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.

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