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Tanqueray History

Tanqueray is one of the ultimate examples of the London Dry style, with its precise, crisp and juniper forward flavours, whilst its citrus notes have found firm favour with bartenders around the globe. Indeed, for much of its history, the gin was distilled in London, having been founded in Bloomsbury in the 1830s.

Tanqueray’s recipe is a closely guarded industry secret, but it supposedly contains a higher percentage of juniper in the bill than any other gin on the market. We do know that the gin makes use of a handful of key botanicals to gain its distinctive flavour: liquorice, angelica root, coriander, and most importantly, juniper. The distillery has risen against adversity repeatedly in its history to be one of the world’s favourite gins, and indeed, such notable drinkers as Frank Sinatra counted the classic round-bottled tipple as their favourite juniper juice.

Tanqueray is now produced in Scotland, at the Cameron Bridge distillery, where Haig grain whisky and Gordon’s Gin is also produced. This said, the company have always remained to true their London roots, which had made them so successful. There are now several varieties of Tanqueray on the market, and here at FineDrams we have ensured that we have the very best on offer.

Tanqueray Old Tom is a revival of a classic 19th century style gin, slightly sweeter and softer, and ideal for cocktails. Tanqueray Rangpur Lime includes the titular limes, ginger and bay leaves in the spirit, resulting in a citrusy and freshly spiced gin. Tanqueray Bloomsbury is a limited edition bottling that returns Tanqueray to its hometown. Based on the original recipe of maverick distiller Charles Waugh Tanqueray, this has extra juniper in the mix, and the interesting addition of winter savoury. Furthermore, it is bottled at 47.3% ABV, giving the gin a little extra kick. Most importantly for the gin market however, is the modern classic Tanqueray bottling: Tanqueray No. 10. This small batch bottling sits at the top of Tanqueray’s standard range, and adds much more citrus than the standard offering, with grapefruit, orange and lime taking the fore. Distilled in pot still number 10 (from which it takes its name), this gin has a thicker and silkier mouth feel. Its higher ABV of 47.3% also gives it a little more power in the glass. Considered to be the best martini gin on the market, this is a firm favourite of bartenders around the world.

Tanqueray has many tall tales in its history. Paramount amongst these is the legend that Tanqueray gin was the first drink consumed in the White House after the repeal of Prohibition. Another story suggests that the company logo- a pineapple and two axes stems from the fact that pineapples were a common symbol of prosperity in the 1800s, and that the Tanqueray family took part in the 3rd Crusade! Tanqueray sells over two million 9-litre cases a year, and has won a string of awards, including a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012. Wine Enthusiast magazine has consistently ranked the London Dry variety in the high 90s.


  1. 1830

    Tanqueray is launched by Charles Tanqueray on Vine Street in Bloomsbury, in the heart of London. The Tanquerays were originally sliversmiths, who left France to move to England in the early 1700s. Charles Tanqueray was raised in a strictly religious household, with three generations of rectors ahead of him, and Charles was expected to join the clergy. Instead, he traded the pulpit for the still, and became a master distiller, aged just 20 years old.

  2. 1832

    The recipe that would become Malacca gin, a Tanqueray limited edition, is recorded.

  3. 1833

    A Tanqueray gin close to what is made today is first produced.

  4. 1838

    The oldest remaining record of the Tanqueray recipe used to this day dates back to this year.

  5. 1868

    Charles Tanqueray dies, leaving the distillery to his son, Charles Waugh Tanqueray (also aged just 20 when he took over), who would oversee a transformation in the distillery’s fortunes. Under his management, the gin was being stocked in the best grocer’s and department stores in London, including the esteemed Fortnum and Mason’s. He would also find success in exporting his gin across the world, particularly within the British Empire.

  6. 1898

    Tanqueray merges with Gordons & Co, which ensures that both brands remain at the forefront of gin distilling in the UK. Tanqueray moves its operations from its historic Vine Street location to Gordon’s site on Goswell Road, Islington. This was an area noted for a ready supply of high quality water, perfect for distilling.

  7. 1920

    Prohibition begins in America, Tanqueray continues to get its product out however, by leaving strategic casks of gin on islands around the US, that were designed to float in the sea. Americans would continue to get their Tanqueray through the black market.

  8. 1922

    Tanqueray joins Distillers Company, a forerunner to Diageo.

  9. 1933

    When Prohibition ended, Tanqueray was supposedly the first drink consumed in the White House.

  10. 1937

    Tanqueray releases two flavoured expressions, Tanqueray Orange and Tanqueray Lemon, both would be phased out within 20 years.

  11. 1941

    Tanqueray remained an iconic London institution until the Blitz of 1941 left the distillery nearly totally destroyed. Only one still remained standing, and after intensive and loving repairs, “Old Tom" as it was nicknamed, was back in action.

  12. 1948

    The distinctive Tanqueray bottling is introduced, designed to recall premixed cocktails that were sold in the 1920s, in bottles that deliberately resembled cocktail shakers. The new bottle proved a marketing masterstroke, making the bottle stand out on the shelves, particularly when paired with the gin’s exotic sounding name.

  13. 1950

    Tanqueray Special Dry is launched.

  14. 1951

  15. A new distillery begins to be built.

  16. 1957

    The new distillery, also on Goswell Road, features the Old Tom still recovered from the ashes of Tanqueray’s previous home. Soon after this, the distillery reached full capacity due to a huge marketing drive in the US, with many household names (Such as Sammy Davis Jnr, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra) preferring the gin.

  17. 1964

    John Tanqueray, the great great-grandson of founder Charles, begins to travel the world selling the gin.

  18. 1989

    John Tanqueray retires, proving to be the last member of the family to work for the brand.

    The distillery moves from London after over 150 years, taking up residence in Laindon in Essex.

  19. 1997

    Tanqueray Malacca is released, designed as a “wetter" sweeter gin, it was shortlived.

  20. 1998

    Production of Tanqueray and Gordon’s moves to Cameron Bridge distillery, one of the world’s most sophisticated and advanced distilling sites. The distillery had long produced the neutral grain spirit used by both gins, so moving the botanical side of operations was a logical step.

  21. 1999

    Tanqueray Export Strength is launched.

  22. 2000

    Tanqueray No. 10 is launched, and kick starts a small batch revolution in gin making.

  23. 2006

    Tanqueray Rangpur Lime is launched.

  24. 2012

    Tanqueray Malacca is rereleased as a limited edition for 12/12/12.

  25. 2014

    Tanqueray Old Tom, a revival of an 1835 recipe, is released as a limited edition.

  26. 2015

    Tanqueray Bloomsbury is released as a special edition.

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