Gin’s continued growth and expansion seems limitless right now. The category already includes pink gin, “gin-in-a-tin”, eco-friendly gins, numerous flavorings, high proof, and even “low/no” alcohol gins. I like gin. I always have. It is seemingly so much more refined than vodka. It has personality and traits that suggest a rich, inner life.
The best of them in my view pay homage to their “London Style” predecessors like Tanqueray and Gordon’s and are created using traditional production techniques, which concentrate the botanical flavors prior to and during distillation—not adding them afterwards. Bulrush Gin, launched in 2015 by liquor industry veteran Tony Bagnulo, is exemplary. Internationally sourced botanicals like juniper, coriander and lavender (to name a few) blend beautifully here.
“The thing that people love about gin is also the thing that people dislike about gin, and that’s that heavy juniper-piney flavor,” Bagnulo rightly notes. “We’re a proper gin, so we have that. But I wanted to make something that had a little bit more lavender, a little bit more citrus and generally be more approachable than your old-style types of gins.”
Distilled in Powdersville, South Carolina, Bulrush Gin employs a traditional 300 gallon stainless steel and copper pot still. The wheat-based spirit is allowed to macerate for 24 hours using up to 40 pounds of botanicals per batch. During the distillation process, secondary infusions are added via “vapor infusion,” allowing the distillate vapors to pass through suspended gin baskets containing Bulrush’s proprietary array of botanicals. After distillation, the spirit is allowed to settle and rest at 100 proof before being bottled at 88 proof. Hand crafted, small batch production yields approximately 500 to 600 bottles per run and ensures Bulrush Gin’s “Low Country” distillery characteristic.
In the glass, the initial aromas of fresh citrus peel and juniper come through, revealing subtle hints of spice and licorice root. The finish is sweet and spicy with a soft, earthy herbaceousness. Bulrush is the perfect warm weather companion to tonic and mixes quite well into a French 75 or a traditional Gimlet. The Beverage Testing Institute awarded the product a 93-point, Exceptional “Gold Medal” in their 2019 International Gin tasting. And the legendary David Wondrich, one of the world’s foremost authorities on cocktails, described Bulrush Gin as “clean and balanced.” Just right, for right now.