You’ll know if you’ve seen Sir Robin of Locksley gin before as it is a fairly lurid green bottle, and today’s gin – their VSOT, a navy strength Old Tom – is a similarly bright blue. Their signature gin is a half way point between an Old Tom and a London Dry style of gin (and was in last year’s Ginvent calendar), aimed to be sipped easily, but this is full Old Tom (the name stands for Very Special Old Tom). Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across an navy strength Old Tom before – and in my mind it seems a bit strange. Old Tom gins are traditionally sweeter, and I worry that the 57.5% ABV will knock some of that sweetness out of it.
So week two starts with a strong juniper nose, not very sweet though considering it is an Old Tom gin – presumably this is the navy strength coming out. In the glass this calms down and is very smooth; with some navy strength gins all you can smell is the alcohol but this smells ok. Which is usually a dangerous sign. On the tongue, it is quite sweet at first, but then the heat from the 57.5% kicks in and is like an explosion of pepper on your tongue. I quite like this. The sweetness is noticeable at the very beginning but this fades. The boy thinks this has a “woody flavour, not like I’ve just chewed twigs but more like here are some plants you should eat”. I have no idea what he means by this so we will quickly move on.
Regular readers will know I love an Old Tom, and a Tom Collins cocktail, but for blog purposes we’re mixing this today with Fentimans tonic and the sweeter notes are enhanced on the nose, and the intensity of the heat on the tongue dies down. It is still noticeable for sure but a thick, vanilla quality comes through. I think due to the navy strength, the juniper notes are more prominent which makes this taste more like a normal dry gin rather than an Old Tom. I really like it, but I wouldn’t be able to guess this was an Old Tom from tasting it. I bet the 57% will give it a good kick in a Tom Collins cocktail though.
You can buy a 70cl bottle of their VSOT gin for £54.90 on Gin Kiosk (at time of writing). I do like this, but not £55 worth. Yes, a navy strength is always pricier, but the mix of the high ABV and the Old Tom style just make for a normal tasting gin. I don’t think the Old Tom aspect enhances the gin much other than the sweetness helps to round out the harsher notes. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.