Interview

No. 1 gin in the Netherlands – David Blom about BOBBY’S Gin

BOBBY’S Dry Gin is a premium gin with Indonesian roots from Schiedam in the Netherlands. The brand was founded in 2014 by the two brothers Sebastiaan van Bokkel and David Blom. They refined the recipe of their grandfather Jacobus Alfons from Ambon in Indonesia, who was also known as Bobby. BOBBY’S is a distilled gin that combines flavors from East and West, resulting in a spirit that can aptly be described as a combination of Dutch courage and Indonesian spirit.

In the interview with David Blom, we find out more about the history of Bobby’s Gin, its unique products and future plans.

Who are you and what do you do at BOBBY’S Gin?

David Blom: My name is David Blom, I am the co-Founder and Grandson of Bobby Alfons. It is my Grandfather Jacobus ‘Bobby’ Alfons whos recipe was the inspiration and namesake of Bobby’s Gin as we know it today

How did the idea for BOBBY’S Gin come about?

David Blom: My grandfather ‘Bobby’ Alfons, infused Dutch jenever with the Family’s, Pinang Raci spice mix. Unknowenly he was making a gin in the simplest form, by using his wifes spice mix. All Indonesian families cook with their own unique spicemix. Pinang Raci literally tranlstaes to „Mish Mash of spices“.

©BOBBY’S Gin

In 2012 my brother (Sebastiaan) and my self had the idea to innovate on our grandfathers recipe. We started distilling the botanicals, it took us two years to learn that distilling each botanical seperately would give us the best result in a bottle. This year marks our 10th anniversary after we launched in 2014. Today weh ave a range of products that we know as: Bobby’s Dry Gin , Bobby’s Pinang Raci Gin and Bobby’s Jenever.

BOBBY’S is currently the No. 1 brand in the Netherlands. How has it developed since its launch? What milestones have there been?

David Blom: There have been so many! Bobbys is celerating her 10th anniversary this year.Thats a milestone on itself However, if we have to name a few it would be the fact that we have won the category “Best Gin” in a national prime time TV show called “Kassa”. This really accelerated demand in Holland and abroad. In the years onwards our liquid has won many industry awards.

©BOBBY’S Gin

Of course it is important to have good industry results with your product, as the industry is the first gate to the consumer. Consumer recoqnition end of the day is what ultimately adds in building a brand. Naturally we were very proud when we where selected “Best Gin of the Netherlands” in a blind tasting consumer panel of Gin Lovers who where affiliated with one of the 5 gin festivals of Holland.

Your classic is BOBBY’S SCHIEDAM DRY GIN. How is the product made? What is special about the gin?

David Blom: Bobbys dry Gin is a “Distilled” gin: we separately distill all 8 botanicals (Lemongrass, Cloves, Cinnamon, Cubeb Pepper, Rosehips, Fennel, Juniper Berries and Coriander ) in order to fully release each botanical’s unique flavour. After this we combine the distillates together and bottle the product in Schiedam, the distilling capital of the world.

The uniqueness of the product is that we source 50% of our botanicals from the east and the other 50% from the west of the world, and that this makes us the first and one of the only Indonesian- Dutch hybrid gin with a unique flavour. The product also reflects on me and my brother as we are also a Dutch – Indonesian blend ;)

What is special about BOBBY’S JENEVER? How does the product differ from classic gin?

David Blom: Bobbys Jenever is normally categorised as a „Modern style, Young Jenever“ : this means we use ingredients normally not widely used in classic Jenever (such as lemon grass and cubeb pepper we also use in the Gin) and have an „malt Spirit percentage of 4% per Bottle (under 15% classifies the jenever as a Young Jenever). This combination makes it a super fresh, mild but super tasty Jenever.

©BOBBY’S Gin

BOBBY’S PINANG RACI GIN is the third product in the range. Tell us about the production process.

David Blom: The Pinang Raci Spice Blend nr 1 completes the circle of our story: in this product we have actually taken out all western botanicals (except for Juniper beries ofcourse) and added more typical indonesian Ingredients as Daun Salam, Galanal and Turmeric, Ginger, Sweet Orange, Cloves, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Cubeb Pepper and Coriander.

What do the products taste like? What is the best way to drink them to fully capture the flavours?

David Blom: Bobbys Dry Gin opens with a burst of fresh and cooling citrus, followed by vibrant juniper notes and an herbaceous blend of Indonesian spices and classic gin botanicals. A firm body built of sweet orange, warming cloves, cinnamon and floral notes move to the back of the palate, supported by a warming, mouth coating texture. Bobby’s is a harmonious and balanced dry gin that ends with a smooth, long lingering and fresh, peppery finish. We like to combine this with a premium, indian Tonic and a slice of orange as a garnish studded with 3 cloves

Bobby’s Jenever starts with soft oatmeal notes paired with zesty, fresh citrus. Lively herbal notes are smoothened on a background of sweet, soft wheat bread and toasted hazelnuts with a hint of vanilla. Flavour continues with juniper, caramelized hazelnuts and cardamom, balanced with Indonesian spice and rewarding herbaceous notes. The flavour is carried by a smooth, warming texture. Fiery ginger root and spicy cubeb pepper create a fresh spicy kick and tingling sensation in the finish. We love this product neat, however it works super nice in a drink with Ginger ale, garnished with a twig of mint.

Bobby’s Gin Pinang Raci opens with the distinct cooling sensation of daun salam and lemongrass. Opening flavours evolve to sweet orange, fresh coriander notes and vibrant juniper. Pleasant floral notes of galangal are simultaneously playing on the background, while the oily mouthfeel is gripping all flavours together. The firm mid palate is intense and built with warm, herbal and woody spices cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and ginger. Bobby’s Pinang Raci Spice Blend No.1 is a very lively dry gin that tastefully balances the diverse flavour characteristics of South-Eastern and Indonesian spices. The finish is long lingering, smooth and dry with a peppery salute of Bobby’s signature cubeb peppers.

You are very busy – last year, for example, you launched the KangaROOS x Bobby’s Gin Ultimate. How did the collaboration come about?

David Blom: I met Rajko who works for KangaROOS one day and we recognized that we had a lot in common. We share the same roots and history as both our grandfathers came from Ambon, Indonesia and were soldiers in the Dutch army between ‘45 and ‘49 in Indonesia. We decided that it would be cool to combine our heritage and brands in the shape of a pair of sneakers. The shoe is based on different colours which is all taken from the rich history of Bobby’s Dry Gin and the Netherlands.

©BOBBY’S Gin

Green from the leaves of an orange, the leaves from rose hip, a green tone from the green trunk that the soldiers had for their belongings when they came from Indonesia. The Brown colour reflects the tone from the cloves or spices such as pepper, juniper and others. The blue, green and yellow colours also reflects to the seals of the Bobby’s Jenever, Bobby’s Gin and the newest Bobby’s Pinang Raci Gin Bottle.

What else do you do to market your brand?

David Blom: Depending on the country, we have very different approaches to the markets. However the one we are very proud of is the partnership with Formula One in the Netherlands, but also the numurous of music festivals, where we are working with our RTD’s.

In terms of distribution, you recently started working with Rising Brands in Germany. Why this company, why is it such a good fit for you?

David Blom: Bobby’s is proud to partner with Rising Brands as we believe this partnership is a great opportunity to shake up the German gin market with our contemporary spirits, taking our brand to the next level. This partnership is more than distribution it’s about creating experiences that celebrate the art of classic drinks. Together we will develop digital and on-site activations that play into this classic cocktail approach, engaging consumers in new and exciting ways.

What are your plans and goals for 2024 – internationally and especially on the German market?

David Blom: Bobbys strategy is to grow the brand further both in The Netherlands and in the export. We are available in 50 + markets and have extra focus on 15 of these markets. In The Netherlands this means that we want to keep our position as the the leading premium gin in the retail as measured by Nielson data. For Germany we are looking to become readily available in the special retail, whilst we focus on a clear On Trade strategy that together with Rising Brands we can nationally roll out in their extensive distribution network.

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+++ We would like to thank David Blom for the open and very interesting interview! If you also have an interesting brand, then we should talk. Just send us an e-mail with the subject “about-drinks interview” to redaktion@about-drinks.com – we look forward to hearing from you! +++

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