Tarquin’s Navy Strength Dry Gin Reviewed by Honest Tom
“Is it just a bottle? Nah, it is more than a bottle! But is it? Ohhhhh FAAACKKK!!”. This is the dilemma that runs through my brain each time I purchase a new gin. The bottles are always so pretty and enticing but much of the time, the substance of the gin itself is sub-par. A bottle gives me the same rush that I get from seeing the bare ankle of a lady, only to look up and see Paul O’Grady dressed as Lily Savage. I say Lily Savage, because not all of the bottles are that bad. For example, I could compare the bottle to the ankle Kerry Katona, perish the thought. Unlike Katona’s hunter gatherer quest to scavenge through half discarded packets of Iceland frozen chips, Tarquin’s is about as far as you will get from anything in Iceland. Let me start with the positives. The bottle is very pretty and I am always a big fan of a wax seal. Not that I mean to give it all away, but the gin is very nice. Having set this up in a nice fashion, allow me to now destroy Tarquin’s. Readyyyyy, go!
I am a massive fan of Navy Strength gin. For those of you not in the know, Navy Strength refers to gins which are 57% in abv. This is the volume of alcohol needed to ignite gunpowder. I love the story, and I am yet to be disappointed with any Navy Strength incarnation. I recently tried Plymouth Navy Strength Gin which was stunningly smooth and full of bright citrus; Edinburgh’s Cannonball Navy Stength is very special, and Bathtub Navy Strength is on a whole different level of incredible. So here’s the kicker: Tarquin’s Navy Strength is just very normal. This is not to say that it is bad. The gin tastes good, just a bit non-descript. There is little about it which tells me that “THIS IS TARQUIN’S!!” or that it is even a Navy Strength gin. The stand out feature of the gin is definitely its finish which is fucking glorious. It is beautifully spicy and with great sweet notes. Tarquin’s website includes no information on their Navy Strength but I am assuming that the sweetness is a direct result of the citrus peels and violets which are distilled in the gin and the “naturally sweet” Cornish water which is used to dilute the gin. Whatever it is, it is delicious.
The stand out feature of the gin is definitely its finish which is fucking glorious. It is beautifully spicy and with great sweet notes.
Now dilution. Quel surprise, don’t bother. Tarquin’s website talks about the “Quin and Tonic” which is one-part Tarquins to Four-parts tonic. WHY!!?? Spare me the bullshit, I want to taste the gin. The “Quin and Tonic” will taste of nothing other than tonic. Tonic is the anti-Christ. It is worse than Hitler, Bankers and middle management, Rolex wearing, pink-shirted men combined. This dilution, will mean that you are drinking the most expensive Fevertree tonic known to man. Tarquin’s Navy strength gin cannot withstand dilution so I dread to think what Tarquin’s original gin would be like upon dilution. Just chuck it on ice and keep reliving the twist in the tale which is that epic finish. I have watched Inception, The Sixth Sense and American Psycho countless times, but nothing made me cheer in quite the same way as when I tasted Tarquin’s Navy strength and discovered that about 30 seconds later, I didn’t hate it.
Tarquin’s is a pretty bottle and a good gin. I paid £22 for a 35cl bottle which is definitely too much, but I regret nothing. It is great that Southwestern Distillery give you the opportunity to buy a Navy Strength gin in half bottles. I had been debating whether to purchase their gin for ages and I will drink it happily in the knowledge that my curiosity has been satisfied. However, next time you are in Lidl, instead of doing what I have done, why not buy a litre of Hampstead London Dry gin for £21. It is incredible and has a flavour intensity which makes Navy Strength gin appear redundant. Great consumer advice there. If the CBBC are reading this and would like to sign me up to present a re-booted edition of child consumer watchdog show: “Short Change” then please get in touch. Thanks Hit Squad!!
You can buy Tarquin’s Navy Strength Gin at The Whisky Exchange, DrinkSupermarket.com or on Amazon.