Boodles British Gin (London Dry)
Review: Boodles British Gin 89.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 25, 2015
Boodles British Gin was apparently first produced by Cock Russell & Company in 1845. The spirit was named in reference to Boodle’s Gentlemen’s Club in St. James’s, London, which was operated by the original Edward Boodle in 1762. (As far as I could determine, Edward Boodle had no part in making the gin, he was simply the Club’s head waiter.) In 2012, the brand was purchased by Proximo Spirits of New Jersey.
The gin is produced from distilled British wheat. This neutral spirit is subsequently re-distilled in a Carter Head copper still, which allows the botanicals to infuse gradually into the spirit. According to the Boodles website, the recipe for Boodles contains no citrus elements; but it does contain traditional herbs and spices which include nutmeg, sage, and rosemary (and of course juniper). A further five ingredients round out the recipe, and it is expected to be served in cocktails or over ice with a slice of citrus (lemon or lime).
In Canada (and in the US) the spirit is bottled at 45.2 % alcohol by volume. Apparently it is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in the United Kingdom.
In the Bottle 4/5
Boodles arrives in the squat rectangular bottle shown to the left. The front label is simple, but rather boring. The white on navy blue colour scheme is easy to read, but nothing (other than the name ‘Boodles’) would inspire me to purchase the gin.
In the Glass 9/10
Boodles is a clear spirit which when poured into my glass displays a nice assertive juniper aroma which is melded into a mild but firm citrus and spice. When I gave my glass a tilt and a slow twirl, I noticed a light sheen left on the inside. The crest of the liquid sheen gathered up a plethora of small droplets which slowly slid down into the gin. The are more sluggish than I expected, however, I reminded myself that the spirit is bottled at a little over 90 proof. The higher alcohol content has expressed itself visually through the slow sluggish legs.
As I let the breezes above the glass drift and change, I have decided that the aroma I am encountering is pretty darn close to exactly what I want from a traditional gin. The juniper is firm and dominating, however it does not seem to be bitter or unpleasant. The light but firm citrus elements and the bits of spice which surround the juniper seem to lift the spirit and everything is in harmony.
In the Mouth 54/60
Boodles (at least the 45.2 % alcohol by volume version of Boodles) is aggressive with lightly bitter juniper taking the lead across the palate. The spirit has a bit of bite as the higher alcohol proof is readily apparent across the palate. As I sip a few more times, the juniper continues to dominate, however a firm spiciness has also developed which in fact threatens to rival the juniper. Although there are no citrus components within the botanical mix of this gin, some of the spices (perhaps cardamom and coriander) are providing a wonderful soft citrus-like flavour which underpins the juniper and the spice.
I added a little ice to the glass and found that a pleasing creaminess evolved, and then taking my cue from the information on the Boodles website, I added a slice of lemon. The resulting ‘rocks cocktail’ was not necessarily how I would prefer to sip the spirit; but if you like lightly bitter juniper caressed by firm lemon and spice, it might be for you.
My next bit of experimentation was to make my standard gin and tonic cocktail, a BLT (Boodles, Lime and Tonic if you will). Frankly, I was blown away. I may have had better Gin and Tonics, but I could not say for sure when (see recipe below). It is the firm unrelenting juniper which is appealing to me. Although that juniper flavour is firm, it does not become overly bitter, and it pairs wonderfully with the tonic water. (Yumm!)
I also mixed a nice Martini with lemon and cucumber as my garnishes. In all honesty, I preferred the Boodles, Lime and Tonic; but either cocktail would satisfy any serious gin aficionado.
In the Throat 13.5/15
Although juniper is the dominant flavour across the palate, it is the spicy glow left over which is the hero of the finish. I expect that this ebbing spiciness is partially responsible for how nice those cocktails tasted.
The Afterburn 9/10
Boodles British Gin is a thoroughly enjoyable London Dry Gin. The flavour is not complicated. We have a firm juniper presence accented by citrus and spice. Although the high bottling proof makes the spirit difficult to sip, this same high bottling proof brings a wonderfully firm flavour into the cocktail experience. Gin is, after all, a cocktail spirit, and in that venue, Boodles absolutely shines.
You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
The BLT (Boodles Lime and Tonic)
1 3/4 oz Boodles Gin
1/2 oz fresh Lime juice
1/4 oz sugar syrup
Add the first three ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Tonic Water
Garnish with cucumber
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)