The final gin in our tasting was Cadenhead’s Old Raj Gin. The first thing you notice about Old Raj is its pale golden color. This unique color is imparted through the use of saffron added personally by the company chairman to assure consistency. Next you’ll encounter Old Raj’s notable strength. Bottled at 55% ABV or 110 proof in the US system Old Raj is one of the market’s highest proof gins (Plymouth Navy Strength is 57%). This higher than usual proof gives Old Raj a fiercer than normal burn, but interestingly the burn fades very quickly. The scent of Old Raj is equally powerful but very pleasant. The first note you pick up is juniper followed by a wonderful mix of the other botanicals.
The flavor…is fantastically bold and the botanicals shine through brilliantly. One of the tasters summed it up best when he said “Holy…Crap…” You get the juniper very strongly at the outset then it mellows slightly giving way to the other flavors. The next note that I picked up most was a nice flavor of cardamom. The finish on this gin is a warming juniper flavor that stays with you for quite some time.
The Raj is powerful mojo to be sure and it takes a special application to make it shine. Although it seems a bit counter intuitive due to its price ($60+) simple applications suit this gin well. I’ve tried it in both a Gin and Tonic and a Gimlet and found that it works extremely well in both. But these applications seem like a bit of a waste of the Raj. If you want to enjoy the subtleties of this, or any, gin try it straight up or on the rocks. You’ll be amazed at the complexity and flavors.
I couldn’t post this review without adding a choice picture. Jeff arrived at the tasting right as we were sampling the Old Raj and this is the fantastic result.