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Old Tom Gin

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Hi All.... Does anyone out there have a recipe (formula) for Old Tom Gin that they could share ???... Ive come across a couple really old articles but they are pretty vague .... Appreciate any help!!.... Thanxxx...Brian :)

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Hey Brian,

There seem to be essential 3 styles of Old Tom - all have greater botanical intensity then normal gin.

1) Sugar sweetened

2) Botanical sweetened (liquorice)

3) Ould Tom Gin (think Ransom or Downslope) - a sort of gin/old tom/jenever combination.

For the first one the Gordon's Old Tom Gin just used to be their regular gin with cane sugar added (they even advertised the fact).

As a botanical base I would look at:

Base

Juniper

Coriander Seed

Angelica Root

Liquorice

Using 40-50% more than in a normal gin.

and then your modifier; could be floral like lavender or something could be spice like cinnamon/cassia etc.

Hope this helps.

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Licorice is a good flavor for a sweetened spirit, but is not sweet itself. In fact, it is a bitter, which is why in formulas that use licorice, you may need to add sugar. This is different than anise or star anise, both which tend to perceptually sweeten the spirit, even without sugar.

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Licorice is a good flavor for a sweetened spirit, but is not sweet itself. In fact, it is a bitter, which is why in formulas that use licorice, you may need to add sugar. This is different than anise or star anise, both which tend to perceptually sweeten the spirit, even without sugar.

Specifically I'm referring to powdered liquorice root which at least two UK Old Tom Gins use to sweeten their gin although it is noticeably more subtle than cane sugar.

I agree on the anise being sweet but all the liquorice distillates I have are sweet too, powdered liquorice root when tasted is also pretty sweet which is why British all used to sell the roots to chew on. I'm pretty sure that liquorice means "sweet root".

It's an interesting contradiction and I'm keen to know more, are you talking about licorice root? - Glycyrrhiza glabra

I like the idea of an anise old tom though.

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Yes, I am talking about regular licorice root. Unless the powdered licorice root has a sweetener added (and some commercial versions do), licorice does not taste very sweet on its own. If you chew licorice root, initially it is very bitter. After a while, the characteristic licorice flavor appears, and a sweetness can be perceived, and then a numbing. The source of the sweetness is the compound glycyrrhizin, which is nominally fifty times sweeter than sugar, but the perception of the sweetness is more of an aftertaste that is not immediately there, but lingers long after exposure. Unfortunately, glycyrrhizic acid is also toxic, and is the reason why licorice consumption is limited, as well as the quantity that can be put into spirits. You can get high concentrations of oils from anise and fennel to make a fairly sweet spirit, but you should not impart high concentrations of licorice or you may exceed limits for glycyrrhizic acid. Peoples perception of the sweetness of licorice root vary, mostly likely a genetic predisposition.

We do use licorice root in our gin to provide a bittersweet aftertaste. It is more likely to be perceived after finishing a sip, rather than while drinking, we find.

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Ah some good info Bluestar, thanks for that. Have you ever looked at creating an Old Tom Gin?

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Ah some good info Bluestar, thanks for that. Have you ever looked at creating an Old Tom Gin?

We are considering it. Right now we have two odd gins, both are single distillations off of mash, using a plated column, and with most botanicals in the still head. One is based on our corn whiskey mash, the other is based on a pure malt mash. The latter is our version of a "genever", the former is our "railroad" gin. We have been considering different formulas for more traditional redistilled gins, including a london dry style, an american dry on whiskey base, and an old tom. The latter has been a conundrum, because we don't want to do something like Ransom (which our genever is not so far from) or Hayman's. We are thinking it should be sweetened with some sugar (there is enough historical precedence for it) like Hayman's, and we are thinking it should be pot still based, double distilled.

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So here is an interesting development... I have been waiting on label approval for my "Old Tom Gin" for over a month now... on Tuesday I got an email from the TTB that stated I needed to make corrections based on the age statement on the label (ie "OLD ) ...see below The age statement on your BRAND label must be further qualified to include the length of time the product was aged. Example: Aged in new oak barrels for 18 months. 27 CFR § 4.38(f);(27 CFR 5.40) Or change the brand name in item 6 step 2 of application to "Old"-refer to 27CFR, 5.40(e)(1)(2) After sending them a barrage of emails and phone calls to no avail I finally threw up my hands and sent in a correction...I didn't change anything but I put the following note to the specialist in the box provided ...

According to CFR 27, 5.22 © Standards of Identity "Old Tom Gin" is a type of gin ... Old has nothing to do with age ....

© Class 3; gin. “Gin” is a product obtained by original distillation from mash, or by redistillation of distilled spirits, or by mixing neutral spirits, with or over juniper berries and other aromatics, or with or over extracts derived from infusions, percolations, or maceration of such materials, and includes mixtures of gin and neutral spirits. It shall derive its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries and be bottled at not less than 80° proof. Gin produced exclusively by original distillation or by redistillation may be further designated as “distilled”. “Dry gin” (London dry gin), “Geneva gin” (Hollands gin), and “Old Tom gin” (Tom gin) are types of gin known under such designations.

Today I received a response again saying that I needed to provide an age statement .... Total craziness!!!!!!! As you are supposedly not allowed to use age statements on Gin !!! Hooray for The Government ...Our Tax dollars hard at work !!.. Any thoughts ????.... thanxxx...Brian

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Hey Brian,

There seem to be essential 3 styles of Old Tom - all have greater botanical intensity then normal gin.

1) Sugar sweetened

2) Botanical sweetened (liquorice)

3) Ould Tom Gin (think Ransom or Downslope) - a sort of gin/old tom/jenever combination.

For the first one the Gordon's Old Tom Gin just used to be their regular gin with cane sugar added (they even advertised the fact).

As a botanical base I would look at:

Base

Juniper

Coriander Seed

Angelica Root

Liquorice

Using 40-50% more than in a normal gin.

and then your modifier; could be floral like lavender or something could be spice like cinnamon/cassia etc.

Hope this helps.

Thanxxx verymuch for the info David and Bluestar ... I decided to go somewhere in the middle with a gin sweetened with botanicals and sugar ... I opted for a little light on the juniper but heavy on the cloves , cinnamon, and licorice ...AWESOME for cocktails !!!...

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Brian,

First, since the standard of identity recognizes “Old Tom Gin” as a type of gin, you are correct; when you use the term “old” in the way you do, you are making a type claim type and not an age claim. Further, one of the citations TTB provided to you, 27CFR, 5.40(e) (2), provides as follows:

If any age, maturity, or similar representation is made relative to any distilled spirits (such representations for products enumerated in paragraph (d) of this section are prohibited), the age shall also be stated on all labels where such representation appears, and in a manner substantially as conspicuous as such representation: Provided. That the use of the word “old” or other word denoting age, as part of the brand name, shall not be deemed to be an age representation. [My emphasis]

“Old Thom” is not a brand name, but if it were it would be considered a representation that the gin has age. It is a very small reach to conclude that if you can use “old” in the brand name for a gin and TTB will not deem it to be an age representation, then you can use it in a statement of class and type that conforms to a standard set forth in §5.22 and it will not be deemed to be an age statement. That is good, because as the above section points out, §5.40(d) includes the following prohibition: “Age, maturity, or similar statements or representations as to … gin … are prohibited from being stated on any label.” That is a straight forward, unambiguous statement that can hardly be misconstrued. But we need to whisper it, because many crafty people out there have slipped labels by TTB’s scrutiny and it is easy to find gin labels that make reference to “age” in TTB’s Public COLA Registry. I believe aged gin was even a category in one of the recent contests for craft distillers’ products.

What can I say? TTB has a total of 500 employees, only a small fraction of them deal with the labels that are submitted for approval and they are drowning in paper. The situation is only exacerbated by person like those who have advocated on forums like this that you submit 50 labels for a product and see what you can get to stick.

However, slipping an age statement by a TTB specialist and having one demand that you state a period of aging are quite different situations. Here, if I were going to offer a defense, I would refer you to the provision for class and type statements that apply to beer. You will find, “The class of the malt beverage shall be stated and, if desired, the type thereof may be stated. Statements of class and type shall conform to the designation of the product as known to the trade.” That’s basically it. TTB has appended a few other provisions, but they come in at about one page. I would argue that is the extent of the government’s interest. The rest of it, I have concluded, is regulation that industry members have asked for to gain a leg up on the competition, delivering as a consequence a very complicated set of rules that certainly do not inform the consumer, baffle persons not intimately familiar with them, and even confound the TTB employees who are supposed to ensure that nothing gets approved that should not be approved.

If you doubt my contention that a fair share of the blame falls on industry’s shoulders, take a look at the battles over the definition of whiskey. I’m working with someone on an article that will examine the genesis of the new oak requirement for American type whiskey. From my perspective, it had little to do with consumer protection and much to do with intra-industry battles waged to give those who produced straight whisky an advantage over rectifiers, who in terms of volume, were kicking the straight products’ collective butt in the marketplace. But that is another story, just as is unaged whiskey.

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I need to make a correction. The word "not" got dropped from what I wrote in one sentence. The first sentence of the third paragrph should read, "Old Thom” is not a brand name, but if it were it would NOT be considered a representation that the gin has age. Sorry. My editing skills are sometimes wanting.

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I need to make a correction. The word "not" got dropped from what I wrote in one sentence. The first sentence of the third paragrph should read, "Old Thom” is not a brand name, but if it were it would NOT be considered a representation that the gin has age. Sorry. My editing skills are sometimes wanting.

Correct, our "Railroad" gin is "Old No 176 TM" brand name, referring to the engine it is named after and pictured on the bottle. It is not a statement of age. I wonder if it is possible that Left Turn put the "Old Tom Gin" designation in an incorrect field in the application? I have seen that derail an application before. But he likely needs to speak to a TTB officer to clarify.

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Hey Derrick ...That would be a negative.... I did submit 2 applications though ..one with Old Tom Gin not on the application as it is the type of gin , and another with Old Tom Gin being listed as the fanciful name ... same response on both ...I would love to be able to talk to the TTB ... Been waiting a week now for them to return calls or emails..... :(

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Latest News..... After 10 days of no response from the TTB I received an email from the specialist assigned... She basically explained why we couldn't use "old" on the label without an age statement... I replied and pasted in the section from CFR27 5.22 ( C ) that allows for Old Tom Gin... About ten minutes later I received a response that said " We apologize for the confusion and will approve you labels" .... LABELS APPROVED about ten minutes later...Hoorah!!!!

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Latest News..... After 10 days of no response from the TTB I received an email from the specialist assigned... She basically explained why we couldn't use "old" on the label without an age statement... I replied and pasted in the section from CFR27 5.22 ( C ) that allows for Old Tom Gin... About ten minutes later I received a response that said " We apologize for the confusion and will approve you labels" .... LABELS APPROVED about ten minutes later...Hoorah!!!!

A rare victory, amigo! I will savor it vicariously through you.

Sorry to have missed you last Saturday. I apparently need to stop by on a more opportune day, but the wife only has weekends off. You ever there on weekends?

Nick

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Hey Nick.. I am usually here on weekends and evenings and mornings ( you know how that is)... Give me a call or text ..Since its just me I have to do all the running around and picking stuff up...Thanxxx...BRian

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