Inspired by the Prohibition era home-burning of cheap slave gin, this ultra small batch gin comes from English liquor retailer and producer Master of Malt. Bathtub Gin is a tasty, intense and pleasant gin – perfect for when you want to pamper yourself.
One of the world’s largest retailers of spirits, the webshop Master of Malt, launched a spirits series in 2011 under the pseudonym Professor Cornelius Ampleforth. About this fictional professor, Master of Malt writes, among other things:
Even before he earned his degree and title of “Professor”, Cornelius Ampleforth was a slightly-mad, wide-eyed inventor. He had big dreams of running a big laboratory with miles and miles of botanicals, spirits, bubbling beakers, glass vials, and bottles, and in the Autumn of 2011, his dreams were realized with the release of his now infamous Bathtub Gin. ” (Master of Malt Quote)
As the quote says, Bathtub Gin was the first of Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Branded Spirits. Today there are a total of ten products and not all are based on gin: Bathtub Gin, Bathtub Cask-Aged Gin, Bathtub Gin Navy-Strength, Rumbullion !, Old Tom Gin, Cold-Distilled Absinthe, Rumbullion! Navy-Strength, Summer Fruit Cup, Besmoked Vodka, Proprietary Barley Spirit Drink, Cask-Aged Gin Navy-Strength and Sloe Gin.
For all gin products, they are so-called ‘ultra small batch’ and produced using ‘cold compound’, and there is certainly some “slightly-food” over this production method. Partly because each batch is only 30-60 bottles (of which ultra small), and partly because cold compound, also called infusion, soaks the ingredients in alcohol of very high quality. There is thus no distillation with the ingredients. Thus, the production method for Bathtub Gin is very similar to the way many people make “small gray”, raspberry schnapps and the like. The folks behind Master of Malt just manage to raise product levels above Grandma’s homemade Christmas schnapps.
The production of Bathtub Gin consists of infusion of six ingredients: juniper, coriander seeds, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The draw time varies and is assessed by periodic tasting of each and every batch of peoples behind the Master of Malt at the Tunbridge Wells headquarters. Then all bottles are bottled by hand at 43.3% vol.
When you consider that Bathtub Gin was created by simply soaking six ingredients, it is impressive that the gin is so intense in both aroma and taste. The color is also slightly golden due to the soaking process. In the nose you get lots of fresh and slightly aromatic juniper berries, clear citrus and a hint of cardamom.
On the palette, Bathtub Gin is almost viscous and full-bodied in the mouth, the taste is filled with fresh juniper and pine needles, cardamom, citrus notes reminiscent of lemon. The taste is intense and can seem quite violent.
Bathtub Gin and Tonic
Despite the 43.3% vol., The alcohol is so pleasant (smooth) that it actually tastes good clean (neat) with only a few ice cubes added. However, it is the few who can enjoy gin pure and it is difficult to say gin without also saying tonic The choice has this time fallen on Fever-Tree Tonic, garnished with a few slices of kumquat. Fever-Tree’s distinctive citrus notes and muted quinine complement Bathtub Gin quite well, although the gin’s intense and slightly aromatic juniper and citrus burst through the tonic water.
Therefore, it may be appropriate with a more powerful tonic water a la Fentiman’s Tonic Water, which uses both juniper, kaffir lime leaves and extract from lemongrass. Here, the gin nicely complements the tonic water. Personally, though, I prefer Bathtub Gin along with Fever-Tree Tonic.
Although Bathtub Gin is produced using infusion and not distillation, the taste is intense, tasty and pleasant enough to be drunk clean. Bathtub Gin is, however, preferable as a gin and tonic, where a strong tonic water such as Fentiman’s Tonic Water is the best match.