The gentleman’s gin is calling… and it’s humming a very gentle type of sonnet. Berkeley Square is a mellow gin, with subdued notes of juniper and a distinct yet delicious herbal quality. Not only tasty in a G&T, it can count itself as one of those gins that would be great drunk neat over ice.
Part of the Quintessential Brands portfolio, Joanne Moore’s creation was inspired by the herbs of English gardens. By adding basil, sage, lavender and kaffir lime leaves, she has successfully managed to add lightness and fresher herbaceous notes to the conventional gin base. It is precisely this complimentary aspect to gin’s traditional tones (familiar to the gin palate) and not the unusual choice of botanicals for the sake of diversity, that is the nicest element to Berkeley Square. Without doubt Berkeley Square is a different interpretation of what a gin embodies, but it does so without disregarding the core values of the category.
To compliment the different selection of botanicals, the distillation itself is no ordinary task either. Berkeley Square Gin is made using a two-day technique called a bouquet garni. In short, the core botanicals are left to macerate for a day with the others added into the mix (wrapped in muslin) on the second day. Once they have infused the mix with their essential oils, the still is run in a careful and slow process with the final spirit bottled at 40% ABV.
Berkeley Sq Gin to Taste…
The result is that Berkeley Square has a depth of flavour and perfect balance that allows for this subtle gin to really release all of its character. By no means bad in a G&T, it is not at it’s best when served with tonic. It does however, provide a very different proposition when making cocktails as the herbal elements shine through. For these reasons we recommend trying it in cocktails like The Last Word or for those who like the medicinal notes of Campari – in a Negroni.
Berkeley Square was the second release in succession from the G&J Distillery team, with BLOOM also on offer. After BLOOM’s focus on the female demographic, they heavily marketed Berkeley Square as the English gentlemen’s choice of gin, a fact that the oversized aftershave bottle it comes in reminds you of instantly. Combine this with a price tag of over £30 and the target customer becomes clear. It certainly has an interesting brand positioning and the tagline of an ‘effortlessly superior’ gin makes quite a statement. It certainly feels like it belongs to the crescents and squares of Mayfair, but perhaps not in a way that makes it more appealing and in our opinion actually rather less so.
Gender targeting with taste will always be hit and miss, and whilst the principle may work in theory it proved to indeed be restrictive for Berkeley Square. This is namely because of the fact that this gin would appeal to many across the board. The subtle balance makes it an accessible gin for those looking for an alternative to big juniper brands, and the herbal notes give it a clear difference from the competition. It’s smart, both as a liquid and a bottle and it could be one of those gins that some consumers will really love and would enjoy drinking.
The projected image of a gin for the unapproachable St’ James’ dandy in sartorial attire didn’t seem to do this attribute justice. With a few tweaks to the label and a less aggressive push towards the more obvious male clichés, things seem to be changing however. With Opihr Gin joining the Quintessential portfolio as well – there are signs of a wider re-structuring underway and it seems that Berkeley Square Gin will finally get the chance it needs to create a niche for itself.
All in all, where the sartorial dandy brand alignment does prove particularly true is that despite having an understated presence, it makes an indelible impression for all the right reasons, leaving you wanting more. Without a doubt Berkeley Square Gin is in itself the perfect gent and with a little TLC, may just be able to put it’s best foot forward in the near future.
For more information about Berkeley Square Gin, visit their website: www.berkeleysquaregin.com
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