09.03.2009

Discovery for enthusiastic bartenders: BERKELEY SQUARE & BLOOM GIN

A few weeks ago, Matthias Eikerling from Spirits Worldwide dropped in a few bottles of BLOOM GIN at Le Lion. As I already write directly after the Tasting - BLOOM Gin is my personal end of the dominance of the juniper flavored classic gin style in my drinking habits. Please don‘t get me wrong - as I also mentioned before: If I had to go to an island and was only allowed to get ONE bottle of each booze category I would take a bottle of   classic Tanqueray or Beefeater 47% or some other wonderful strong juniper „This is how gin should taste“ classics. (BTW - I would empty the bottle of Vodka in the basin and fill it up with lovely Hendricks - somehow I have to bring in a another bottle of Gin - who needs Vodka on an Island ? )
BLOOM Gin is a perfect upgrade for a nice selection of Gins in your good assorted bar. The light, floral taste, combined with the violet notes brings in some very new and very interesting tasting experience for the advanced and open minded gin bon vivant. You have to balance your drinks recipes for BLOOM GIN new... some drinks work very well and you get an unknown taste for you drinks. I like this floral Gin&Tonic taste (and ladies do even more !), I think its double refreshing in a Fizz (raise the among of Gin) and very interesting f.e. in a Aviation (Violet Taste). BLOOM Gin to me is special, but very mixable Gin. If you have the possibility to stuck more then the 4 to 5 „MUST HAVE GINS“ in your bar, try a bottle of this one.
To be honest - I was skeptical with BLOOM GIN. It is a shame to see, that GIN starts to be the new Vodka. Lots of Design, Marketing and other needless priorities  often paired with uninteresting content. But after Tasting BLOOM - I come to terms with it. 
BLOOM is made by the guys from the G & J Greenalls Distillery in Warrington U.K.  When Mr. Eikerling dropped the bottle of BLOOM he mentioned that there will be another new GIN from Greenalls: BERKELEY SQUARE GIN.
So I had a look on the website and was surprised: The Emblem is a Lion, one of the Botanicals is Basil - COME ON! Sounds like somebody invented the LE LION GIN BASIL SMASH HOUSE GIN - even before I though about it. So ... already sounds interesting to me. Last Week, Mr. Eikerling gave me a phone call. He is on the Road with MR. Mike Nield, Senior Commercial Manager Greenalls and has two bottles of Berkleys Square Gin. Because of some short/production/something problems with the cork of BS Gin,  there a still no bottle in the trade/market. So we could do a kind of „Smallest World Premier Gin Tasting“ ever. Sounds great to me. I called a few bartenders and Cocktail Enthusiasts and we opened the first bottles out of the Distillery at LE BON LION, our small private bar, opposite of LE LION.
Before we started, Mike gave me some tasting instructions. Berkleys Square Gin is a very  mellow Gin. It won‘t work in a Gin & Tonic and he recommends to drink it need over one big piece of ice. 
And - he was absolutely right. BS Gin is totally lost in a Gin & Tonic. Forget about it. But, if you sip BS Gin over ice, neat, it gave me some fine flavors, I never found in Gin before. If you are used to drink neat spirits - its delicious.
The main botanicals, next to Juniper are basil, lavender, sage and kaffir lime leaves. The Idea behind BS Gin was to get in touch with the „green“ botanicals, no Gin touched before. We started to mix a few classic Cocktails with this Gin and I still have to mention that bringing ONLY TWO bottles of this new Gin to a crowd of bartender and cocktails lovers is somehow inconsiderate - Mr. Eikerling! I have to mention this, because we had to stop mixing BS Gin very, very soon, because there was nothing left. 
My thought about BS Gin are very similar to BLOOM GIN, even if its a total different product. Berkley Square Gin is a niche product. It is very, very special in taste and you don‘t need it in a regular bar. But, to me, Berkley Square Gin is something special - a absolute recommendations for an enthusiastic cocktailian. We mixed f.e. a Gimlet but changed the proportions to 60 ml BS Gin to 15 ml Roses Lime Juice. The Gin is mellow and his flavors are weak. But if you find the right proportions you get a herbal taste in your drink, you never had before. This Gimlet was interesting herbal - unknown flavors and delicious in this own way. 
BLOOM Gin, I think its interesting for bigger bars and Night Clubs. Why?  You will reach people, who never tried Gin, and they will love it. Some at our Tasting said BLOOM makes an outstanding „Ladies Gin and Tonic“ - and even If I think that there a many Ladies out there, which will Kick ass you for this conclusion (one I know just closed her liquor shop in brooklyn), they are right in general.
Stoking Berkeleys Square Gin in your bar is like buying a 1960 MG Roadster if you already have a Porsche, and Classic Jaguar and Mercedes in your Car Park. Hey - you don‘t need it - but driving a MG Midget without roof through the middle of England is some special and advanced driving experience you might won‘t miss. 
Mr. Eikerling brought a third Gin (only ONE Bottle - COME ON!) of Greenalls Special London Dry Gin - 48% Vol. To be honest ... As a good host I let my guests try first and the only sip I could do at the End was a Gin and Tonic. So I can‘t say if its good or bad. Mr. Eikerling - you understand it ? 
But, since a few of the big major gin brands in germany start raising the prices, some of them nearly immoderate, it could be an interesting alternative for the 43% to 50% Vol. Classic stuff, you normally need in a good bar. Lets wait and see.
A final "Don't get me wrong" - prices is the keyword! BLOOM GIN is currently listed in the first german shops for around 37,00 € for a 0,7 bottle (52,79 € a ltr  - > WOW - Vodka here I come!).  An exclusive deal for a Gin - it is getting an ultra niche - because only a few exclusive bar will afford this in germany, I guess. So if a regular Gin & Tonic (f.e. Tanqueray, Bombay, Beefeater - all 47% Vol) is 12,00 € at Le Lion what will a BLOOM TONIC cost? 14,00€?  Have to think about it. Currently I have no price for BERKELEY SQUARE Gin. From the Taste it is an interesting addition for a high class bar to me. Hopefully, the price is not - over the top.

Most of you already drunk a lot of Greenalls produced Gin, even if you don‘t realize it. Greenalls produces lots of third party Gin and the worlds famous one is BOMBAY SAPPHIRE. So, its interesting to see that they start now there own Premium Gin Segment. And even if its made for a very small niche market, I think they will be successful with it. I think it is interesting to see, how successful they are allowed to be, when they still produce one of the worlds finest premium Gins (Which I also can more than recommend - but only in the 47% Vol. Version). Hopefully, there will be a little bit space for some interesting green niche products next to the well known blue.