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Porters Tropical Old Tom Gin Review

This gin I found while I was on holiday a couple weeks ago, back home, well nearly home, down in Plymouth. I've done a video about it and Barbican Botanics, the gin room there, they have this gin. Bar Matt was kind of keen to let me try this one.

Now, this as I say, I found it down there, it's from completely the other end of the UK. This is up in Aberdeen, in Scotland but Doreen and Warren that own Barbican Botanics Room are from Aberdeen, so I see the connection there. But I was really intrigued because when Matt got me to try, I instantly fell in love. It's a completely different style of gin. It's an old tom variant of gin. But it's completely different sort of fruity, kind of flavour of gin then what I've had before. So it instantly took me. As I say it's tropical.

Let's give you a quick insight to what the actual tropical means. It's passion fruit, guava and white tea along side other traditional botanicals. But I'm going to tell you all about it.

So to do the research for this video, I contacted them via Instagram. Didn't really know anything too much about them at all other they were from Aberdeen. They're lovely guys. Thank you Josh. Thank you Martin. Sorry if there's others of you involved but you're the two guys that kind of responded to me.

It fits. It just makes complete sense. In my world, I get to hear about quite a few famous bars and bartenders and all this kind of thing. This is the brainchild of the guys that own the Orchid Bar up in Aberdeen. It's one of the famous bars in UK, trend setting for cocktails. And I found out through the research they've got a small sort of distillery in the basement of their bar area there. They're into their cocktails. They're into their kind of mixology and they wanted to create some spirits, not just gins but some spirits that they could use in their cocktails behind the bar.

They came up with Porters, this brand of gin. This is their second gin. They've got a London dry. I didn't look too much for it but they've got their traditional dry. But then their second start up gin was this tropical old tom.

Now Josh gave me the details of how they kind of distil and produce this. And this was a very new one to me as well. The way they make this is cold distilling. And interestingly ever since I found that out a couple of weeks ago when Josh emailed me, actually I found two other gins now that have gone down this route of cold distilling. And it basically means distilling at different temperatures. These guys, Porters, they distilled their botanicals individually. I'll run you through the botanicals in a minute, but they distil them all at different sort of temperatures to get the best out of them.

They've got 13 botanicals in total. 10 of them get distilled in a traditional kind of fashion and then they've got these other three that they macerate individually, the passion fruit, the guava and the white tea. And they macerate the fruit, macerate them individually and then distil them at very low different temperatures. So those botanicals retain their juiciness if you like.

Then what they do, once they've got those kind of individual distillates, they kind of store them up. They don't make what you would term in the gin world as batches. I've talked about batches before in other gin videos. These guys just keep producing all the individual distillates and then build up the stock piles then bottle when ready. So bottle batches can be anything as they said, anything from 1,000 bottles at a time to 12,000 bottles at a time, whatever they need because they're keeping these individual distillates just ready and waiting whenever they want them. And I think that is a really cool way, it's a new age way, of producing gin. I think it's brilliant.

What Botanicals are in Porters Tropical Old Tom Gin?

So just to quickly run you through the other botanicals that go into this. Pretty common botanicals going in there.

  • juniper,

  • coriander,

  • angelica,

  • orris,

  • cinnamon,

  • cassia,

  • lemon,

  • orange,

  • licorice,

  • almond.

They're the kind of 10 botanicals that are distilled traditionally as you would like and then, as I say, you've got these other three that are distilled at low temperatures

  • passion fruit,

  • guava

  • white tea.

So you guys want to know what it tastes like. What it smells like. So, let's crack the bottle. Now, this is actually bottle number four for me in the last three weeks or so. This is how much we've gone through. It's been an instant hit on my gin tastings and a couple of events that I've done.

Just off the nose, you do, you get the tropicalness absolutely hits you straight away. There's no denying that. I get a very, very subtle hint of juniper. Not much else. It's that burst of fruit that kind of hits me. Actually what I get is kind of reminiscent of pineapple even though there's not pineapple in there. But it's absolutely lovely.

Let's get on and taste it. See if the smells open up any different in glass. Actually probably the juniper comes off a little bit more but I still get that big burst of fruit.

I tell you, it's lovely. What I get off that, no spiciness at all, no kind of gin heat if you like. I can't taste any peppers or anything like that coming off there. There's a little bit of a bite, tiny bit of a bite from the juniper but it very quickly mellows out. And you get this, actually it's changing in the back of my throat now. What I got at first, was definitely the passion fruit first and foremost. But now as it lingers, I get the little bit of guava, definitely guava, I've used guava juice quite a lot and know what guava tastes like. Get the guava but actually the tea comes through and I'm getting that little after taste come through there. It is a really intriguing gin to drink neat, actually it really is.

I'm not sure if it's a martini gin, whether you would drink that neat with a bit of vermouth, not kind of sure. But I instantly get why the guys up at Orchid, up at their cocktail bar, why they have created this because I can instantly tell that it's going to make a great base for not just the gin and tonic. But cocktails as well which is vitally important to their trade.

My price was about 26 pounds plus VAT from Master of Malt. So I'm guessing your price is going to be about 34 pounds, 35 pounds maybe. It is definitely a gin to add to your collection. Instantly gone into my top 10. I was going to say top five, close but instantly got into my top 10 gins that I need to have in my collection.

Which tonic waters you can play about with that work quite well this. I've had a really good play with this. I've had this...well, this is my fourth bottle now. I've had this for about three...four weeks, maybe? Played about there. Lots of gin tasting nights, also, here and a couple of cocktail master classes I've done with hen parties. I've tried this with quite a few tonic waters, and here are my favourites. So...I'll leave my favourite, my out and out favourite, until last. We'll go straight in for my second place one.

I'm going for a whole sorta Mediterranean vibe again. I said this in the last video, which was the Sipsmith orange and cacao one.




There's a couple of ways you play this, actually. As I've said, Fever-Tree's Mediterranean, they're refreshingly light. Those little cans. I'm not a huge fan of the refreshingly light. It's stripped back the flavour for me. So, I instantly, kind of, discount that for me. If you really love that, this is going to work a treat. But for me, I like just a touch more sweetness, and so I'm going to get rid of that. So, we've got these two. Again, I can't really split them. This is Fever-Tree's full fat mediterranean. And this is Merchant's Heart's floral tonic, which I absolutely love. Just shading it for me, very very slightly, is Merchant's Heart. Purely because of the little bit of flavour, and the extra fizziness. Merchant's Heart, absolutely nailed the fizziness, the effervescence, which just brings a gin and tonic to life for me. So, that's the kind of Mediterranean kind that works exceptionally, exceptionally well with that gin. So, we've got that one.


The second tonic water, that I'm going to play about with, is Fever-Tree's elderflower tonic water. I haven't actually got a bottle of their full fat one, but the refreshingly light did actually work quite well. Kind of like that, just a very subtle of elderflower come through there for me. I've got a sneaky suspicion, that for my own personal palate, the normal, tradition Fever-Tree elderflower is going to be a lot lot better. But those two worked very well, hand in hand, together. So, that's the second one.


The third one, which one should we go now? We'll go that one. This was just as a finished drink, not necessarily a gin and tonic, and bringing out botanicals in the gin, but as a finished drink, Lixir's elderflower with a hint of lemon. Just exceptional. An amazing finished gin and tonic drink. You can't go wrong with that. Garnish that with, maybe pineapples, passion fruit, something like that. Absolutely amazing. Lixer...drop links in the show notes where you can get that from. It's slowly coming out in Newcastle; to you lads up in Newcastle, slowly getting out there. Keep an eye on them. It works very, very well.


Fourth one, that again. Franklin & Sons, this is rhubarb and hibiscus. This is quite...not bitter, don't really want to say the word 'bitter', but this is more of a traditional tonic water, with a slight hint of flavour than in our fruity rhubarb tonic water, for instance. So that works very well hand in hand. Just adds a different layer and complexity of fruit with that gin. I think the rhubarb, hibiscus, the slightly flower of floral, just really compliments that. Again, a lovely, lovely finished drink.



But, my two to pick out that botanicals, and to really bring this gin to life. In second place, I absolutely loved this combination. This is Merchant's Heart pink peppercorn. The peppercorns just bounce off the fruity flavour. I often use this with fruity gins. The strawberry, raspberry gins. Really, kind of, adds that kind of little diverse taste to it. It's just amazing. No exception to this one. Really, really works well. For me, brought out the passion fruit even more in that. So, I absolutely love that.

But, as an out and out classic gin and tonic, you cannot go wrong with Schweppes 1783 in there. Just plain and simple, let the gin do the work. In there is bags of flavour, in that gin. It just works exceptionally well. So, that, again, garnished with a passion fruit, that is my way to drink it. But, I think, do you know what? Because I do like a little bit of extra flavour, I'm not necessarily all about making the gin do all of the work. So, as a finished drink, Merchant's Heart pink peppercorn is absolutely superb.



So, that's been my top tonic waters. Let me know which ones you've tried and how you work. I know a lot of you are people who would have this, maybe as a light. Fever-Tree light tonic water, or something like that. Let me know in the comments

Right. Let's get into the cocktails. Three very easy to make, absolutely lovely cocktails. One's fun and fruity, the other two rely more on the flavour of the gin. So, I'm going to get straight into it.

The first cocktail ... As I've already mentioned, if you guys have watched me over and over again, you all know that I am terrible at naming cocktails. So, I default to this one as just a gin and juice. God knows, come up with a name, and we'll go from there.


  • 35ml Porters Gin

  • 25ml Lemon Juice

  • 15ml Sugar

  • 50ml Pineapple & Grapefruit Juice

  • Shake

  • Top with Franklin & Sons Pineapple & Cardamom Soda Water

  • Garnish it with a little sprig. Little sprig, little wedge of pineapple, and that is gin and juice. A fun and fruity kind of gin and juice.


  • 50ml Porters Gin

  • 25ml Lemon Juice

  • 15ml Sugar


  • Crown with Crème de Mure

  • Garnish with a Blackberry…or a Passion Fruit


  • 50ml Tropical Gin

  • 15ml Lustau Blanco Sherry Based Vermouth

  • 50ml Franklin & Sons Guava and Lime Soda

  • 75ml Prosecco

  • Add Ice and Stir

Let me know what your favourite is, what you're going to try, what you loved.

AND…If you're going to buy this gin let me know.


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