry Twisted Gin

For the second edition of Seva’s Seagram’s Sunday, I shall feature another of their Twisted flavoured gins; perhaps an unlikely candidate, Raspberry. The results of the tasting were also slightly unlikely/unexpected.

Historically, Raspberry Gin doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact. Recently, the Scottish Edinburgh Gin company brought out a Raspberry Gin using Perthshire Raspberries, although this was more of raspberry gin liqueur, somewhat akin to sloe gin.

The Taste

On its own:
Nose: Minimal nose, but a hint of vanilla and raspberry jam.
Taste: Quite smooth, but very sweet (like the middle of a raspberry jam/jelly doughnut). There were also hints of raspberry ripple ice-cream, white chocolate and the rose of turkish delight. All-in-all, rather confectionery.

Gin & Tonic
Jammy raspberry flavours come through strongly, along with a hint of vanilla. This isn’t a typical Gin & Tonic, but, once again, was very tasty. It also had a slightly bitter finish.

Martini
This seemed to be an odd mix, being rather creamy for a Martini, but it wasn’t wholly unpleasant, especially if you fancy a raspberry-ripple Martini with a sweet, jammy, creamy finish. Quite nice.

Negroni
I never thought that I would like this, nor that it would work, but I do and it does. The gin brings an added creaminess to the drink, which works well with the raspberry and traditional Negroni flavours. The bitterness gradually grows and this was so tasty that Mrs. B (not a Campari fan) liked it. This also works well on the Negroni sorbet.

In Conclusion
This gin was a genuine surprise; I hadn’t expected much, but it is definitely my favourite of the current Seagram’s Twisted range. Of the cocktails that I tried, the Negroni was easily my favourite.

Seagram’s Sunday – Seagram’s Apple Twisted Gin

This is the first of nine installments where I will be featuring products from Seagram’s Gin. Before we crack on, I need to offer my profound thanks to Seva in the US for sending me a rather lovely selection of these gins, as well as a number of other interesting products; this series of articles is dedicated to him.

 

Released in 2007, Seagram’s Twisted Apple is part of the company’s fruit-flavoured gin range, which also includes gins with flavours of: orange, lime, raspberry and purple grape. Flavoured gins used to be all the rage, starting off with cordial gins in the 1930s and moving on to more contemporary flavoured dry gins in the 1980s and ‘90s. In days gone by, almost all of the big names, including Gordons, Beefeater and Plymouth, all made flavoured gins.

Apple Gin, interestingly enough, was once very popular in England and Scotland. I looked at recreating it and some cocktails here. As such, I was intrigued to try Seagram’s Twisted Apple; here are my thoughts.

On its own:
Nose: Strong apple, followed by a little almond. It seems a touch sour.
Taste: Initially, there was the flavour of slightly oxidised, cut apple, then some vanilla, although the flavour seems rather artificial; in my opinion, it needs to be fuller and more genuine. The gin is quite sweet with a particular note of sweetness at the end.

Gin & Tonic
Juicy apple flavours make themselves known from the outset, along with a touch of almond bitterness. This reminded me of Appletizer or Apple Tango (apple soda). Although this was far from a “classic” Gin & Tonic, I found it to be a refreshing drink that was quite tasty.

Martini
Very flavourful: apples, vanilla, almond and even a hint of coconut! As fruit martinis go, this was quite good; the vermouth brought out some complexity in the spirit, including more notes of  spiced apple. A fair drink, but not one for the traditionalists.

Negroni
Like the other cocktails, this had a strong apple nose. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this cocktail, but I thought it was really quite good, being bittersweet, with an overlay of juicy apple flavour. A genuine surprise, but a very pleasant one, indeed.

In Conclusion
I was more impressed with Seagram’s Twisted Apple Gin than I had anticipated myself being (I think their apple vodka is pretty horrible) and, although it needs to mixed to bring out it’s best qualities, I think that some drinks, like the Negroni, I’d very happily mix and drink again.