First, I want to thank Billy Silverman over at Bulldog Gin for sending us a bottle. I’d seen the subway ads around New York City, but I’d never quite got around to buying a bottle. I’m glad he did, because I think Bulldog Gin does a lot of things very well. Now I can see what I was missing.
Bulldog gin hails from London, and that designation alone carries a lot of baggage. London Dry is the classic style of gin; the style which embodies everything that gin is supposed to be: the prickly juniper, the fresh citrus. When I looked at the Bulldog bottle, these expectations and preconceived notions were all on the table.
Let’s begin Tasting
The scent is deceiving and immediately said, “this may not be the London Dry you’re expecting.” It was fresh, almost floral. First taste revealed that Bulldog’s London Dry roots are still evident. The taste is very mellow, very drinkable. Juniper is forefront in my estimation, but not overwhelming. Its very nice and well balanced. Neat you get a bit of the richness of the poppy, the coriander. Hints of warm spice come out. Served on the rock or in a martini, different qualities seem to shine. The Western notes of the Longan (likely responsible for the floral scent) come through, and make a nice counterpoint to the Vermouth.
I did a double take too. Their website proudly talks of the Dragon Eye- listing it as a first ingredient. The Dragon Eye (better known as Longan) is native to Southeast Asia where it grows in tropical regions and is historically rumored to have aphrodisiac qualities (quote Bulldog’s website: “amazing orgasms”). Bulldog also Lotus Leaves, so there are definite Asian influences in this London Dry. It may not exactly invoke visions of Big Ben, the British Countryside or the Tube. But its an interesting flavor not found in many gins.
As I said before, its somewhat smoother than many other gins that boast a similar flavor profile. The juniper is always present, but its much milder and a little more subtle. Bulldog gin is smooth and very drinkable, an excellent choice for a milder martini or in a gin and tonic with a hint of lime. This mildness can cause Bulldog to fade into the background in complex bold cocktails like the Negroni, the Pegu Club Cocktail or the Martinez. This lightness makes Bulldog more drinkable and more palatable to gin novices (the “Pine trees on fire” crowd) but the juniper profile is most likely to appeal to gin drinkers already.
So although the nature of its overall appeal may appear to be somewhat of a contradiction, I don’t necessarily think it should be seen that way. I think Bulldog Gin is a lighter gin that will appeal to gin drinkers who want a milder but still very gin-like gin. I think the Longan adds an exotic floral note and makes a key point of difference between Bulldog and other gins of this like.
Best consumed: Makes a very nice martini, and a great mixer for cocktails with less bold additional ingredients
Availability: Across the US, fairly common in major liquor stores
Rating: Does a lot of things well. Will appeal to martini and gin drinkers, and at this price point its hard to not find a lot to like about Bulldog Gin
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