The history of marketing is littered with branding and advertising campaign calamities, some of them having foundered on a failure to research regional or national colloquialisms: which is probably why neither Smitty perfume nor FRISPS crisps proved very popular in Scotland.
Choking on a brandy and gasping for air, my Edinburgh born father explained to me that Smitty was actually a description for someone suffering from the pox, while the other is a particularly acidic acronym for anyone from North of the Border. Which started me wondering how much of this Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin Aldi is expecting to sell there; or over the water in Ireland for that matter?
Certainly the German chain’s merchandising department chose a name with historical resonance, but having defeated the Royalist forces here, good old Olly’s power-crazed puritanical purges and bloody sieges of places like Drogheda, left him far more hated than the king he had executed.
“But what about the gin I can hear you all saying?”
Well having picked up a bottle from Aldi’s Topsham store at the same time as we purchased the Ten Tor Gin, we actually found it very palatable. Not outstanding in any way, but like Lidl’s Finton’s which we reviewed a few months back, it is both excellent value and makes a refreshing G&T when you’re ready to draw a line under the day.
With an entry level strength of 37.5 ABV it doesn’t carry the clout of a Cromwellian cavalry charge, but there is enough juniper and citrus to support the seller’s description of being delicately infused. However, unlike the self-proclaimed Lord Protector, this gin didn’t leave a lasting impact, and to us there were no subtle flavours, such as spicy aftertastes to ponder over.
Since its introduction Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin has earned a Gold Award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2017, but attracted a fair bit of controversy as a consequence, with plenty of pundits lining up to put it back in its place.
In comparison to the man himself, this German gin though is never going to suffer the negative press and vengeful resentment which followed the soldier and parliamentarian beyond the grave. For having died of natural causes in September 1658, those who held Oliver Cromwell primarily responsible for King Charles’s trial and execution, dug his body up again three years later so they could have him posthumously executed; his head being displayed on a spike in London for a further two decades – and that was in his own country.