I was recently provided with a bottle of this English gin for review and wanted to share my reaction with you guys. I cracked it a few months ago, and since I tend to really rotate the spirits and brands I quaff, I just now laid the empty bottle to rest out in the glass bin. With each drink I poured using Bulldog, I tried to recall, sometimes successfully and without fog the next day, my experiences with the gin. Here are my overall and positive reactions.
The bottle itself is my biggest complaint. I know some love the look of it – a dark smoky-black one with an incorporated spiked bulldog collar around the neck. I find it almost too bold a statement like a too-hep twenty-something sporting too much ink and facial hair. The Bulldog barks atop your bar. I want a bottle that sits, pops a little, yet stays quiet till you need her. There, there’s my whine. Bottle doesn’t really thrill me….but the gin inside, now that’s another story.
When I cracked the bottle and took a strong whiff, the nose of the gin wanted me to immediately make a martini. The juniper used in distillation, along with eleven other botanicals from eight countries, was subtle and delicious. Bulldog smells special, and the perfume of a spirit usually crosses over into the drink. Bulldog’s woodsy, flowery-sweet scent also settled into my drinks which I appreciated.
I am happy to write that these smells of nature (lavender, poppy and pine) made their way into the smooth taste of the gin. When I poured my Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth into the pitcher with my Bulldog, along with a couple shakes of orange bitters, the resulting martini carried a pretty friendly, yet complex, gin flavor into the pool. One of the better martinis I’ve ever tasted. Of course, some credit has to be given to my amazing martini-making skills – just thought I should mention that (wink).
Bulldog is quadruple distilled in the UK, so harshness is not an issue. I found this robust gin to be as smooth as any I’ve tasted. Within its first week on my shelf, I made a martini, a gin ‘n tonic and a gibson. Bulldog played well with the standards, but would she hold up with the juices and sours? I found out.
Tom Collins is a quiet fave of mine, and I insist that he’s made old-school with fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, fruit and lots of discernable gin. I want my gin to stand up and out in my juice cocktails. The glow one gets after a couple well-made gin hi-balls is appreciated, sure…but not as much as the botanicals and the smack of a gin that works in concert yet holds its own. Bulldog works in a collins, a pink lady, a vesper martini and a gin bramble. I know ’cause I made ‘em all with the Bulldog.
Look for this gin. It would be a nice starter gin for the vodka or white wine drinker you know, yet it stands beautifully complex enough for the serious cocktail lover to appreciate, and that aforementioned novice to stay with, as he/she grows into gin cocktails. Running between $25 & $30 a bottle, this is a pretty affordable gin. Keep your eyes peeled for it.