Zuidam Dutch Courage Old Tom’s Gin
Aren’t Sundays usually reserved for an article/review about genever? Indeed, you’re right. But I felt compelled to review a gin for a change, albeit one that is closely related to genever. In fact Old Tom Gin served as something of a bridge between Dutch genever and the insanely popular London Dry Gin.
Old Tom Gin originates from a time when distilling techniques were still much more primitive, and sweetening a distillate at that time was more a necessity than a choice, as without a good amount of sugar, much of the early gins would’ve been close to undrinkable.
Dutch Courage Old Tom’s Gin is made at Zuidam Distillery in The Netherlands. It is traditionally made with 10 botanicals: juniper, elderflower, orris root, coriander, angelica, oranges, lemons, licorice root, cardamom, and vanilla beans.
The Dutch Courage matures for a small period of time in new American oak casks. Because quality bottles were rare in the 18th century, most Old Tom Gin was stored and transported in casks, and in many cases even poured from the cask. It is therefore likely that in those days, the oak imparted some of its qualities on the gin.
Zuidam Dutch Courage Old Tom’s Gin (40%, OB, Batch #2, 2016)
Nose: Nice fresh juniper notes, accompanied by coriander, and supported by a subtle layer of malt. It has a whisper of orange liqueur as well. Or maybe even a little more than ‘just’ a whisper. Nice, soft and well-integrated.
Taste: Immediately this strikes me as fairly sweet, with a good amount of brown sugar. The orange and citrus notes are profound. There’s a touch of ginger and vanilla too, as well coriander.
Finish: Lingering sweetness and juniper notes.
Very much to my liking, this should work well in classic cocktails from the 19th and early 20th century.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.