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First Taste: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

Gin seems to have taken a back seat to vodka in recent times. One needs only visit their local package store to see this. The vodka section takes up the whole aisle: vodkas infused with every conceivable berry, fruit, or spice; unheard-of brands in bizarrely shaped bottles, trying in vain to jump on the “premium” bandwagon started by the Grey Goose; twelve flavors of Absolut, thirteen Stolis, and as many as seventeen Smirnoffs.

And then there’s the gin corner, full of stodgy stalwarts like Beefeater… Gordon’s… Tanqueray… and Bombay Sapphire in the plastic bottle. The message is clear: vodka is the spirit of the young and the restless. Gin is what hobos buy and people make in their bathtub.

Perhaps because of this, Tanqueray has recently introduced Rangpur, its first attempt at a flavored gin. It’s not infused like most vodkas are, the Rangpur limes are distilled into the spirit. It has a lower alcohol content than traditional Tanqueray, perhaps part of the distillation process or perhaps to help it sell — the company doesn’t seem to have a launched a major campaign for it. In fact, it’s not even mentioned on the Tanqueray website.

Obviously, the important question is… how does it taste? Unfortunately, I do not have the discerning palate that Ouroboros does, so you will have to bear with me as I describe it. Perhaps the best way is to compare Rangpur to their signature London Dry Gin.

Let’s face it: most gin smells a little bit closer to a pine tree air freshener than we’d like to admit, and Tanqueray is no exception. It has a sharp but warm and inviting flavor, and fairly clean aftertaste. There are hints of other botanicals, but the juniper does dominate the spirit. Tanqueray is 94.6 proof, making it noticeably stronger than the 80 proof that many alcohols have standardized on.

Now for the Rangpur. The scent is nowhere near as harsh; it’s as though the gin put on some citrus deodorant to mask that evergreen smell. It’s 82.6 proof (a 6% difference in ABV, for you math majors), which probably contributes a bit to that subdued fragrance. That difference also makes it a bit smoother to drink. Still warm and inviting, it’s less harsh, and finishes with a lime aftertaste that lingers for just a while.

Tanqueray Rangpur is priced slightly higher in comparison to the London Dry, and the decrease in alcohol adversely affects its Bodine Value. I’m not sure I care. Though I’ve been drinking it straight, it feels like it might make a better gin and tonic than the London. At the very least, it’s worth a shot if you’re a fan of gin. And if you’re not a fan of gin…. hmm… well?