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Review

Bulldog Extra Bold Gin

Distillery

Bulldog Gin Company, New York, USA (made by G & J Greenall International, Risley, Warrington, England, UK). Imported into the USA by Campari America, San Francisco, California.

Website

Bulldog Gin Company and G & J Greenall.

History

Founded in 2006 by former Banker Anshuman Vohra with Master Distiller David Kanbar, formally of Skyy Vodka. The original Bulldog Gin was launched in very early 2007 (at the end of the Chinese year of the dog) and this stronger version was launched in the fall of 2013 – check out this glossy YouTube promotional video for the Gin. 

Established back in 1761, Greenall’s are the oldest continuously producing London Dry Gin distillery in the world. Thomas Dakin built the distillery initially, Edward Greenall started using it and in 1870 it was purchased completely (The G&J comes from Edward’s younger brothers – Gilbert & John). The previous chairman, Lord Daresbury, was a direct descendent of Edward Greenall. The family motto “Alto Peto” translates as "I Strive Higher". This once cottage based industry is now the second largest gin distillery in Britain, producing over 50% of the UK’s Gin and almost 15% of the world’s Gin. In 2011 the business was bought by Quintessential Brands.

Production

Made from wheat grown in Norfolk, East Anglia, England. It is distilled four times in traditional copper pot stills, using pure fresh water from Lake Wyrnwy (in Wales) and triple filtered. It is Vegan friendly, certified Kosher and gluten free.

The distinctive Gothic packaging of the original Bulldog Gin has proved to be successful in differentiation within the marketplace, and this stronger version follows suit. These larger 1-liter bottles are also produced by Allied Glass Containers Ltd. (who also make the bottles for Langtons No.1 Gin) and are the same: charcoal grey colored with deep purple hues; apothecary in style, the bottles have broad shoulders, which taper down towards the base; and perhaps most notably it has a studded glass (dog) collar around the neck of the bottle.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

47% (94 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$ - $$$$$. Tested in Scandinavia this has had a specific launch in New York, USA and London, UK with limited availability at this time. It can be purchased online for shipping within Europe only from Licorea, Vinus Vinis and Drinkology. World wide shipping is available from Luxurious Drinks in the Netherlands or from Master of Malt in the UK.

Botanicals

This uses the same 12 botanicals as the original Bulldog Gin, including: almond (Spain), angelica (Germany), cassia (Asia), coriander (Morocco), dragon eye (China), juniper berries (Italy), lavender (France), lemon (Spain), liquorice (China), lotus leaves (China), orris (Italy), and (white) poppy seeds (Turkey).

Some of these botanicals are unusual: Poppy seeds, lotus leaves and Dragon eye. Dragon eye is perhaps the most offbeat ingredient, which when peeled looks like an eyeball! A distant relation to the lychee, it is also known as a Lonan, and has been used by the Chinese for hundreds of years (if not thousands) for medicinal purposes. Most notably it is said to stimulate vitality and sexual stamina - who are we to suggest otherwise, make ours a double!

Name

The inspiration for the name is from Sir Winston Churchill and the British “Bulldog spirit” that he embodied. Interestingly, Churchill never owned a Bulldog (one of his daughters did apparently) his personal fondness was for Poodles, having one called Rufus during the Second World War. The reference to “Bulldog” and Churchill was not only his facial resemblance to the breed but the similar characteristics: steadfast, brave and some might say “stubborn” tendencies.

The Bulldog is a pure English bred dog originally used for “bull baiting” (which was banned in 1835). This activity involved the bulldog fighting a bull – the dog seeking to bite the Bull’s snout, which would painfully bring it down to the ground and the dog steadfastly refusing to let go. In return the Bull would seek to gore the dog with its horns and throw it around – to combat this, the Bulldog has a high pain threshold and is very strong. Today, despite the cartoon representation of them being ferocious they’re anything but! While resolute and courageous they are very kind and affectionate dogs.

The “Extra Bold” refers to the increased finishing strength of 47% ABV, rather than the 40% ABV as found in the original Bulldog Gin. There is some confusion with the use of the name “Extra Bold” and just simply “Bold”. Either “Bold” was first used and then Bulldog changed it to “Extra Bold” for subsequent releases, or it is called “Bold” in some countries (e.g. USA and UK) and “Extra Bold” in others (e.g. Spain). If anyone can shed further light on this, please let us know.

Tasting Notes

On the nose are light tropical floral, piney juniper and lemon citrus aromas with just a hint of nutty cinnamon. On the palate this soft and smooth spirit has evenly balanced notes of earthy juniper, floral lavender, fresh citrus and light spice, with a little sweetness (dragon eye and liquorice). On the close are continuing floral notes with a warm spicy citrus (coriander) and slightly nutty bitter finish. A complex and nicely balanced Gin.

Although this is not as dry and a little sweeter than many traditional London Dry Gins, it is definitely the big brother of the lighter original Bulldog Gin. In a Gin and Tonic it works well with most tonics (including Fentimans and Fever Tree) and is best with a lime garnish. In a Martini this bold version does much better than the original, being ideally complimented using an olive garnish, and is very nice as a Dirty Martini.

This has the promotional moniker of being the “World’s most mixable Gin” and while this may be an overly emphasized publicity phrase, it is a very mixable Gin – more so than the lighter original version. Bulldog Extra Bold has the capability to work in “longer” drinks like a Tom Collins without getting lost, while stamping it’s presence in “shorter” drinks like a Martini that traditional Gin drinkers will enjoy. This is an easy Gin to recommend, with traditionalists finding a modern London Dry to try and new drinkers finding a modern Gin with a traditional bias to it.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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