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Tanqueray's master distiller not impressed by new craft gins

Published:  24 April, 2014

Tom Nichol, Tanqueray's master distiller, is unimpressed with the raft of new gins from craft distillers being launched onto the market.

While Nichol admitted that "keeping gin in the limelight" was a good thing, he added that "it's not that easy to make".

Speaking to, he said: "People think they can make a gin just like that, but it's never going to happen. I haven't been blown away by any of these new gins. They're trying their very best, but I know how difficult it is to come up with something. When I compare Tanqueray 10 to any other gins, they don't come anywhere near it."

After taking 172 years to get Tanqueray 10 right, which in itself was a "bloody nightmare", Nichol says it's "very, very difficult" to make something new.

Nichol hinted about three upcoming launches from the Diageo-owned spirit, one of which should be released very soon. Although he could not reveal details about the activity, he said it involved another short run of 10,000 bottles, similar to the launch of Tanqueray Malacca spiced gin last year. At the time he said he would try to do something like that once a year. Limited production capacity at the distillery curtails too much experimentation, he said.

"My remit was quite clear, but it's taken me a year to get to this stage. I think it's fantastic - and it has to be right before I would say that," he said.    

While unimpressed with new gins, he believes flavours "will take off big style", and were an easier way for older gins to produce something different. He warned that adding flavours could "have a split effect", especially when added after distillation, as you could taste something "a bit artificial". But he said that "sometimes that's the only way to do it".

He also cautioned about some new gins looking to bump up the juniper content, and thus the alcohol or abv content. "It has to be balanced. If it's just juniper that will put people off gin entirely."