Name: Bulldog London Dry Gin (40% ABV)
Distilled: In England, which you could have guessed from the name. Calls to mind the British Bulldog. Or Winston Churchill...
Encountered: I bought this in Sainsbury's. I'm going to be honest. I bought it because it was on special offer. £22 down to £18. I mean, come on, that's a bargain. I have always been put off buying a bottle of Bulldog in the past. I don't know why. Maybe it's because the bottle looks somewhat brash (more on that later) or maybe it's because at under £25, I've looked at it and thought 'well, that's so much cheaper than all these other gins....what's wrong with it??' Look, I didn't say I was smart. But one does tend to get led by branding, and also price. So I had avoided it until last week. Oh, what a mistake!
Flavours According to Me: I have decided to try and do this properly, and talk about noses and palates and finishes, even though I'm not completely sure when one ends and the next begins. As I tasted this gin, I thought I would give this thing a go - the complex world of proper, actual gin tasting. And here's what I got (bearing in mind that when it comes to these three elements, I'm sort of guessing which is which - although it seems obvious that the nose refers to all the upfront, in your face bits, including the scent, the palate is the middle bit and the finish is the taste you are left with): On the nose I didn't get much - a subtle, floral flavour that crept up on me. The palate was really creamy and delicious, and the finish was crisp and not-too-sweet, not-too-bitter. In other words, it was 'balanced'.
Actual Flavours: I did very well here. A label comes with the gin, which describes the experience you should be having at each stage of the tasting process. It states that the 'nose' is refined and delicate, the 'palate' is less dry, creamy and flavourful, and the 'finish' is smooth, crisp and balanced. I am therefore going to pat myself on the back, for getting at least some of these elements correct. In terms of botanicals, it's got some pretty unique stuff in it - white poppy, almond, dragon eye...as well as the things you commonly find in gin, like orris root, licorice and coriander.
Extra Good Stuff: The leaflet that comes with the gin has serving suggestions, including with cloudy lemonade and with elderflower cordial. Yum. Also, Bulldog gin is quadruple distilled for extra smoothness. It works. It is very smooth.
Trivia: Dragon's Eye is a cousin of the lychee fruit. Who knew eh?
You Can't Judge a Bottle By It's Cover: I don't like the bottle. I mean, there are elements of it that I like - the shape is curvy and attractive, and I like the studded dog collar round the neck of the bottle. But it's completely, black, with white text - making it look scary and abrasive. Also, the bottle being so dark means you can't see how much liquid is left inside, and this is definitely a negative point for me...how do you know when it's time to get some more?
Did I Like It?: Oh my, I LOVED it. I was incredibly stupid to pass over it thinking it would be no good. In fact, guys at Bulldog? Please never raise the price of this wonderful gin! It's actually affordable and it's really wonderful. I could drink this all day.
Can You Buy It?: As aforementioned, you can buy it in some branches of Sainsbury's (my local branch doesn't stock it, the one I bought it from was in Oxford) and I've also seen it in Waitrose. Failing that, buy it at Master of Malt for £21.95.
Gin For Tea Rating: 9 teacups out of 10. Put it this way, it's up there. I can't wait to drink more. I highly recommend it to all gin fans. DO NOT look at it on the shelf and think 'that looks intimidating, I better not buy that.' It is NOT intimidating, it tastes nothing like it looks. It tastes like a creamy gin daydream. Get some immediately.
Christina, 32, London. Likes gin.