London Dry Gin Round 2 – Bulldog (Champ) VS Bombay Sapphire (Challenger)


Welcome to Round 2 of the Gin battle! Last time Bulldog won because of its complexity, but which one will prevail today? In the challenger’s corner we have Bombay Sapphire, another English distilled Gin with the global reach rivaling Beefeater. (Note: Bulldog’s description was copy+pasted from Round 1)

1) Bulldog London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml, (Lawrenceburg, IN, USA), ~$43 CAD @ Newport Village

  • Came into the market in 2007. (homepage)
  • 12 botanicals from 8 countries: Italian Juniper, German angelica, coriander seeds, Chinese licorice, Spanish almonds, Italian orris root, Seville lemons, CHINESE DRAGON EYE (longan), TURKISH WHITE POPPY SEEDS, ASIAN LOTUS LEAVES, ASIAN CASSIA, FRENCH LAVENDER. (differing ingredients in bold)
  • 90-95 points rated by Paul Pacult, Wine Enthusiast Magazine; Restaurant Magazine’s 2008 Spirit of the Year.


2) Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml, (Laverstoke, Hampshire, England), $28 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • Introduced in 1987. (wiki)
  • Flavour is obtained by the “hanging basket” method where alcohol vapours pass through a mesh basket containing the 10 ingredients below. Such method supposedly gives a cleaner, crisper, more balanced taste as opposed to boiling the ingredients with the mash (according to the back label on the bottle).
  • 10 botanicals from 7 countries: Italian juniper, German angelica root, Moroccan coriander seeds, Chinese liquorice, Spanish almonds, Italian orris root, Murcian lemon peel, Indo-China cassia bark, WEST AFRICAN GRAINS OF PARADISE, JAVA CUBEB BERRIES.


Nose: To my surprise, even though I chose Bulldog as a winner last round, this time it comes across as overly harsh and sharp on the senses. It makes my nasal cavity tingle too much for my liking. In contrast, Bombay is noticeably softer yet dampened, with floral notes of lavender leading the way. The winner is Bombay Sapphire.

Taste & Texture: Exotic fruit aromas of longan is nicely balanced with the lemon and florals in Bulldog. Furthermore, this elegance extends to the finish with soft, biting coriander and licorice. Bombay has a strange intial “grassy” quinine bitterness, transitioning into juniper and ending with massive amounts of peppery fire; This makes sense, attributable to the spicy qualities of grains of paradise and cubeb berries. In the end I prefer my gins to be first and foremost:  balanced; secondly: exciting; and finally, floral. Based on these three criteria, I choose Bulldog.

Final Notes:

  • Bulldog is more balanced, more SIPPABLE but is more expensive.
  • Bombay Sapphire has this initial grassy bitterness, and a MAJOR FIERY BACKEND.
  • Yes, I WOULD stock Bombay Sapphire in my bar based on its unique spicy character, it certainly has its place in gin-based cocktails.

WINNER = BULLDOG London Dry Gin (Round 1 & 2 champ)


Used to be new but is now old News Flash: Bombay Sapphire East! It has two additional ingredients, Thai lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorns. I have a bottle that will be reviewed in the future.