London Dry Gin Round 6 – Tanqueray No. 10 (Champ) VS Boodles (Challenger)

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This is Round 6 in the Gin battle, where two bottles go head-to-head and the winner moves on. Last round we had Tanqueray No.10 winning and now we have it up against Boodles British Gin. Let’s duel!


[CHAMPION from Round 5, eeking out a win against the game Pink 47]

1) Tanqueray No. 10 London Dry Gin – 47.3% ABV – 750ml., Diageo (London, but distilled in Scotland), $46 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • the name No.10 comes from their “Still No.10”, aka “Tiny Ten”
  • recipe contains at least: Tuscan juniper, angelica root, coriander, and licorice.
  • recipe also includes use of fresh citrus fruits, including: white grapefruit, lime, orange, as well as chamomile flowers.

[VS]

[CHALLENGER]

2) Boodles British Gin London Dry – 45.2% ABV – 750ml., Cock Russell and Company (UK), $29 CAD, November 2014 @ BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled from British wheat
  • recipe includes the traditional herbs as well some unique such as nutmeg, sage and rosemary
  • no citrus ingredients in the recipe. The distillers expect the imbiber to add a citrus component  to their cocktail.

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Criteria:

Nose: T.10 is mellow up front, followed by nasal tingliness and some minerality. Boodles on the hand burns your nasal cavity straight out of the gate, very harsh. There is some rosemary/sage plus some juniper mixed in there but overall the alcohol is quite apparent. T.10 is simply gentle and welcoming on the nose.

Taste & Texture: Once again I’m reminded of the slick and silky mouthfeel of T.10 with the first sip. Big grapefruit citrus as usual along with background juniper, a touch of spiced heat, and lingering throat warmth encompasses its flavour profile. Boodles is just a smidge less thick, alcohol tingly and tongue numbing in the mids, sweet wheat malt, grassy juniper body, and very mild hints of sage and rosemary (not enough to discern them). Surprisingly there’s not as much heat as the nose suggests, just a moderate amount. Although T.10 does actually taste a bit soapyI still prefer it.

Final Notes:

  • These completely opposite gins: Tanqueray No.10 = grapefruit citrus bomb, Boodles = herbal grassy juniper

Extra battle – [Boodles VS Pink 47]

Outcome: Pink 47 is even waterier in mouthfeel than Boodles but it packs much more round fullness than the its UK companion. Now I finally see why Pink 47 has so many accolades, it drinks like a well-aged scotch or bourbon with superb length and depth. Pink 47 is levels above Boodles.

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After much thought (clouded by alcohol), I’ve decided to renounce Tanqueray No.10 as the champ and crown Pink 47 as the NEW CHAMP

London Dry Gin Round 4 – Bulldog (Champ) VS Tanqueray No. 10 (Challenger)

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Welcome to another round of the Gin VS battle, today, Round 4. Tanqueray 10 is known for have a more robust presence in cocktails due to its higher than usual ABV. Let’s duel!

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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.

[VS]

2) Tanqueray No. 10 London Dry Gin – 47.3% ABV – 750ml, Diageo (London, but distilled in Scotland), $46 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • the name No.10 comes from their “Still No.10”, aka known as “Tiny Ten”
  • recipe contains at least: Tuscan juniper, angelica root, coriander, and licorice.
  • recipe also includes use of fresh citrus fruits, including: white grapefruit, lime, orange, as well as chamomile flowers.

Criteria:

Nose: This time, Bulldog’s nosing includes a mix of juniper and citrus. The burn isn’t so bad, it comes after the initial bright flavours that come forward. In comparison, No.10 is much more juicy in its citrus profile, exhibiting lots of lime and grapefruit, as well as juniper. Nasal burn jumps out much sharper and right off the bat. Aromawise, No.10 wins hands down; it’s bolder and brighter.

Taste & Texture: Bulldog starts of thick and sweet, juniper creeping up in the mids, finishing fruity yet spicy showcasing the longan. No.10 feels much thinner in comparison, but bursting with immediate assault of grapefruit peel oil mixed with milder orange and then lime oils in the exhale. Alcoholic heat and burn are apparent from the start but offset by the juicy citrus. Alcohol burn is much more apparent than the Bulldog as expected. No.10 has my vote, it grabs you attention from start to finish.

Final Notes:

  • Bulldog’s flavour is a lot more subdued and light in comparison
  • No.10 has the biggest grapefruit citrus taste I’ve ever had in a gin, great for cocktails
  • Although Bulldog is smoother as a sipper (but who sips gin?), No.10 has that robust citrus flavour you just can’t ignore, albeit with a harsher alcohol burn.

Extra: Tanqueray VS Tanqueray No.10: Normal Tanqueray is mellow in comparision. Juniper and pine flavours particularly stick out. No.10 is a lot more aggressive in flavour and heat, but the finish and flavour last much longer. No.10 all the way. Also because No.10, Beefeater and Bulldog exist I’d stock them instead.

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WINNER = Tanqueray N.10 (new Round 4 winner!)

London Dry Gin Round 3 – Bulldog (Champ) VS Tanqueray (Challenger)

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Welcome to Round 3 of the Gin battle! It’s been just over 2 years since I last compared or tasted Bulldog so I’m really looking forward to trying it again this duel. Up against our champ we have the heavy hitter Tanqueray, a globally well-known gin.

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.

[VS]

2) Tanqueray London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml, Diageo (London, but distilled in Scotland), $27.50 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • First distilled in 1830, now distilled in the Cameronbridge Gin distillery in Scotland. (wiki)
  • recipe contains at least: Tuscan juniper, angelica root, coriander, and licorice.

Criteria:

Nose: The initial whiff of Bulldog is actually too aggressive and offensively burning. Subsequent nosings reveal fruity juniper and florals but still a lot of sharp nasal burn. Tanqueray: did I just pour water in my glass? Where’s the alcohol? Incredibly mute until you really stick your nose in there, light juniper and mild nasal tingliness. Kind of a toss-up, flavour or smoothness – depends on what you want. Me, I want something because I’m drinking a gin, not vodka. My preference is Bulldog.

Taste & Texture: I get medium thick, initially sweet and then fruity longan-juniper with a lemon bite. Also a there’s a peppery finish. Good depth of flavour, heat control and elegance exhibited. Tanquery on the other hand, drinks watery, sweeter, juniper with bursting lemony citrus, all the while accompanied by alcohol burn and tingliness from the mids to the flat finish. Nowhere near as graceful nor smooth. Bulldog has my vote.

Final Notes:

  • Bulldog has distinct one-shot composure from start to finish: mellow entry, juniper to sweet longan transition, rounded floral finish. Very sippable.
  • Tanqueray has a mainly citrusy lemon juniper character. Not sippable, better for highballs and not 15%+ ABV cocktails (flavour is too flat)
  • I’d likely stock Beefeater over Tanqueray if want a citrusy gin. I’ll have to do a proper head-to-head to find out for sure.

WINNER = BULLDOG London Dry Gin (Round 1-2-3 champ)

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

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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.

[VS]

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.

Criteria:

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)

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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.

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London Dry Gin Round 1 – Beefeater VS Bulldog

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Tonight’s matchup is the well-known Beefeater Gin versus the relatively new Bulldog Gin (released in 2007). Both are London Dry (wiki) as well as highly acclaimed. I should note that Beefeater is in the average-price category whereas Bulldog is top shelf, in fact more than twice the price (at least here in Vancouver). Keep in mind that comparing any two gins is like comparing BBQ sauces, or salsa, cars for that matter. It all depends on what flavour you’re looking for since each company’s recipe is unique. I’m basing this comparison on answering the question: “If I could stock only one London Dry Gin in my bar, which one would it be?”

1) Beefeater London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml, (London, England) ~$24 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • The manufacturer has been in business since 1820, this gin was first introduced in 1876. (wiki)
  • 9 botanicals: juniper, angelica root, angelica seeds, coriander seeds, licorice, almonds, orris root, SEVILLE ORANGES, and lemon peel.
  • Awarded one double gold, two gold, two silver and two bronze medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition between 2006 and 2012.

[VS]

2) Bulldog London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml, (Lawrenceburg, IN, USA), ~$50 CAD @ W.16th/Legacy

  • 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.

Criteria:

Nose: Nosing the Beefeater, it has strong, sharper juniper up front with very detectable tingly alcohol followed by nasal burn. Bulldog exhibits less juniper and more of a softer, creamy, almond, nuttier scent. It’s almost milky in fact, like orgeat. The alcohol detection of Bulldog is less pronounced. Based on aromatic smoothness, I pick Bulldog.

Taste & Texture: (Since I’ve already cheated and know of the ingredients beforehand, I’m subconsciously looking for said ingredients in each respective gin. Anyhow, let’s get on with it.) Beefeater drinks very citrusy and sweet (5/10) up front, juniper in the mids, light spicy bitter coriander/licorice in the finish. Alcohol burn is there but manageable due to the intense orange and lemon aromas. Bulldog drinks slightly thicker, more tea-like (lotus leaf), less juniper, but definitely way spicier with more licorice and roundness in warmth in the backend. I actually feel both are winners in that they are both balanced, distinct in flavour profile, and easily drinkable. But if I could only chose one, I would choose Bulldog due to the fact it incorporates exotic ingredients that tickle my palate.

Final Notes:

  • Beefeater is all about CITRUS (ORANGE/LEMON), and has a fuller body.
  • Bulldog is slightly smoother, MORE COMPLEX and has more enticing ingredients.
  • Both are winners (I would stock both my bar)

WINNER = Bulldog London Dry Gin

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