Captured in a modest bottle, painted in blue and white, Bell Ringer London Dry Gin is an affordable gin, that’s for sure. I picked it up for a modest $14 thinking I’d take a chance since I’ve had decent luck with cheap spirits lately. Was I wrong? Let’s find out.
Bottled by Frank-Lin Distillers (what a website) at 94.4 proof, Bell Ringer is certainly a punch in the face. On the nose, you’ve got the astringency of a low-grade neutral-grain spirit, followed by a smattering of juniper and then shame. Lots of shame. The label proudly displays “Old World Recipe,” so I’m guessing their recipe dates back to the Dark Ages. The taste is forgettable. It’s not particularly interesting as it’s simply juniper and a bit of citrus, along with the kind of mouthfeel one would expect from a gin that’s only two steps up from being packaged in a plastic bottle. The finish is short and sweet – the only real enjoyable quality of this particular gin.
Here’s the thing – for 14 bucks, I suppose you could do a lot worse. This gin can easily be mixed with a generous portion of tonic or vermouth for something enjoyable. The thing that gives me pause, however, is the fact that for a few dollars less you can have a gin like New Amsterdam which is both easy on the wallet and actually drinkable.
As it stands, I wouldn’t recommend this gin to anyone – there are simply too many better choices available. I won’t let this experience distract me from my current M.O., however. I’m on sort of a kick with regard to finding cheap liquor that pleases. It’s a fun diversion, for the most part. Unfortunately, there are times like these when I begin to question my own judgement. Remember – I take the pain so you don’t have to.
Until next time.