A bulrush is a cattail or a reed mace (depending on where in the world you are from). Bulrush Gin pays tribute to traditional arts and crafts of the South Carolina low country where their reeds were used for weaving.
The basis for the recipe was an 1860’s Dutch manuscript and eighteen months of tweaking and perfecting after that. Tony Bagnulo distills his Bulrush Gin with ten botanicals utilizing both a maceration processes and vapor infusion processes, depending on the ingredient. The botanical selection leans spice forward American contemporary with two favorites— cardamom and lavender. When possible, he sources the botanicals locally either from farmers of local markets.
The nose is bright with satsuma at the fore offering a sweet marmalade brightness. Other notes include juniper and lemon leaves. Bulrush Gin has a pleasant, inviting aroma.
The palate is gently more floral. Lavender takes center stage for a good portion of the palate. Floral with French Lavender lemonade notes early. Juniper spikes mid-palate. Bulrush Gin then has green, slightly more mentholic lavender leaf with a good measure of cardamom and ginger root especially.
Bulrush Gin has a moderate finish with a gentle, only subtle warmth. The base spirit isn’t particularly tenacious. Though I would characterize it as soft overall, it is somewhat thin in texture. A touch of licorice root sticks around on the finish too.
The Bulrush Gin website suggests a few cocktails as their recommendations. And I will admit, right off the back that Bulrush Gin works well in a Martini and Dirty Martini. I felt the addition of vermouth lent it a nice textural improvement, but furthermore the flavors of gin the worked really well with olives. So garnish your Martini with an olive or embrace the brine. This might be going out on a ledge, but this gin is a nice entry point if you’re trying to wean your friend’s off Tito’s Dirty Martinis.
Bulrush Gin is a really nicely designed mixing gin. It makes a great Gin and Tonic and Gin and Lemonade. Even in a Gin and Juice with a strongly flavored juice— Bulrush comes through with pleasant juniper and a hint of spice. Although it struck me as more contemporary on its own, in mixed drinks that juniper really comes through.
Overall, Bulrush Gin
Bulrush Gin is nicely balanced. It’s a contemporary style gin that when mixed shows a bit more of its classic side. This is an accessible gin that is as well-suited to a first time gin drinker as it is to a bartender looking to find a workhorse local gin behind the bar.
I’m quite a fan and I would easily recommend Bulrush Gin to fans of New Amsterdam Gin, Bluecoat Gin or Golden Moon Gin. It has things for the citrus-forward gin drinker, the floral-forward gin drinkers and the juniper-forward gin drinker.