A black bottle with a studded glass collar. A gin that wants to stand out. We review Bulldog Gin, an intriguing gin that mixes the modern and the traditional. Distilled in England, but with Campari (the company) in the background, Bulldog is a very reasonably-priced gin. You can usually buy Bulldog Gin for less than £20. It’s bottled at 40% ABV and is a London Dry Gin.
The botanical mix includes some very unusual bedfellows to the usual suspects of juniper, orris, cassia, coriander, liquorice and angelica. Into the maceration pre-distillation go lavender from France, and white poppy from Turkey. From China come dragon eye (a fruit, similar to a lychee but less aromatic) and lotus leaves. Lemon and almonds from Spain complete the botanical list.
Bulldog Gin on the nose
Open that bottle and there’s immediately a wonderful aroma. Be careful opening it, mind. My bottle was very full. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but I did end up wearing some of the gin due to my over-eagerness.
I was taken by the fruity and earthy notes first. The lemon definitely shows through, and maybe the dragon eye is what’s taking it off in what seems like quite a sweet direction. If you’ve tried the lovely Panda Gin (which is lychee-based), the aroma is quite like that. It’s very enticing.
Incidentally, for those of you that like re-purposing your empty gin bottles as lights, there’s a very nice purple tint to the black bottle. I’m no expert on such things, but I imagine it’d work very well.
The bottle promises that this is a gin that’s bold on the outside, smooth inside. I can’t argue with that. The mouthfeel and overall drinking sensation definitely delivers on smooth. There’s a real earthy linger to Bulldog too.
The immediate sense is one of complexity. That sweetness from the nose is there, as is almost a bit of a citrusy tang. The earthiness remains there too upon taste. However, none of those particular flavours seem to dominate, and you’re left with that promised smoothness.
How to serve Bulldog Gin
I like a neat gin with a few ice cubes. You can serve Bulldog like that, but it wasn’t my preferred serve here. Having said that, I did give it quite a good run of different serves to try it out, and it’s a very forgiving gin in that sense. It’ll go well with many tonics.
My favourite serve was with a good Indian tonic water and a slice of grapefruit. That grapefruit just seemed to help cut through the lingering sweetness really nicely. If you don’t have a grapefruit handy, a lemon or lime will certainly work too.
A quick glance as the Bulldog Gin website actually suggests a grapefruit or a lime garnish, both with ground black pepper. The pepper isn’t to my taste, but sounds intriguing if it is to yours.
You can buy Bulldog Gin very widely in the UK. There’s an Amazon link below, or do also try Master of Malt.
The verdict on Bulldog Gin? I really liked it. It’s an easy-drinker, and I’d certainly file it under that more unusual genres of gins that put a neat, modern twist on a traditional style of gin. It actually reminded me a little of Brockmans Gin. Perhaps it’s a back bottle thing. Anyway, at the price you can generally buy Bulldog for, I would certainly recommend it – frankly it’s a good quality gin at a very reasonable price point.
Andy Kay, Founder, whichgin.com