Bathtub Old Tom gin is a sweeter variation of the original from Ableforth’s (formerly Professor Cornelius Ampleforth)
Price: ~ £28 (50cl)
You can read more about the Bathtub gin brand in my review of the original Bathtub, so I won’t repeat myself here!
This is the first Old Tom I’d ever tried (and to be fair I’ve only tried two or three since as there aren’t a great many on the market) and… well here are my thoughts!
The bottle is the same as the original, except the picture on the label is that of a Tom Cat with a little top hat, obviously harking back to the days when these images were used to advertise gin dens in London. You’ll have to forgive the slightly tatty bottle! I’ve had this gin for a while now for the simple reason that I never want to finish it…
As I said in my Bathtub review, it stands out well, I like the design, and feel it fits perfectly with the gin inside the bottle.
On the nose there’s that lovely warming, sweet spice wafting out of the glass. There’s just so much depth to this, you really don’t need to get close before you can smell it, and you definitely get the sweetness too. It’s almost like a spiced orange dersert and much as I love it I can imagine some wondering whether this is going to taste more like a liqueur. It’s a heady scent for sure, but I absolutely love it.
Neat, Old Tom is thick, almost syrupy and as full of sweet spice as you can imagine from the smell. There’s plenty of cinnamon and even moreso cardamom (though it’s not specifically mentioned I feel certain it’s in there as it’s in the original), but the added sweetness doesn’t let it get at all sour. The orange works beautifully with it, giving a lovely citrus edge that is almost reminiscent of a sweet tea. I f*cking love this gin.
With a drop of water the flavours absolutely explode! Wowsers, I thought I would be complaining because I love it so much neat (and have never had it any other way) but this is absolutely incredible. The spices just expand on the tongue along with a beautiful fresh orange peel, all held in check by some slightly sour notes right at the back. For me, this has become less a tasting, more an experience.
Now, like Bathtub, I didn’t want to put this in a G&T and I am yet to get myself a bottle of Maraschino liqueur in order to make a Martinez which is what this gin is recommended for. So, I went for the other recommendation: a Tom Collins.
Two words: holy shit.
This is amazing, the lemon tones down all that sweetness some might find overpowering but allows room for all those spices to soar. This is one heck damn of a drink.
As I’ve said, I f*cking love this gin. It’s sat on my shelf, neglected, for ages because I’m one of those fools who, when I love something, try to make it last as long as possible instead of just drinking the bloody thing and buying more (actually one of the reasons I chose to review it now)!
For me, it’s incredible, but I do appreciate that from a ginny-gin-gin point of view, again, I can see why it might not hit the right notes for fans of a classic (though you also have to accept that an Old Tom is supposed to be sweeter and with those added flavours). So… I’m going to settle for giving this a full plume, because dammit if this isn’t my blog with my opinion!
If you’re curious as to what an Old Tom is like… buy this immediately. If you know what an Old Tom is like and want a good one… buy this immediately.
Remove up to one feather if you don’t like sweetness and spice, and all things nice.
Bathtub Old Tom is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.