11. 20. 2006
Face Time: Bulldog Gin
In the interest of covering lifestyle issues as well as technology I thought that I'd write up a new gin named Bulldog. I was able to score a bottle, and thought that I would share my tasting notes so no one is caught unprepared when out with friends or in an after-hours business meeting. Though so far released only in a few markets along the right side of America, the Bulldog is going to be crisscrossing the States over the next year.
Bulldog is distilled four times in a copper pot still, and infused with exotic botanicals. The flavors of the Middle East shine show through on a light gin. This is a specific type of gin, and it's my absolute favorite style. Forgive me while I wax nerdy, but cocktails are my forte.
Way back in the mid 1700's there were large numbers of British troops in colonial India. Malaria was a problem, and a preventative cure was to drink massive amounts of quinine. Quinine tastes absolutely terrible on its own, and various concoctions were drummed up to make the proper dosage palatable. The one fix that everyone could agree on was to add a bit of gin to the medicine, and besides evolving into the gin and tonic it saved many lives.
Now, large numbers of British soldiers drinking large amounts of gin created a problem: There wasn't enough gin in India. Creative entrepreneurs on the subcontinent began to distill their own, but the recipes from England and Holland had ingredients that were very expensive in India. The distilleries improvised, and a new style of gin was born. These new gins tasted slightly sweeter and carried less of the "Christmas tree" juniper essence. The exotic botanical infusions in "Indian Gin" are spicy and intriguing in the way that other gins aren't. Bulldog is an Indian Gin in the truest definition, and is carrying the torch that Tanqueray dropped when they discontinued my favorite gin, Malacca.
As expected, Bulldog does have a unique botanical blend. Twelve ingredients are used to impart flavor, and the more unique are dragon eye, poppies, lotus leaves, cassia, and almonds. Dragon eye is better known as longan, and is reputed to help both sexes with a little extra zing in the bedroom. I don't know if it's true, but I do know that it tastes good.
In tasting Bulldog I get medium juniper, strong citrus, and a spicy grains of paradise finish. Describing the after effect on the finish is difficult; the closest comparison I can draw is to a baker's mix of cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. The distinct layers of competing flavor make Bulldog an interesting beverage to sip neat. Not many gins are pleasant warm, but this is a welcomed exception. A small splash of water subdues the nose into a flowerful bouquet, and removes some of the fire from the spices on the finish.
Street price is in the $30.00 range, and beyond the standard cocktail recipes I'll recommend picking up a bottle for dinner party novelties. Bulldog is a perfect compliment to a grilled steak or salty French entree, and a mid-dinner martini is a nice change from the standard lineup of wines.