I find this whole notion of “men’s” and “women’s” gin to be bollocks. Nothing short of ridiculous. The notion that taste has something to do with gender is preposterous. Men who like cocktails think nothing of a pink colored drink, just as woman who likes whisky thinks nothing of Islay Peat Monster*.
As stereotypes would have it you might expect the opposite to be their drinks of choice.
So where are stereotypes useful? Well when you don’t have time to tell a full story or create a character from scratch. So think network sitcoms. Create an overweight, loud, white guy married to a younger, slim and conventionally attractive wife. What comes to mind? He probably forgets her birthday. She probably forgives him too easily. They probably have a couple of great kids, and he may hate his mother in law. It would take too long in 22 minutes to establish a complex character, so we rely on these stereotypes to get us halfway there. Another place where storytellers don’t have sufficient time to weave a complex character is the world of advertising. In a brief 30 second commercial, a single billboard, a brand wants to tell you their entire story and help you see yourself drinking their spirit. And although in reality you’re probably more complex than a young African-American man who enjoys wearing suits while listening to jazz and drinking gin (1) or a woman who thinks of herself as different than the crowd and wears vintage clothes and puts flowers in her hair (2) – can you guess the ad campaigns by the way? – some of us identify at least partially with these archetypal persons, and therefore marketers use them to tell us a story without requiring the time and attention span to tell us the whole story.
So what does this have to do with Berkeley Square gin? G & J Greenall expanded their gin offerings in the last couple of years. Berkeley Square is the yin to (the quite excellent) Bloom Gin’s Yang. In other words, Bloom Gin is marketed towards women and this gin is designed to be appeal to men. Olivier over at the Gin Blog likened the packaging to a giant “aftershave bottle.” and I admit- I think his assessment is right on.
So gender and gin aside, how does Berkeley Square gin taste? Does it appeal to my masculine sensibilities?
The nose is actually quite striking, very inviting. Bright lemon, some juniper and a touch of floral sweetness, violets and lavender. Smells contemporary with a couple of classic botanicals making their appearance. Fortunately for Berkeley Square Gin, the aftershave parallel runs no further than the bottle. But I’m not sure I would call the nose masculine; however, as I said, that’s all bollocks anyway.
The taste is quite nice and brings it back a few steps towards classic. Juniper and robust earthiness up front, quiet and never sharp. There’s a bit of heat in the middle notes, but fades gently. A touch of herbal citrus on the close, crisp and refreshing. And this is just neat. I’m quite impressed.
Mixing it with tonic, a bit more or the herbal and floral notes come out. I’m a touch surprised at how varied the tastes can be. Sage, lavender but only a hint of juniper. This is quite nice, remarkably accessible. I mixed it up in a martini, and the flavor was a bit spicier, a touch more heat coming through. Juniper predominantly, but again hints of herb on the close really set this apart. Highly recommended martini and one that I could quite see myself enjoying on a regular basis. I thought again these herbal characters came out when mixed in a Negroni, but they were harder to detect in this drink. Perhaps altering the sacred ratio north to 2 parts gin, you get a little bit more, with the juniper coming out. But for the most part it’s a good Negroni with not a lot of the gin character really shining through the noise.
This gin is versatile, has a nice juniper forward flavor, but also a unique touch that sets it apart from other juniper forward gins. I wouldn’t say it’s quite an opposite of Bloom. It’s more or less a halfway point between the punch of Greenall’s classic gin and Bloom. I’d easily recommend this to any gin fan in search of a smooth, easy to drink gin that puts the juniper up front but embraces some of the creativity of contemporary styles.
Price: $54/ 700 mL
Origin: [flag code=”GB” size=”16″ text=”no”] United Kingdom
Best consumed: Great gin and tonics as well as martinis.
Rating: Put aside all this gendered shenanigans. This is a good gin that will appeal to gin drinkers of any type.
*should that be in caps? Seems like a proper name to me.
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