Bullards Old Tom Gin - 70cl - 42.5% ABV
When Bullards Spirits’ co-founder Craig Allison was offered the chance to buy a 120-litre still, he couldn’t quite resist the temptation. Until then he’d been running a Gin palace in Norwich, and serving up Spanish style copa glasses to thirsty customers had given him a good idea as to the diversity within Gin. He bought the still and roped his friend Peter Smith in for distilling duties, the only rule being that the gin must include tonka, a mad, mystifying ingredient that Allison had previously baked into fudge.
The flagship product, Bullards Norwich Dry Gin met those aims with distinction, but it wasn’t long until the duo decided to get out the recipe book again and start conjuring up some new spirits. Before long, a Strawberry and Black Pepper addition was born, followed by an Old Tom and an aged addition.
The rule of thumb for creating an Old Tom is to build up the sweetness whilst ramping up the botanical intensity – it should almost feel as though the flavours are concentrated. This is most certainly sweet and strong, but it’s also a very Bullards affair, in that it’s gone a little off road. Not only has honey been added to the mix, but a great, splash of exotic mango, too, as well as a sprinkling of that old firecracker pink peppercorn. Juniper sits heavy on the tongue throughout, though, so while this is indeed an adventurous spirit, it’s also one that true and thorough gin fans are going to embrace as well.