Mackintosh Old Tom is a new release from Mackintosh Gin and features fresh pineapple and candy syrup.
Price: ~ £37
Jim, Deborah, and their three daughters make up the heart of Mackintosh gin, and a nicer gin family you’d be hard pushed to find! Jim and Deborah fell in love with gin and immersed themselves in the industry, before taking the leap into their own endeavour. Within two years they had gone from joking about making gin, to it being a reality, and Mackintosh gin was born.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jim and daughter Stephanie at Junipalooza in 2019 (though as I reached them fairly late in my journey and in a state of inebriation, I would hesitate to say the feeling was mutual!) and got to try their original (and at the time only) gin. I have been a fan ever since, and consider them some of the nicest folk on twitter to boot.
As a fan of Old Tom’s, I was very excited when they announced theirs (as well as their new Mariner Strength!), especially as it features pineapple! The final addition is candy syrup to add the all important sweetness.
The bottle is a fairly standard round shape with slightly angular shoulder and rounded base, and is surrounded by a crisp white label. Front and centre sits the brand logo, the Lover’s Knot, above the gin name. The Old Tom branding is done in yellow, and both the knot and the name are bordered with gold, giving it a nice little glint. Beneath that is the small batch handcrafted statement in script, and finally the batch/bottle number and ABV. On the right is a nice little suggestion for a perfect serve, above the usual legal info. On the left is a detailed blurb about the gin, and Jim’s signature as distiller. It may not have all the bells and whistles that some brands have, but it’s sharp, clean, and bold, which makes it really stand out. It has a simplicity I find really appealing.
Sweet citrus fruit is bright on the nose, along with a healthy dose of juniper and coriander. It’s super clean and fresh, and the pineapple just raises its head over the rest with that sticky, sweet, and heavy aroma that marks a perfectly ripe fruit. Along with that is a classically earthy floral note, finished up with a colourful sweet tone that’s somewhere between candy chewy and hard candy. Considering the abundance of citrus fruit in this gin, it’s not at all sharp, sour, or bitter, and frankly it’s an effort not to dive into the glass and start sipping! In short it smells divine.
Neat, the sweetness is right at the forefront of the flavour, quickly followed by a rush of every kind of citrus taste you can imagine. It is utterly mouthwatering, and almost overpoweringly flavoursome. I am reminded of an episode of the Simpsons where the family find themselves in Brazil. Homer walks up to a market stall and asks for a drink with all the sweetest Brazilian fruit mixed together. Upon drinking it, he pulls an expression of contentment. ‘Sweeeet.’ he says. Then the flavours begin to overpower him and, after eating some dirt to calm his tongue down, he falls into a drooling mess. Now, I’m certainly not saying this makes me want to eat dirt, but I’m sure you get my gist! There’s a lot of flavour to unpack here! The grapefruit has a wonderfully fresh presence, but what I think impresses me most is that despite all the competition, the elderflower is absolutely shining too. I am loving this gin.
With water, there’s still plenty of sweetness, and a little more room created to allow the orange and, in particular for me, lime to come through. There’s an earthier sense to the gin too, it’s a little deeper, more spread out. For me it’s like the flavours shoot straight up when it’s drunk neat, but with water the botanicals are allowed to change trajectory a little. In some cases, such as the other citrus, coriander, and angelica that’s good, but the pineapple and elderflower are definitely less prominent now.
Finally, as this is an Old Tom, I decided to go for a Tom Collins. The result is lovely and refreshing, with obviously a strong lemon flavour that’s beautifully backed up by all the other citrus fruits in the gin. The pineapple is noticeable to me, as is a hint of candy, making it a very flavourful drink. The lemon does a good job of cutting through the sweetness, and in a similar way I’m keen to try their suggested serve of lemonade and a citrus/pineapple wedge. The drink develops well too, with more and more of the flavours from the gin coming through over time, even to the point where I feel elderflower is an element. A lovely, sunshine-sipping drink which I think could be improved by replacing the sugar syrup with elderflower cordial (or perhaps St Germain?). Just thinking about this is getting me excited.
Mackintosh Old Tom is fabulous. Neat it is an absolute sensation, and I’d go so far as to describe it as an actual experience that I would recommend. Beyond that, it works incredibly well in a Tom Collins and I have no doubt would be equally good in other OT cocktails such as a Martinez. The use of pineapple is, in my opinion, inspired as a way to compliment the citrus nature of the original, and I am absolutely amazed that given the list of botanicals, the team have managed to get the delicate flavour of elderflower (one of my all time favourite flavours) to shine so brightly.
In my eyes this is nothing short of a triumph… but… I can most definitely see it being too sweet for some. I enjoy Old Toms, and sweet things, but even I consider this a sweet gin. Luckily for me, I love it, and I would absolutely recommend this as a must have Old Tom gin!
Remove up to one feather if you’re not a fan of sweet gin
Mackintosh Old Tom is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.