Bacchus is a grape based gin from England’s leading wine maker Chapel Down.
Price: ~ £35
I mentioned this in my roundup post for 2019, and Mrs Raven has been insisting I review it for a while now (technically it’s her bottle of gin, though the spare at the back of the shelf is most definitely mine!). I bought it as a gift for her a while back as Chapel Down Bacchus is one of her favourite wines (it’s superb) though I fully admit that I thought it sounded like a bit of a gimmick (albeit one with a gorgeous bottle). Well, here are my thoughts.
I mentioned the design in my 2019 post as it’s quite striking and the sister gin, the Pinot Noir is even more beautiful in its pink hues. The bottom half is beautifully cut glass in a sort of tall diamond effect, and is reminiscent of the brand logo (a cut glass window). The top half is frosted, with a red band around the middle above which the name of the gin sits on the front, and all the usual information on the back, along with a little bit about the gin itself. There’s a nice black tamper label up the neck and over the wooden stopper which helps break up the frosted glass a bit. I really love it, but the frosted section can come with imperfections (i.e. slight marks etc.) that obviously show up a lot more, which can be annoying!
On the nose, a heady mix of juniper and grape leap out of the glass. It’s a very creamy, buttermint aroma with hints of floral aromatics, followed finally by the faintest whiff of citrus. There’s no burn, and plenty on offer here, with the glass positively bursting in light, creamy tones. After that I get mellow notes of sweet and savoury roots, and even a little toffee. It smells divine.
Neat the gin is bold and crisp, less viscous than you might imagine from the nose, but still full of flavour. Juniper is absolutely at the fore, slightly sour and very green. The orris, lavender, and elderflower are prominent here, giving a lovely floral element to the taste. This is cut through nicely by the citrus, which is predominantly orange, but with a nip of the more sour lemon. I still get that lovely buttery flavour though, which I think comes from the lavender.
Water mellows the juniper quite strongly and brings out the sweet, nutty root flavours which are wonderfully balanced here. The orange come out a bit more, also in a more mellow and sweeter way. I have to say there aren’t many gins I would consider sweeter with the addition of water, but I feel this really has lightened up. The florals are still very present, but they feel a little more like a gentle presence throughout, rather than an overriding flavour. The grape base comes through more too. It’s a surprising level of change, just with the addition of water. There is a lot going on in this gin!
Finally, a G&T (2:1 Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic) with dried lemon peel and lavender to garnish. The result is absolutely incredible. All those creamy aromatic florals I was getting work perfectly with the tonic to give a beautiful flavour, but there”s enough citrus and savoury flavour to make sure the sweet florals get carried away. It’s got plenty of bitterness from the tonic, but so much coming through from the gin too. There’s a real wealth of flavour to this drink.
Chapel Down Bacchus is anything but a gimmick. It is a superb gin. The quality is absolutely up to the standard set by the brand’s wines, and beyond that I think it has a lot to offer in terms of flavours that aren’t as common in the gin market. It’s as full a flavour as you’ll find, makes the best Martini I’ve ever had, and comes in a beautiful package, which is why it’s easily in my top 10 gins. A must try, if not must buy.
Remove up to 1 feather if you’re really not a fan of floral gins
Chapel Down Bacchus is available online and in some stores
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.