Tag Archives: Bulldog Gin

The Third of My Final Four Gins

One of the things that filling a 16-gin-bracket-in-order-to-determine-one’s-favorite accomplishes is that it allows one to see their predilections a more clarity. I’ve already seen this once so far in this endeavor, where I’ve come to terms with the fact that an alcohol-heavy spirit is a bug and not a feature for me. I’ve given my reasons for this before – alcohol numbs the palate, making it hard to taste the complexities within – but I recognize that ultimately this is a subjective preference based off of my own ability (or non-ability, in this case) to taste well with a higher ABV in tow.

I use this as an example to better support my second predilection that I’ve come across – I like “interesting” drinks. Imagine my discomfort as I sit here writing this line, without a clear definition of what “interesting” actually means. I admit that there’s no one consistent definition, and that puts my critical palate even more in question.

Take, for example, the third gin that I’ve put in my final four - Bulldog. I like it because it’s well made, it has a nice balance, and that there is no one flavor that smacks one repeatedly over the head.  Alas, these are the same characteristics that describe No. 209, to which I was comparing Bulldog.  So what differentiates the two? Well, Bulldog is interesting to me. It’s interesting because it has subtlety and nuance, a rarity in the gin world.  It uses different botanicals than No. 209, other than the standard juniper. It presents itself as a London Dry Gin, a more conservative gin style than No. 209′s  New Western Dry Gin style, and it does so with panache.

Yes, panache.

I drink Bulldog, and I don’t feel as if it’s off to the juniper races with other more popular gins. I get the sense that the folks at Bulldog are looking to do their own thing, but they don’t need to shout about it.  I like No. 209, but I’ve tasted their flavor profile – juniper with citrus- in other gins. Bulldog seems to show restraint, a great characteristic to have in a market full of “look at me! Look at me!” type gins.

And this makes them interesting. So their gin goes into my final four.

The Last First Round Winner: Was it Spruce Gin or Bulldog?

The first round is done. There’s not much more to say to this, other than this was a belabored way to separate the wheat from the chaff, and now we have 8 gins left that are respectable.

The problem…well, not a problem, more like an observation…is that my bracket is far different from the reader’s bracket.  This is mostly due to a few folks stuffing the ballot box in a few instances, but that’s fine. These aren’t scientific results after all.

So who won this round, where Rogue Spruce Gin went up against Bulldog gin? Remember when I said ballot stuffing in the above paragraph? The reader’s picked Spruce Gin in large part due to this.  From my perspective, Bulldog is simply the better drink, for reasons listed below.

Rogue Spruce Gin: Not as aromatic as I anticipated. Spruce is there, the something vegetative, probably cucumber, but it’s off somehow.  Then there’s juniper, and a little tinge of citrus beneath it all. The taste is…spicy, with a bit of sweetness  that compliments the spicy (I’m guessing ginger) nicely. However, out of all of the gins tasted thus far, this is the least juniper-y. It’s there, but behind the sweetness. Then there’s the chemical taste that comes from bad timing in the spirit safe. This isn’t a bad drink, but it does come across as a bit …unrefined. When compared against some of the other winners in the previous 7 match-ups, this falls short in comparison. It’s not as bad as Gordon’s, but it ain’t great.

Bulldog Gin: Stronger nose on this gin, with a strong juniper and citrus (lemon) foundation. Buried in the aroma is a bit of  an earthy aroma (cardamon?) and, yes, even floral notes.

The taste is smooth going in, and the juniper makes itself aware without shouting. No citrus taste, but there is a spice there that reminds me of muffins. I want to say cardamon, but that’s not right…poppy seed? (Yup, the bottle says Poppy…how about that?) I can’t get over how smooth this gin is, and at 40% ABV, there’s some room to play around with nuance.  (Spruce gin is at 45% ABV, which works for me). The finish is silky, and reminds me of a well made tea – warm and comforting, and not bitter or astringent. Yup, I like Bulldog, at least in comparison to Spruce Gin.

I’ll have some first round observations on gin in a different post.

Bulldog Gin versus Rogue Spruce Gin; Which is Better?

And we’re down to the final two contestants in this contest, each lesser known gins, overall.  On one side, we have Bulldog Gin, a London Dry Gin done in the traditional style. On the other side, we have Rogue’s Spruce Gin, from the same folks who have given us some magnificent beers.

Do you have a preference? If so, vote for your favorite below, and we can then move on to the elite eight of gins. This poll will end on May 20th.


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