Bathtub Gin is a multi-award winning Cold Compound gin from Ableforth’s (previously Professor Cornelius Ampleforth).
Price: ~ £33
Ableforth’s has a range of gins, rums, and other spirits & libations, pretty much all of which are award winning (and you can expect a few more reviews on this blog!).
Bathtub is made by first distilling gin from a basic set of botanicals, then infusing some of that gin with the botanicals listed and blending the result back with the original gin. It is this infusion that gives the liquid its faint amber tint.
The bottle is wrapped in brown paper, tied with string and sealed with wax, harking back to the days of Victorian apothecaries. Since the brand change to ‘Ableforth’s’ the print quality is greatly improved, and there’s not really anything else like it on the market so it’s always easy to spot. I like the design, and I feel it fits perfectly with the gin inside the bottle.
The gin has a very warming, sweet aroma with the cinnamon almost leaping out of the glass, quickly followed by the coriander and cardamom. There are hints of the orange underneath the sweet spices, and thankfully the cloves don’t force their way through, otherwise I could see this quickly turning almost medicinal.
As it is, there’s not a lot of juniper there, so London Dry fans might be put off a bit, but to me it smells very inviting.
Neat, it’s the spices that hold the tongue. Sweet and warm, the cinnamon is doing a lot of work without getting overpowering which I think is thanks to the cardamom (one of my favourite botanicals), giving a much earthier taste. The citrus from the orange also helps to cut through and hold back the cinnamon and cassia, holding the spices together without letting any of them get ahead of themselves.
Adding water seems to allow the coriander and cassia to push through, taking away a lot of the sweetness from the cinnamom which only now shows at the back of the tongue. It’s more pungent and earthy, but not bitter.
I never actually drink this gin any way other than neat, but just for you I decided to try it in a Negroni. I thought the spices and orange would work better than in a Martini. I wasn’t wrong (though it might be amazing in a Martini too!). The warmth of the gin really opens up the bitterness of the Campari and I think helps bring out those flavours. It’s an absolutely delicious drink, though I’d be tempted (as I usually am) to increase the ratio of gin!
Personally, I love this gin. It’s been a firm favourite of mine for years now, even as my collection has grown. For juniper-forward, London Dry fans, I can see why it might not hit the right notes, but for me there’s just something about the sweetness and spice that sets my tastebuds into a happy dance. For a spice-forward gin I think it has the perfect balance, and for that reason I am always recommending it to people.
It’s also pretty much my benchmark when I consider price vs quality. OK this might highlight my ignorance on the details and expenses of some production methods over others, but the fact remains that there is an average price point for gin (which has been creeping up in my opinion and I may write a post about that at some point!) and this now sits slightly below that, so if another gin is say pushing the £40 mark, I usually think to myself ‘I need to like this as much as Bathtub for this to be worth it!’ (though it doesn’t have to taste like it, just that I have to really like it).
Bathtub is a gin I will always have on my shelf, and I highly recommend you make some room for it on yours.
Deduct up to 1 feather if you are not a fan of contemporary, spice-forward gins.
Bathtub Gin is available online and in most Supermarkets
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.
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