Note: This review is for the U.S. 45.2% ABV version.
Boodles Gin was our second most requested gin review ever.
Boodles has something of a cult following. The gin is named for the British men’s club rumored to have been a haunt of men like Ian Fleming and Winston Churchhill.
The brand Boodles has been owned and distilled by many companies over the years— ranging from Seagram’s to G & J Greenall’s currently. In its current incarnation, Boodles Gin is distilled from a base spirit of British wheat. The botanicals are imparted through a Carter Head still.
Finally, the brand reminds you that the conspicuous absence of citrus is intentional as “[the] original distillers who expected a proper drink to include a slice of lemon or lime.” [Source]
Nose: Robust piney and resinous juniper with a healthy dose of angelica. Very classic.
Boodles Gin reads like a classic gin on the nose. Very clean and quite straightforward. There’s a lot of juniper, but also a lot of angelica. A hint of spice and earthiness hovers in the background, albeit subtly.
Palate: Bright and juniper forward at first with a hint of caraway, there’s lemon rind mid-palate and a sweetly spice led finish.
The first thing on the palate is a clean and classic London Dry juniper led flavor. What I find most surprising is given the brand’s emphasis on the lack of citrus in here is the mid-palate note. It reads to me as spice with a bit of lemon rind.
Certainly a deeper look and you can pick out some of the prickly spice of the coriander, a hint of cinnamon bark.
Caraway seems to hover quietly over the entire palate of Boodles Gin. It picks up a bit towards the end, adding a subtle caraway and deli rye bread note here. Resinous pine lingers as well. Boodles’ finish is moderately long and quite warming.
Boodles Gin is a quintessential classic style gin. Bartenders should feel comfortable making any cocktail with it and getting a predictable outcome.
My personal favorites are the clean juniper forward Gin and Tonic. If you’re like me and sometimes want a heavy dose of juniper, you can omit the citrus altogether from your G&T. It’s delicious, piney and only gently spicy. Recommended.
I also really enjoy how the U.S. 45.2% ABV works in a Martini and has enough force to be present in a Negroni. But Boodles has made some of my favorite Last Words and Corpse Revivers.
In short Boodles Gin is incredibly versatile as a mixing spirit.
Boodles Gin certainly falls into a category with many of the other elder statesman of the gin world. It reminds me most acutely of Gordon’s, but fans of Tanqueray and Beefeater will probably enjoy Boodles Gin as well.
Fans of classic gin are well advised to give it a try. While it doesn’t pull any surprises, it’s a very well executed classic gin with a balanced palate and nice flavor.
24 thoughts on “Boodles Gin”
I like Boodles…been drinking it since “House of Lords” gin with the yellowish tint disappeared…HoL gin was the best R.I.P.. Never have found a good replcement for that
I am only 62 yrs old, but have been enjoying Boodles for at least 40 of them and cannot get behind any comparison to any other Gin. It stands alone. Other gins might make a fine cocktail, but Boodles makes a DRINK.
Back in 1978 a bar in Riverside CA I frequented purchased a case of Boodles. It was discounted as a promo. The owner couldn’t get it to sell to the locals so he decided to virtually five it away. I was the cook at the time so it was all I could afford. Over time I drank the entire case, one gin and tonic at a time. Never lost the taste for it. I seldom drink anything but when I see Boodles behind the bar I order one.
Boodles is an unsung delight; makes one of the best Martinis you’ll have. It’s a staple in my bar.
Just wanted to jump in and add that Boodles is, also, my top/single choice for crisp, clean martinis. I haven’t found anything else close and when I make Boodles martinis for people it completely changes their view of what a real martini experience is. I have it in my bar for just this occasion. Great review and great website. Thanks for your hard work.
Living in Florida you look for something with crisp clean and cooling drink in the evening. I prefer it with a nice Partigas Black cigar. Ah sitting enjoying both is what retirement is all about.
One day, checking out various gins at the ABC Liquors in Florida, usually drink Beefeater’s but was looking for something different at a reasonable price point. Boodles 1.5L was on sale, $6 off. At that price it was a few dollars more than 750ml Beefeater’s, took a chance and bought it.
Wow, what a great gin. I use it for martini’s either up or on the rocks (it doesn’t disappoint either way with an olive) and with tonic and a twist of lime while sitting on the lanai in the early evening.
If you’re a gin fan, this is one for you to add to your bar.
Not sure what was better, the review or these comments! Cracked a bottle this evening and made Martinis for the wife and I… Delicious ! We have several bottles of gin in the cabinet, and think Boodles will have a regular spot.
Sage. That’s the key. If you like sage, drink Boodles.
If you’re old enough to have enjoyed the exploits of Travis McGee through the eyes of John D. MacDonald you may remember the “knight in rusted armor” only seemed to drink Boodles. I loved the name and I had to acquire some at my first opportunity. If that’s what Travis had on hand, then why shouldn’t I’ve enjoyed many other brands, but I always return to Boodles.
Christmas 1988 and my fiancé and I went to the dinning room of the Meridien Hotel in San Francisco. I had two delights I shall never forget and they have become my benchmarks: Pomme Frits and a dry martini up with a twist. I’d been a gin drinker since 1973 but this martini was in another universe: the gin was Boodles.
I’ve been married to Tanquerray forever, but Boodles still holds a top spot on my shelf. I vividly recall my first encounter with each of these spirits and, while none equal that first time…each one comes mighty damn close. I’ve tried many over the years but always return to these two gems.
I like to keep Boodles on my shelf for its clean taste and versatility in cocktails. I’m not much of a Martini drinker but I do enjoy one occasionally with Boodles(3:1 with Dolin Dry, orange bitters and a twist). I keep a navy strength gin for my G&T and Negronis.
For the price nothing comes close. I enjoy it best with club soda, a splash of Fever Tree Light tonics, thin lemon wheel and spring of rosemary.
Travis McGee, the salvage expert, originally drank Plymouth, but when it became unavailable, he turned to Boodles. I, in turn, tried it out also. It has been a staple since. I particularly like it in a gin and tonic with fever tree Mediterranean tonic.
Did not know Travis switched to Boodles…
I was never a gin drinker, but I was intrigued by Buckley’s hero Blackford Oakes exclaiming that he loved “Boodles on ice.” I got hooked, and it’s the only gin worthy of my palate.
I try to keep Boodles on hand, but I disagree that Boodles makes a good Martini. The absence of citrus means there’s nothing to brighten the dry vermouth in a Martini.
On the other hand, Boodles makes a terrific Vesper and, in my opinion, a superior Negroni.
The Vesper has more tastes that just gin and dry vermouth, and it doesn’t need a citrus note from the gin.
The Negroni gets citrus from the Campari, which is a very dominating cocktail ingredient, so the drink doesn’t need to get citrus from the gin. I prefer a Negroni with a 45ml-30ml-30ml ratio of Boodles gin to Campari to sweet vermouth.
I never had Boodles Gin until this month when Hank the Maitre d’ at Dear John’s in LA insisted it was the best choice for martinis bar non, but always with a twist of lemon, never an olive that would overpower it. I took his advice and he was right. No more Tanqueray for me.
Recently Boodles started showing up with a metal twist off cap versus their traditional plastic “crown style” cap. The newest version has also changed the taste of the gin. I have purchased three 1.75 of bottles and all of them has a musty/moldy taste and smell like rubbing alcohol. I’m looking for a new final one on dry traditional gin. Vey disappointed.
Boodles tastes like gin is supposed to taste. London Dry, pure and simple. It’s reputed to be Winston Churchill’s favorite gin. I grew up on Beefeater’s, which I still enjoy, but Boodles is my standard now. I also enjoy Nolet’s, Bombay Sapphire and Plymouth as a change of pace, Drinking Scottish gin would be like drinking German Scotch.
New cap. New recipe. Boodles changed their recipe. It’s a lot more herbal than the recipe we loved as our favorite gin. We’re going to every store to buy out the old stock. When that’s gone, we’ll be looking for a new go-to gin. So sad. And, shame on them.
I have been drinking Boodles for over 20 years and it was always a favorite gin. Today, I bought a 1.75 L bottle and didn’t notice the change in the cap until I opened it. I made the martini as usual, and after one sip, I almost gagged; it tasted like swamp water, yuk. I didn’t know they changed the recipe until I read it here, and my purpose is to tell you readers to look at the cap before you buy it. If it is a metal screw-off, don’t get it. They’ve ruined its classic taste, in my opinion.
Boodles is the only gin I drink. I found at in a Chinese herb store in san francisco. I instantly knew what it was and bought it.
It is not as Genevieve forward as you suggest. Nothing like Tanqueray. UT is herbaceous and dry.
I used it in martinis and G & Ts. Perfect. The best.
Even the square bottle turns me on. I am an occasional drinker.
I made Boodles Gin for Seagrams back in the 1990s. It was distilled in a Vacuum Still at the old Chivas HQ in Paisley, Scotland. Even though I say so myself, the Gin was superb and a real favourite of my wife and I. In 2000 while in New York I bought a bottle to take back to Scotland as you could not buy it there at the time. Disappointed to read that the recipe changed.