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Tanqueray Malacca


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#31 slkinsey

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 01:08 PM

Just found 4 bottles of Malacca. May have a line on a full case. <rubs hands together and chuckles evilly>
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#32 Mike S.

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 02:50 PM

Hi, longtime reader, new poster. Malacca was one of my very favorite products during its lifetime and I've been on the hunt for left-over bottles ever since. I'm bumping this thread because I recently picked up a 750ml bottle of Malacca along with a 50ml mini, and I'm willing to sacrifice the mini in the name of research: My goal is to find a currently-available gin (or reasonable custom blend) that approximates the flavor of Malacca.

I've seen some comments on other forums that suggest Seagram's Distiller's Reserve has a flavor profile at least somewhat similar to that of Malacca, with one of the biggest differences being the relative strength of the two -- Malacca, unusual for a Tanqueray product, was bottled at 40% ABV, while Distiller's Reserve is bottled at 51% ABV. Any thoughts on the truth of this proposition? Assuming there's some validity to it, my first effort would be to dilute a bottle of Distiller's reserve down to 40% ABV, with the appropriate amount of water calculated using one the on-line alcohol dilution calculators (since I do not own a proof hydrometer).

Any suggestions beyond this? Has anyone come across any currently-available gins that remind them of Malacca? I'll be happy to report progress in this thread if there's interest in it.

Cheers,

Mike
Cheers,

Mike

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#33 Mike S.

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 09:18 PM

Yes. Well. Answering my own question, here's what I've found after a few weeks of on-again, off-again experimentation. Your mileage, as ever, may vary.

1. Seagram's Distiller's Reserve, while itself a very fine and IMO very underrated gin, does not taste like Malacca, diluted or otherwise. At least not to my palate, after a couple different sessions of tasting directly against my remaining stock of Malacca. Seagram's DR is one of the very few (perhaps only?) oak barrel-aged gins on the market, and this makes it very different indeed.

2. Many, many other currently-available gins also taste nothing at all like Malacca and I doubt could be made to do so. Can't say as I've tried them all, but here's the list (besides Seagram's DR) that I have been through: Beefeater, Boodles, Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength, Boord’s London Old Tom, Cadenhead’s Old Raj “Blue Label”, Hendrick’s, Plymouth, Tanqueray London Dry, Tanqueray No. Ten, Tanqueray Rangpur, Anchor Genevieve, Boomsma Oude, De Kuyper Hollands Geneva. Some -- perhaps many -- of these were obvious non-starters, but I tried them all anyway. Nix for the lot.

3. The closest one I've found -- and I think it's actually pretty darn close -- is Bluecoat American Dry. I'd never tried this stuff before, but was intrigued by what I'd read about it. Even in a direct comparison, without any alteration of the Bluecoat, its similarities to Malacca outweigh its differences -- Malacca's signature spicy, citrus-forward flavors and smoothness are all present in Bluecoat. Even so, differences do exist. Here's what I observe, with my preliminary assessment of how to harmonize them:

a. Proof. Bluecoat is 47% ABV to Malacca's 40%. Proper dilution with filtered spring water -- or perhaps even better, distilled water -- should fix this. In my small-volume taste test I eyeballed a scant dash of regular bottled water and it seemed to even out the higher-alcohol Bluecoat. Hardly scientific, but it does suggest that the right water and careful measuring would equalize the proofs and all but eliminate this difference.

b. Nose. This is probably the most recognizable difference between the two, and I don't have any fix for it. Malacca has a very clean nose with a nice bright citrus (mostly grapefruit) overtone. Bluecoat, being entirely copper pot-stilled and utilizing organic American juniper berries, has a pronounced bit of earthy "funk" on the nose. While there are definitely citrus overtones present, the earthiness tends to blunt them making the overall nose very soft and smooth. Very nice, but also very different from the clean "snap" of Malacca. Can't think of anything to do about this, I'm affraid.

c. Palate. As noted above, to me the three dominate flavor aspects of Malacca beneath the juniper are spice, citrus (again, mostly grapefruit) and a hint of residual sweetness to smooth it all out. In the Bluecoat, the spice and citrus are definitely there, although the citrus is more conventional and less recognizably grapefruit. That earthy funk is there too, and while different than Malacca this element seems to provide a comparable smoothness to the finish. Overall, very close indeed, and I got it even closer by adding a drop of Fee's Grapefruit Bitters to the diluted Bluecoat. The only thing really missing is that hint of sweetness, since Bluecoat is noticeably drier than Malacca, but I bet that can be worked out too.

Overall, an interesting couple of weeks. If nothing else, I've come to love a new gin that I'd never encountered before -- Bluecoat is certainly outstanding on its own merits and hardly needs modification or comparison to the defunct Malacca to warrant purchase. But I still love Malacca, still pine over its demise and still hoard my declining stock with alarming greed. As a result, I still can't help but think that a few more tweaks with Bluecoat could get me there....

Cheers,

Mike

Edited to correct typos and add Tanq London Dry to the list of gins that taste nothing like Malacca, although perhaps that is (or should be) obvious.

Edited by Mike S., 14 March 2008 - 10:27 AM.

Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
- Bogart

#34 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 11:12 PM

Even for someone who has never had Malacca, that was all very interesting. Might have to try Bluecoat now.
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#35 Mike S.

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 10:18 AM

You won't be disappointed. Bluecoat is fantastic just as it is. It's only my sad obsession with things I can't have anymore that drove me to mess with it at all.

Cheers,

Mike
Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
- Bogart

#36 Mike S.

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 11:53 AM

Bumping this thread (again) because...well, because I just can't let it go.

Various people along the line here have asked for drink suggestions that work especially well with Malacca. Classic Martinis and Pink Gins are, of course, outstanding when made with Malacca. A premium G&T made with really really good tonic (like Fever-Tree) is also brilliant, but some have pointed out that you might not want to "waste" so rare a gin on so "common" a drink. Maybe, but a well-made G&T is one of my very favorite drinks so if your Malacca reserve is large enough I say go for it!

I'd like to add one more suggestion, which I found doing some extended Googling on Malacca. This one was new to me, but may be well-known around these parts. Apologies if so, but I thought I'd mention it just in case because I think it works so beautifully with Malacca:

The Greek Tycoon
2 oz Tanqueray Malacca
1 oz Metaxa brandy (at least 5 Star; 7 Star is even better)

Nearly all of the recipes I found call for it to be served neat in a brandy snifter. I tried it this way, but did not like it very much. Stirred and strained into a chilled cocktail glass, however, and you've got a wonderful Martini variation with the infused flavors of the Metaxa playing the roll of a mellow high-proof vermouth. No garnish necessary; the amazing color is all the ornament this one needs.

This drink may also work with some other gins. I've tried it with Bluecoat to good results, and the botanicals in Hendrick's might also match well with Metaxa. But it was made for Malacca, and one taste will tell you why.
Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
- Bogart

#37 JMF

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 11:57 AM

A few days ago I had a conversation with my friend Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh, a expert on cocktails and spirits, and especially Old Tom Gin. He says that Tanqueray Malacca gin is probably as close as you can get to an Old Tom Gin, not the later version from the mid to late 1800's, but the early version from 1800-1850. Prior to the 1800's Old Tom was a pretty rough spirit, but the around 1800 it was developed into a much finer product. According to ted, Tanqueray Malacca's recipe from 1839 is relatively unchanged, except that back then it probably was sweetened a bit and sold as an Old Tom. So if you want to know what a real Old Tom tastes like, or want to make a cocktail from a old recipe that calls for Old Tom, you can use Malacca and sweeten it a bit.

If anyone is interested, I have few unopened bottles of Tanqueray Malacca I might consider letting go. Email me at princelyrogue@aol.com

#38 campus five

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:28 PM

Funny, I just found 8 375ml's this weekend. Nice timing.

#39 slkinsey

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:36 PM

I wonder how difficult it is to "tool up" for a run of Malacca gin. I'd think they could run a batch once a year, and have very little difficulty selling all of it.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#40 eas

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 02:30 PM

A few days ago I had a conversation with my friend Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh, a expert on cocktails and spirits, and especially Old Tom Gin. He says that Tanqueray Malacca gin is probably as close as you can get to an Old Tom Gin, not the later version from the mid to late 1800's, but the early version from 1800-1850. Prior to the 1800's Old Tom was a pretty rough spirit, but the around 1800 it was developed into a much finer product. According to ted, Tanqueray Malacca's recipe from 1839 is relatively unchanged, except that back then it probably was sweetened a bit and sold as an Old Tom. So if you want to know what a real Old Tom tastes like, or want to make a cocktail from a old recipe that calls for Old Tom, you can use Malacca and sweeten it a bit.

If anyone is interested, I have  few unopened bottles of Tanqueray Malacca I might consider letting go. Email me at princelyrogue@aol.com

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It's an interesting perspective, but Malacca is and was not Old Tom. It's an interesting Gin with some unique botanicals that mirror certain gins of the age. Nonetheless, even if you add some slight sweetness, you still get more of the angularity of the later London Dry rather than the rounded characteristics of early and late Old Tom. You should also consider that, whether early or late, Old Tom was not always sweetened.

More interesting is the East Indies reference in naming the gin Malacca. Some 'Town' gins of the 19th century did add nutmeg, a prized spice that traveled the Malacca Straits from the East Indies, and I speculate could be among the principal differences between Malacca and the standard Tanqueray London Dry.

#41 freshherbs

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 07:26 PM

I wonder how difficult it is to "tool up" for a run of Malacca gin.  I'd think they could run a batch once a year, and have very little difficulty selling all of it.

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I'll look into it

#42 Mike S.

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:15 PM

I can promise that I'd buy it in a heart-beat. When I think of what I've spent to acquire the few remaining bottles I do have.... The idea of being able to pour myself a Malacca G&T on a whim (instead of the deliberate, considered decision it is now) makes me all whoosy inside.
Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
- Bogart

#43 Sharon Skelton

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 03:01 PM

Oh how we miss this gin! It's been a good 3 years since we've seen it - we keep trying different ones (Damrack the last) to find something similar. Alas; nothing. I'd certainly buy some - if it were to appear on a shelf somewhere.

#44 Morgan_Weber

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 01:22 PM

Just found a few 750ml bottles of Malacca in a tiny liquor store. I'm keeping a few for myself and figure I'll get rid of the rest. Message me if you're interested in procuring a bottle or two.

M

Edited by Morgan_Weber, 06 October 2008 - 01:29 PM.


#45 Mike S.

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 04:27 PM

Sharon, try the Bluecoat. You won't be disappointed.
Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
- Bogart

#46 Mike S.

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 08:49 PM

Reviving this thread -- again -- because I've just found a new (to me) gin that I think is very close to Malacca, closer even than Bluecoat (which I still love): Whitley Neill Small Batch London Dry. Once again an outstanding gin on its own merits, the unique botanicals in WN -- including wild African baobab citrus and Cape Gooseberries -- give it citrus-and-spice nose and flavor profiles that to me are nearly dead-ringers for Malacca. Pot-stilled and bottled at 84 proof, even the mouth-feel is similar. The one difference that remains, to my palate anyway, is that hint of residual sweetness found in Malacca; WN is noticeably drier. That's easily fixed but I probably won't bother -- WN is absolutely fantastic just as it is.

Pour a shot of each into identical tasting glasses and put away the bottles -- after a few sips I bet you'll have a hard time telling which is which. I sure did.

I must say, this discovery makes me very happy! :biggrin:
Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
- Bogart

#47 ethan bentley

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 11:24 AM

I know this an old thread and the bottles must be becoming scarcer and scarcer but I recently got hold of some Tanqueray Malacca and played around with some cocktail, dug into the history a bit.
The results of which are here:

I was interested in what someone said about Whitely Neill but I find this much more fruity and it doesn't have the same spice, it's also (good as it is) not quite smooth.Thanks for the tip though, it was good to revisit the product.
Vintage Cocktails, Barware, Spirits & Gin: www.summerfruitcup.com