Bobby’s Schiedam dry is a contemporary gin, and is a mix of traditional botanicals and Indonesian spices.
Price: ~ £36
After finding an old bottle at his mother’s house and learning of his grandfather’s recipe, Sebastiaan van Bokkel travelled to Scheidam and met seventh generation master distiller Herman Jansen. The two of them collaborated and, after two years of development, re-created the gin they describe as ‘Dutch courage meets Indonesian spice’ and named it after the man himself: Bobby Alfons.
The bottle is a tall, smokey coloured glass affair, shaped like the old Dutch genever bottles. The glass is a really nice, unusual colour, and is covered with printed zig-zagging white lines, a traditional Indonesian pattern. On the front in a box is the name of the gin, and on the back a description of the contents. I’m not in love with the lines, but I can’t deny it stands out!
Lemongrass is the first to hit, with cinnamon giving it a warm, fairly sweet element which finishes with a tang of clove. It’s incredibly fragrant, and though juniper is lacking for me it’s got a complex aroma once you get past the lemongrass. Coriander is also there along with a heady aroma from the cubeb which is a favourite of mine. In honesty I can’t picture the scent of rosehips, but there’s a lot going on here that to me is definitely more East than West, but is very nice all the same.
Neat, lemongrass provides a much stronger whack than expected. The flavour is quite unrestrained, so it really is like fresh lemongrass, which for me is overpowering, but sticking with it I get a nice bite from the cubeb towards the end as well. There’s a lot of fragrant spice, and even a little numbing clove, then right at the end I get the rosehip, providing a slightly more bitter, earthy flavour that makes a nicer finish.
With water, the lemongrass is tamed, allowing the coriander and even fennel to come through. It does however take on a slightly astringent, medicinal element which is less pleasant. My mouth definitely feels a little numbed, which is odd to say the least.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Lamb & Watt Light with a slice of orange to garnish). The lemongrass continues to dominate, but there are other elements coming through, namely the cubeb, and hints of cinnamon and clove, all of which pair well with the orange. I get no real hints of juniper though, or other, classic gin flavours.
For me, the lemongrass is just too much. The aroma was pleasant, and to a degree, so was each drink, but I never felt like I was drinking gin. My overriding experience is that of an almost mentholic astringency. I suppose an extreme way of describing it would be almost like a disinfectant (though that is extreme and I don’t think it’s that bad!). If you suck on a fresh piece of lemongrass, or put a clove in your mouth you’ll know what I mean. There are botanicals in here that I love, but for me the balance is wrong and it’s missed the mark.
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Bobby’s is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.