The ginaissance has spawned a crowded marketplace and distillers need to be on top of their game, or at least their marketeers, to carve out a comfortable niche. Bathtub Gin has one of the most distinctive bottles on the market, bell-shaped, encased in brown paper, with a wax seal and string around the neck, redolent of the days of the Prohibition and bootleggers, that fits in perfect harmony with its name. It is a delicious gin and is highly regarded, rightly so,
One of the recent bandwagons that has emerged in the gin sector is the mania for flavoured gins. This presents a significant dilemma for established brands. Do they develop a flavoured gin from scratch or do they tinker around with their existing hooch. Bathtub have chosen to follow the latter patch but have added an extra element of jeopardy by inviting the great British public, via a social media campaign, to select their preferred pairing of additional flavours.
Democracy has not had a happy track record in recent years, but, for once, the public, carefully steered, have come up trumps. Grapefruit and rosemary were the selected pairing and for what is already a bold gin it is an excellent choice, adding a bit more in the way of vibrancy, zest, and floral notes to the original recipe.
The base gin is the tried and tested Bathtub, which is made by cold compounding where the botanicals are added by infusion without distillation, as was the case in the bootleg days. The grapefruit and rosemary are added after the original gin has been created. As the label says “we blend and infuse Bathtub Gin with natural grapefruit and rosemary to hit those fragrant bittersweet and herbal notes that make this craft gin so delicious”.
They are not wrong. Retaining the light-brown colouring, botanical profile, creaminess, and strength (43.3% ABV) of the original Bathtub Gin, on the nose the familiar aroma of a hefty wedge of juniper, cardamom, and orange is joined by the more delicate, fragrant, floral notes of the rosemary. In the mouth the immediate hit is that of grapefruit that makes a full-frontal assault on your tastebuds, before allowing the earthier notes of the juniper, cinnamon, and rosemary to get a look in. This impressive and intriguing gin signs off with a lingering aftertaste full of spice and sweet citrus.
What could have been two completely disparate parts bodged together have been melded together with some finesse to create a well-balanced spirit which is reminiscent of but different from the original Bathtub. Whether it was worth the effort, only the consumers and sales figures will ultimately determine. For me, no great fan of flavoured gins, it did at least recognise the concept that a gin should be juniper-led and was moreish. Whether it would sway to forsake the original, I doubt.
At least democracy sometimes can come up trumps.
Until the next time, cheers!