Gin 77 is a small batch London dry from Bristol Distilling Co. that claims to set itself apart from the industry.
Price: ~ £22.50
For a brand that claims it “sets itself apart in how it thinks, the way it goes about things, the drinks it creates, and how it expresses itself” there’s a surprising lack of information to be found about the Bristol Distilling Co. beyond a lot of social media posts on FB and Insta. However dig a little deeper and you’ll find the brand was founded in 2017, seventy-seven years after the last Bristol Distilling Co., founded by Joseph C Board in 1863, was sadly destroyed in 1940 during the blitz. It’s this period of time, between distilling companies, that the gin takes its name. Their first batch was distilled in May 2018 and after some success the team pushed forward with their plans, successfully pitching to ‘Europe’s largest grocer’, namely Lidl, which is where I picked up my bottle.
The gin won Bronze (I think) at the IWSC, having: “… kicked down the door of convention to open up an outrageously more exciting, more interesting and more pleasurable spirit-drinking experience. Not for the hell of it, but for the joyous kick we get out of proving our ideas work.”
A bold claim, I’m sure you’ll agree. So let’s get quaffing!
The bottle is a fairly standard cylinder with rounded shoulder and base. It’s clean and sharp, with the label consisting of angular shapes in grey, metallic bronze, and white. The name is prominent in a nice font, alongside the company logo. On the back is a simple label giving a little blurb about the gin and the company ethos, along with the usual info. Beneath the grey tamper label, my bottle sports a hideous pink stopper, but judging by some of the photos I’ve seen, that’s no longer the case, thankfully! It doesn’t stand out especially, though it’s nice enough.
Grapefruit rises from the glass with a delicate pinch of pepper and coriander, giving off a nice, classic profile that feels familiar but with a little twist here and there. There’s a gentle sweet touch of cinnamon, countered with a light hit from the ginger. Overall it’s a subtle, citrus forward gin with plenty of the foundational elements of juniper, angelica, coriander, and orris.
Neat, it’s soft and smooth with a touch of burn and plenty of angelica. That’s not to say there’s nothing else there though as, for me, grapefruit is the star of the show, with the other citrus flavours backing it up and providing a good overall profile. It’s not tart, bitter, sweet, or sour, but is certainly not lacking in flavour either. I get a definite bite of pepper, adding a lively touch, along with a hint of ginger towards the end, though I feel it’s also a little short lived. The earthy tones linger once the brighter citrus notes have faded, giving an impression of a slight lack versatility. Still, it’s very drinkable!
Water brings out all of those classic, minimalist gin elements, with juniper, angelica, and coriander in particular really coming through along with a more broad citrus flavour. In a way, it’s incredibly refreshing to sip this and be in absolutely no doubt that I am drinking gin. There’s nothing outrageous going on, no boundaries are being tested, it’s just fulfilling the brief admirably. There are a lot more earthy flavours with water, but it’s actually really good in its own way.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with a wedge of blush orange to garnish). The result is delicious, though in need of a little more gin in my opinion. So with that added, the new result is really lovely. Very classic, unassuming and, frankly, great quality. Again, there’s nothing here that’s endangering any envelopes. No trails are ablaze here, but that’s not a necessity when it comes to gin. What matters is how it tastes, and this tastes really good.
OK, so the BDC (if they’re not already referring to themselves as this, they should be!) made some very bold claims about what they were doing and how they were doing it, and in my humble opinion they are not even remotely meeting those claims in terms of the gin they have produced… But that doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is whether they’ve made a good gin, and I think they have. Just looking at the list of botanicals, it’s clear it was never going to set any fires under the behinds of classic gin fans, but I honestly think it would please a great many of them. Forget the blurb, if you’re into citrus forward gins, this is worth checking out.
Gin 77 is available online (and is by far the cheapest direct from the distillery)
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.