Review: Bulldog Gin

Our Rating

8 Complexity

9 Smoothness

8 Balance

6 Terroir

10 Value

I could start by giving you the backstory of when Bulldog gin was created, how it was painstakingly crafted over the decades by a recluse, English farmer who built ham radios and raised a goat named Herkel.  But that would be utterly fabricated and beside the point. So let me start at the beginning.

Bulldog Gin is an utter triumph.

Bulldog is perfectly balanced.  In a martini (with a lemon twist) its citrus notes sparkle, and the Dragon Eye gives it a floral scent that makes this gin memorable.  Purporting to be a London Dry (more on this in a moment) gin, Bulldog is exceptionally smooth and whereas appropriately juniper-forward, it doesn’t try to steal the limelight in a cocktail.

Regarding its “London Dry” designation, I have no open objections.  But Bulldog is as much a “London Dry” as I am a manager in an American Fortune 500 company — and I wear Chuck Tailors with a suit and a baseball cap in the office.  That’s pretty much what I think about Bulldog, and their marketing seems to support this perspective.  “London Dry” seems to stop at “respect for the art and tradition.”  Dragon Eye, white poppy and orris root are hardly traditional London Dry bedrock.

What I do appreciate is that Bulldog has gone to great lengths to present an exciting, yet well-balanced, civilized, gin.  For all its brazen advertising and exotic flavors, this gin is more Seurat than Van Gogh.  It’s meticulously executed.

Bulldog Gin boasts an ability to mix effortlessly in a Negroni, a Gimlet or an Aviation.  And yes, this is true.  (The Negroni was exquisite.)  But I also can’t necessarily condone bathing Bulldog Gin in the unforgiving fruit juice (or simple syrup) of a cocktail.  Being well-balanced, Bulldog is also shy and unassuming.  Its flavors blend well with eachother, but quietly take a backseat in any cocktail.  (I’m picturing Arne Duncan in the backseat of a Chrysler LeBaron convertible, wedged between Kristen Wiig and the Stig from Top Gear.)  So in my humble opinion it’s an absolute waste to use Bulldog as the chassis for a cocktail with other sugary components.

But here’s the kicker.  I bought a bottle of Bulldog London Dry Gin for $24 in Chicago.  That’s an absolute steal for a gin of this quality.  So whereas a gin like Letherbee, Martin Miller’s or Aviation might go a full nine rounds in a cocktail, the price of Bulldog Gin makes it hard to argue with.

Connaisseur and noob alike will bask in the artistry and chutzpa (did I mention it’s certified Kosher?) of Bulldog.

Bulldog London Dry Gin
Bulldog Gin Company
40% Alc. by volume
$23/750ml

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