Review – Bulldog Gin
Alcohol has many great properties, but none are more significant to a cocktail-fan than its remarkable ability to act as a solvent to other chemicals, and key among them flavour compounds. Essentially, the more alcohol you have in a particular spirit, the more flavour you can pack in. And it is the feature that Bulldog make use of in their ‘Bold’ variety. Four-times distilled from British grain spirit and using the same botanicals as it’s ‘regular’ cousin (juniper, dragon eye, poppy seed, lotus flower, lemon peel, almond, cassia, lavender, orris, liquorice, angelica and coriander), it is bottled at a higher 47% abv.
Neat: Honeyed juniper builds to a citrusy and fruity mid-palate with just a touch of dry spice. Flavoursome, but certainly not ‘bold’ in comparison to many other gins in the market on account of minimal earthy and spiced notes. A slight nuttiness leads to a mildly bitter finish. The relatively high abv does however remain restrained throughout, allowing the botanicals to do the talking.
Mixing: For all the ‘bold’ marketing, this is a gin that often fails to deliver. The relatively high abv should allow it to carry flavour in a range of cocktails, and yet the opposite often is true. This is certainly no Martini gin, but even in more ‘friendly’ cocktails such as the Negroni and White Lady where the other ingredients will often cover a multitude of sins, Bulldog Bold makes for a lacklustre experience. The profile is too citrusy for a Gimlet, and lacking to depth to be worth a shot in a Martinez. Longer drinks are most suited; the G+T being middle of the road, but the signature London Cider (recipe below) being rather tasty. The English Garden, a gin Mint Julep if you will, is too an acceptable affair but not good enough to make buying a litre bottle a sensible idea.
Signature Cocktail – London cider
2oz Bulldog Bold, 4oz Cider
Combine ingredients and serve either hot or cold with a cinnamon stick garnish.
Bulldog Bold is a gin that firmly stakes it’s claim, and then fails to deliver. With a largely citrus-led profile, the flavours are neither bold enough, nor sufficiently well-balanced to make this gin stand out. In some cocktails it is fine, but in a fiercely contested market that’s not good enough.
Bulldog Bold is available to buy from Master of Malt
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.