The Whisky Exchange
Product of: United Kingdom
Launched in 2000, Tanqueray No. Ten Gin is based on the traditional Tanqueray botanical recipe but with unusual extras such as camomile and fresh grapefruit. It takes its name from the distillery's number 10 still, known as Tiny Ten.
Dating back to the 30s, this small pot still was originally used as an experimental or trial-run still. Unlike its bigger brothers Tiny Ten is heated by a steam jacket as opposed to the steam coils found in the base of the larger stills.
Tiny Ten is used for the first distillation of Tanqueray No. Ten, which produces the citrus spirit known as the 'citrus heart' of No. Ten. Wheat grain neutral spirit is distilled with fresh hand chopped Florida oranges, Mexican limes and grapefruits to produce this essence. This use of fresh fruit rather than dried peels is most unusual and is thought to contribute Tanqueray No. Ten's fresh citrus led style.
The second and final distillation takes place in the larger vintage 'Old Tom' No. 4 still. This is charged with the citrus heart previously distilled in Tiny Ten and wheat neutral spirit. Tanqueray's four traditional botanicals (juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice) are added, along with camomile flowers and quartered fresh limes.
While the juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice come from the same sources as those used in standard Tanqueray production, their proportions differ and many will be surprised to learn that there is a greater proportion of juniper in Tanqueray Ten than Tanqueray Special Dry.
Another important aspect of Tanqueray No. Ten's distillation is the low percentage of spirit retained as 'the cut' for the finished product. Typically (for example, with Special Dry) 90% of the total spirit is captured as the cut, implying that around 10% is discarded as 'heads' (the first spirit to run off the still) and 'tails' (the last spirit to run off the still). In contrast, during distillation of Tanqueray No. Ten, only around 60% of the spirit makes the cut: approximately 40% is discarded.
This is because the all important fresh citrus character is at its most intense and characterful within the first part of the run so a large percentage of the end of the run is discarded as tails. This also avoids the adverse flavours that can develop as botanicals 'stew' with spirit in the bottom of the still making their way into the final product. The cut leaves the still at 82% alc./vol. and blended with other batches to ensure a consistent product before being reduced to bottling strength with distilled water.
Sampled on 20/01/2013
Spruce-like juniper, pink grapefruit and camomile with complex spice.
Wonderfully rounded palate is incredibly silky considering its heady alcoholic strength. Juniper is integrated with freshly squeezed lemon, orange and zesty pink grapefruit while white pepper and coriander spice add depth.
All these flavours continue through the long, almost creamy, sherbety finish.
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