Steampunk Explorer – Bone Dry is a budget gin made exclusively for B&M stores in the UK.
Price: ~ £15
This gin was an impulse buy, being strategically placed near the checkouts in our local B&M. I had a quick flick online to see if I could find anything out about it, and though I couldn’t I confirmed it’s made by Steampunk Spirits in the North East of England, who also make the standard Steampunk gin, which is labelled ‘Extremely rare’ and has won awards. So, I plonked it into my basket and, several months later, here we are. The ‘Explorer’ range also includes a blood orange, and a rhubarb expression. There’s no information I can find as to what botanicals actually go into this though!
The bottle is as you would expect for a budget gin. It’s the absolute bog standard whisky bottle. The label though is quite cool, being the Steampunk motif printed in gold foil on white: A symmetrical design featuring a skull with top hat and goggles (of course), what look like griffin heads, horns, guns, and stills. It’s a cool design, but it’s let down by the bottle (though for the price you can’t expect much more really!)
The nose is a fresh, crisp juniper mixed with plenty of coriander. It’s a simple, classic aroma, with hints of warm citrus and a touch of spice. I’d guess at lemon and cassia, but nothing stands out. That’s not to say it doesn’t smell nice though. There are flashes of fruit, and even a little earthiness, but overall it’s very light and crisp.
Neat, there’s a good hit of juniper and coriander, but both fade quite quickly leaving an earthy, slightly bitter floral taste of what I think is probably orris. There are some crisp citrus notes, and a warmth around the edges that leaves a colourful sensation. It’s plain and simple, but decent.
A drop of water brings out a surprising amount of flavour, with a good punch of chewy florals coming through that are almost reminiscent of candy. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much more flavour there is and the finish reminds me of Love Hearts. Not bad at all.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Ridge Valley tonic) with dried grapefruit and pink peppercorns to garnish. The result is a very pleasant drink indeed. There’s a nice balance between the two, with the bittersweet flavours from the tonic working well with the strong coriander flavours in the gin. The citrus notes are accentuated well, though things do start to turn bitter towards the finish. There’s nothing here that truly shines, but there’s also nothing that makes it bad. It’s a good drink, just not terribly exciting.
For the price, I think this is a decent gin. In my view there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and it would probably make a great base in some batch cocktails for a party. That said, I’m enjoying this G&T perfectly well so it shouldn’t be written off as ‘needing to be mixed into something.’ The gin market is very full, and there are plenty of ‘budget’ options that cost more than this, so I’d say it’s punching above its weight in that regard.
Steampunk Explorer – Bone Dry is available exclusively at B&M
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.