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What did you call it.....?

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

This is a blog post about the different sorts of gin…

Most of us have heard about a London Dry Gin but what about a Plymouth Gin, or a Navy Strength gin or a compound or a distilled gin, not to mention an Old Tom or a Genever.

What’s the difference? There are some elements of geography, some of standards, some history and a little something soaking it up in the corner.

It is a fascinating tale and I will not start from the beginning because the here and now involves mainly London Dry Gin and distilled gins. However to be a gin - the spirit must taste predominantly of juniper. It must also be a minimum of 37.5% ABV.

A London Dry gin does not have to be distilled in London - historically the London bit came in because the big gin distillers simply were based in London and it was an association by geography but not an absolute requirement. Essentially, ‘London dry’ gins are gins that are made from the distillation process and only have water added after the distillation process. In other words - add water and 96% alcohol and a bag of botanicals to the still, collect the result and dilute it to 40% and there you have a London Dry gin. (Trust me though - it’s not quite as easy as that!)

So London Dry gin doesn't have to come from London...

Then there is Plymouth gin. Which definitely used to have a protected geographical location - although I understand this was stopped in 2015, but essentially the gin should be distilled in Plymouth. So London dry gin can be distilled anywhere but Plymouth gin cannot. Confused yet?

Then there is Genever. Which has a malted base (old and young varieties of Genever options if you want to get close up and personal with the process - but given the use of malt and the smell resulting - I would be inclined to not get too close). Remember what I said in a previous blog about Dutch courage and Genever...

I wonder if Jack Lon