Price: $6 pack of 4, 10 oz. bottles
Best consumed: Contemporary or classic style gins that could benefit from a hint of added citrus flavor in a Gin and Tonic
Sweetener: Cane Sugar
Availability: Online or your local high-end grocery
Rating: A well executed high-end tonic that hits all the expected marks but doesn’t really innovate much on the formula. Nice tight bubbles, a muted sweetness, some added citrus notes and a clean dry finish. If you like Fever Tree, you’ll like this. And vice versa.
The Boylan Bottling company has teamed up with W&P design to elevate their line of sodas with the cocktail audience in mind. Boylan Heritage Tonic eschews the distinctive longneck bottles and throwback Boylan look and instead occupies a shorter, fatter bottle (like others, including Q Tonic in this space) and sports a simple, stylized, rustically designed bottle that looks exactly like it should belong in the cooler at your local cocktail joint. In short, they’ve hit the mark. It looks like a high end tonic. But how does it taste?
Soda like, with quinine and sweet orange zest on the nose, lemon-lime soda, the palate is clean and crisp, with a pleasant dry lemongrass and lemon-lime soda/7up sort of flavor, that gets drier and more bitter on the finish with quinine and bitter orange notes taking over. Only a subtle sweetness that carries throughout. Beautifully balanced and nicely integrated. Its sweet without ever really tasting sweet. The bubbles are small and tight, but don’t feel as numerous as they do in competitors like Fever Tree.
It’s a fine soda and tonic water in its own right, one that I would certainly drink on its own, but one that seems to take the dryness of Q, the citrus of Hansen’s and the texture of Fever tree and puts it all together into a package that doesn’t blow open any new doors but does a good job of executing what I would call the expected high-end tonic water package.
Since it brings its own citrus perspective to the picture, you’re going to be adding citrus notes to whatever you drink. Mix it with a good spice-forward contemporary gin and or a sparkling classic juniper-led gin, to really let this tonic sing. Mixing it with a really citrus-led gin doesn’t do anything bad. The tonic (and gin) still taste quite good, but in doing that you’re losing a bit of what sets Boylan’s Heritage Tonic apart.
Overall, its excellent, if not innovative. A nicely made, well executed tonic water that you can count on to go with your high-end gins, as long as you don’t mind a bit of citrus joining the fray.