2019-03-25 15:04Bloggpost

Old Tom gin, risen with renewed youth.


The origin of the Old Tom name and the iconic picture of a cat is surrounded by many mythical stories. Did a tomcat once fall into a vat of gin? Did pubs during prohibition in England dispense gin through the mouth of a wooden cat outside the pub? Or is this specific type of gin named after the distiller Thomas Chamberlain whose apprentice Thomas Norris opened a gin place in 18thcentury London, where he was selling Old Tom gin in compliment after his former master?

However, Old Tom gin was the first type of gin, inspired by the Dutch Jenever, to come to Britain in the 18thcentury. Slightly sweetened and more spicy than Jenever, Old Tom Gin was dominating the gin scene for decades.

From market leading position to oblivion.

Blamed for causing mother’s ruin with mothers supposedly favoring gin over their newborns during Britain’s gin drinking epidemic, Old Tom gin was imposed by licensing and taxes by the government to discourage people from drinking. A higher price along with the increased popularity of the new London Dry gin caused the fall of Old Tom that soon stopped being produced and fell into oblivion.

The revival of Old Tom Gin in modern time.

The recipe was never lost though. In 2007 gin maker James Hayman found an old recipe kept in the family since the 1860s, a heritage after his ancestor Victorian gin maker James Borough, and started to produce Old Tom gin as a modern craft gin. He took the old-fashioned classic to new heights using a column still. Today Old Tom gin is increasing in popularity again. Several distillers have recreated the Old Tom recipe, each with their own interpretation of what this gin would have been during its time of greatness in England.

Old Tom interpretation by Hernö Gin.

Hernö Old Tom Gin is made from the same distilled gin as Hernö Gin with eight botanicals carefully selected for a world-class gin, but with an extra amount of Meadowsweet added and lightly sweetened post distillation. The result is a sweet and super-smooth caress of a very special cat. A gin so palatable that it’s perfect to enjoy neat. Or in a gin cocktail of your choice.

Tasting notes.

The cat that got the cream.

Since the launch on 20September 2014 Hernö Old Tom Gin is awarded World’s Best Gin by World Gin Awards twice: 2017 and 2018. This is really the cat that got the cream, crowned with nearly twenty trophies, masters and gold awards in four years. A masterpiece created by Hernö Gin’s Founder and Master Distiller Jon Hillgren.

Together with Christopher Hayman, father to James Hayman above, and Charles Maxwell, Jon Hillgren is 2019 one of three gin icons in the world inducted to The Gin Hall of Fame. A huge recognition for having made a lasting contribution to the gin industry.

Om Hernö Gin

Hernö Gin har tilldelats 68 Master- and Guldmedaljer i världens största och mest prestigefulla dryckestävlingar. World’s best Gin 2017 och 2018, World’s best London Dry Gin 2017, World’s best Gin & Tonic 2016, San Fransisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold 2017 och Gin Producer of the Year både 2017 och 2016 är några av dem.


Jon Hillgren
Jon Hillgren