Gin is a white, light-bodied grain spirit (usually wheat or rye) flavored primarily with the highly aromatic blue-green berry of the juniper bush along with other botanicals such as anise seed, angelica root, cinnamon, orange peel, coriander, and cassia bark. All Gin makers have a unique combination of botanicals, the number of which can range from as few as four to as many as fifteen.
For detailed info regarding the aromatics used in gin click here.
London Dry Gin
London Dry is the dominant English style of Gin which lends itself particularly well to mixing. London Dry is made by taking a neutral grain spirit and redistilling after the addition of the flavouring agents - juniper berries and often small amounts of citrus botanicals like lemon and bitter orange peel. The legal definition of a London Dry Gin is that it must be an entirely distilled product, with the exception of a very small amount of permitted sugar, though this is not always present. In contrast, a London Gin has non-distilled additives.
Plymouth Gin is relatively full-bodied (when compared to London Dry Gin). It is clear, slightly fruity, and very aromatic. Plymouth Gin is a Protected Geographical Indication that pertains to any gin distilled in Plymouth, England. Today, there is but one brand, Plymouth, which is produced by the Black Friars Distillery. It is distinctively different and slightly less dry than the much more common London style of gin due to a higher than usual proportion of root ingredients, which bring a more 'earthy' feel to the gin as well as a softened juniper flavour. Originally the local Gin style of the English Channel port of Plymouth, modern Plymouth Gin is nowadays made only by one distillery in Plymouth, Coates & Co., which also controls the right to the term Plymouth Gin. The bottle depicts the ship- Mayflower, based upon the fact that when the Pilgrim Fathers set out for their journey to the new world, bad sea conditions and damage forced them to put into Plymouth harbour for shelter and essential repairs. Local tradition has it that some of them stayed in the monastery, which later became the distillery.
Old Tom Gin
Old Tom Gin is a botanically-intensive and lightly sweetened style of gin that was particularly popular in the 18th Century and was the Gin of Choice in the 19th Century. The style of Old Tom is renown for its botanical intensity balanced by a light sweetness, which imparts a more complex experience than other styles of gin. Old Tom Gin is distilled through the Pot distillation method- an ‘old-fashioned’ method which produces a cloudier, less refined yet more unique flavour. As a result, Old Tom Gin was lightly sweetened to mask any impurities and make a more palatable flavour. In comparison to London Dry Gin, the Old Tom style delivers a more rounded taste experience with depth. The distinctive Old Tom Gin profile is the key ingredient in classic gin cocktails such as the Martinez, Tom Collins and Ramos Gin Fizz.
The name comes from what may be the first example of a beverage vending machine. In the 1700s some pubs in England would have a wooden plaque shaped like a black cat (an "Old Tom") mounted on the outside wall. Thirsty passersby would deposit a penny in the cat’s mouth and place their lips around a small tube between the cat’s paws. The bartender inside would then pour a shot of Gin through the tube and into the customer’s waiting mouth. Until fairly recently limited quantities of Old Tom-style Gin were still being made by a few British distillers, but they were, at best, curiosity items.
Genever is the Dutch, and traditional, style of Gin. Genever is distilled from a "malt wine" (malted grain mash similar to that used for whisky). It is straw-hued, relatively sweet and aromatic. Jonge ("young") Genever has a drier palate and lighter body. Some genevers are aged for one to three years in oak casks. Genevers tend to be lower proof than English gins (72-80 proof or 36-40% ABV is typical). They are usually served straight up and chilled. The classic accompaniment to a shot of Genever is a dried green herring. Genever is traditionally sold in a cylindrical stoneware crock. Genever-style gins are also produced in Holland, Belgium, and Germany . Genever is made primarily from (a mixture of malted barley, wheat, corn, and rye), which produces a fuller-bodied spirit similar to raw malt whisky. A small number of genevers in Holland and Belgium are distilled directly from fermented juniper berries, producing a particularly intensely flavored spirit.