They're a funny thing, my booze buying habits. I'll absolutely never (with the exception of Springbank 10) buy a bottle of Scotch more than once because there's simply too much of a selection out there to waste time drinking the same one. Same goes for Bourbon, Tequila, and rum. Gin, however, is where my philosophy seems to contradict itself. Despite my avid love of cocktails, I don't love experimenting with them at home. Rather than spend 30 minutes trying to craft a new drink that I may or may not enjoy, I'd rather just whip up a Negroni or a martini and get right to the drinking. I wasn't always this way, but I definitely am now; call it a time issue, perhaps (which also might explain my current refrain from cask-strength whisky in the home). For this reason, I tend to only use the same two gins over and over again - BBR's No. 3 London Gin for martinis and the Ransom Old Tom Gin for everything else.
Honestly, I had never put much thought into this phenomenon until Christophe Bakunas walked into the store this week with Ransom Wine Company's second gin - the Small's American Dry. Tad Seestedt, who is the distiller for Ransom, seems to have my number when it comes to flavor profiles because I took one sip of the Small's and absolutely loved it. Think of it as a really good version of Citadelle - focused on the juniper, with clean and racy herbal notes. It's nothing bizarre or new, it's just a really good version of a classic gin. Tad distills it in batches on his old-school pot still and flavors it with a combination of "naturally-farmed and wild-grown botanicals:" juniper, orange, lemon, coriander, cardamom, angelica, caraway, star anise, and raspberry. Ransom is heavy into the historical side of spirits production and these guys seem to know everything about the history of gin, using recipes from the 19th century to help them craft both spirits. Whatever they're channeling is working.
I love this Small's American Dry and can't wait for it to hit California in a few weeks. It's such a pure and concentrated manifestation of what I consider to be gin's true flavor. It might actually turn my current two-man rotation into a three-way. Those searching for gin's next guise might find it a bit simple, but I'm willing to bet a life-long Tanqueray drinker can be converted to a Ransom fan with the Small's.
Look for it at the beginning of October. $30 estimated retail.