London Dry Gin Round 8 – Fords (Champ) VS Bloom (Challenger)

Here’s another 2017 round of the gin battles, making this Round 8 to date. We have the previous, newly crowned champ Fords versus the beautifully bottled Bloom.


[CHAMPION from Round 7, winning out over Pink 47]

1) Ford’s Gin London Dry – 45% ABV – 750ml., The 86 Co. (England), $43.70 CAD,  Jan 2017 – BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled by 8th gen Master distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co.
  • 9 botanicals: Italian juniper, Romanian coriander seed, Spanish lemon peel, Haitian/Moroccan bitter orange peel, Turkish grapefruit peel, Chinese jasmine, Italian/Moroccan orris powder, Polish angelica, Indonesian cassia
  • botanicals steeped for 15 hours, cooked for 5 hours

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<VS> Challenger:

2) Bloom Premium London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml., G&J Greenall (England), $53 CAD,  sometime in 2015-16 – BC Liquor Stores

  • 29 international awards since 2008 (bloomgin.com)
  • created by one of world’s few female master gin distiller, Joanne Moore
  • includes juniper berries from Tuscany, chamomile from France, honeysuckle and pomelo from China
  • affinity for strawberry, rose, lemon, and pear when creating cocktails
  • quality wood top-authentic cork stopper (as opposed to being a cheap aluminum screw top cap)

(right)(cork stopper)

<Criteria>

Nose: Ford exhibits a mostly clean grassy-mineral juniper body with hints of its unique ingredient jasmine, with a bit of alcohol detection at the deep backend. Bloom… what?? had to do a double take; Extremely different with a chamomile-honeysuckle-soft pomelo identity, whilst being very clean from start to finish. It’s a close one but I prefer the brightness of Bloom. Bloom takes it.

Taste & Texture: Ford comes out swinging with an aggressive tangy alcoholic medium harshness, thicker oily viscosity, cinnamon-juniper-jasmine, prickly numbing tongue, menthol throat warmth finish. Blooms is less thick than its competitor, floral-honeysuckle and chamomile up front, light-medium alcohol burn mixed with pomelo citrus while juniper kicks in at the late mids until the finish. Very mild throat burn and a rather clean but unfortunately short finish. There’s about a medium level of depth of flavour for Bloom but the duration of flavour seems too short. I definitely enjoy the flavour, but Ford is simply a more robust gin. Ford gots it.

Final Notes:

  • Ford has a +body, +length, +depth, but unfortunately -smoothness and +burn = will work better in a cocktail with many ingredients
  • Bloom has a unique floral-citrus flavour profile but a weaker body = suitable in a cocktail with few ingredients
  • I would stock both, as both are delicious

but if I had to pick a winner to go to the next round, WINNER = Fords Gin

Alcoholic Cloudy Lemonade – Hooper’s (London, Brighton, UK)

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  • My Rating: [B-]

Alcoholic Cloudy Lemonade – Hooper’s, 4.0% ABV, 500ml., (London, Brighton, UK)

Ingredients: water, alcohol, sugar, lemon juice (5%), natural lemon flavour, citric acid, ascorbic acid, colour (E160A)”

  • Style: (Lemonade) Fruit Cooler
  • Taste: Undetectable alcoholic fizzy lemon squash
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $4 – 500ml., August 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this at drinking parties: yeah pretty good flavour

Visual: Pours cloudy pale white-yellow with lots of bubbles in the glass and lots of soda-like activity.

Nose: clean lemonade soda. Enticing. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: soda fizziness

Mid-palate: medium sour-puckery, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) lemonade

Finish: burpy, lemon peel + oils, mild alcohol bitterness detection, tart lemon finish.

Summary: Decent medium bodied lemon flavour; it drinks like a Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade or a San Pellegrino Limonata. You can barely taste any alcohol in this one.

Alcoholic Strawberry & Elderflower – Hooper’s (London, Brighton, UK)

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  • My Rating: [C-]

Alcoholic Strawberry & Elderflower – Hooper’s, 4.0% ABV, 500ml., (London, Brighton, UK)

on the back label:

“A sparkling alcoholic strawberry & elderflower flavoured juice drink.

Ingredients: water, alcohol, sugar, lime juice (3.3%), strawberry juice (1.7%), natural flavours, citric acid, natural colouring from carrot.”

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  • Style: (strawberry, elderflower) Fruit Cooler
  • Taste: Candied strawberry artificial sweetener roughness
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $4.30 – 500ml., June 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this at drinking parties: sure if your friends haven’t tried it before

Visual: Pours bright ruby pink with lots of fizz, no head, lots of big bubble activity.

Nose: super candied strawberry, almost perfume/soap-like. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: soda-like fizzy bite, incoming dense sugars

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-sweetness, light tangy, (MAIN) artificial strawberry candy, artificial sweetener palate roughness, mild elderflower

Finish: mild cloying, lingering candy aroma, burpy finish.

Summary: Mostly strawberry candy with some elderflower but it quickly gets covered up by some palate roughness. Just average overall, taste is not bad, texture is iffy. Beware the heartburn.

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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