Old Tom Chamberlain
“The precise origin of the term ‘Old Tom,’ as applied to unsweetened gin, appears to be somewhat obscure. In the English case of Board & Son v. Huddart (1903), in which the plaintiffs established their right to the ‘ Cat Brand ‘ trade-mark, it was proved before Mr Justice Swinfen Eady that this firm had first adopted about 1849 the punning association of the picture of a Tom cat on a barrel with the name of ‘Old Tom’; and it was at one time supposed that this was due to a tradition that a cat had fallen into one of the vats, the gin from which was highly esteemed. But the term ‘ Old Tom ‘ had been known before that, and Messrs Boord & Son inform us that previously ‘ Old Tom ‘ had been a man, namely ‘old Thomas Chamberlain of Hodge’s distillery’; an old label book in their possession (1909) shows a label and bill-head with a picture of ‘ Old Tom ‘ the man on it, and another label shows a picture of a sailor lad on shipboard described as ‘Young Tom.’ The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Published by The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910.
gaz sez: Note that this quote describes Old Tom as an UNsweetened gin.