It’s tough to gather much about a spirit by its brand name, but when a gin is named after Boodles, the most prestigious gentlemen’s club in London, that tells me all I need to know.
Unfortunately it’s not the sort of gentlemen’s club you’re picturing, and sadly there aren’t strippers sliding down a pole into a giant martini glass. Boodles is a members-only cool kids club in London. It’s where the upper-middle class gather to do awesome stuff that us regular folks can’t even imagine. OK, it’s not exactly that either. It’s just a brilliant scheme by guys to get away from their wives and drink with friends. A+ effort, gents.
Boodles was initially only served to club members but eventually hit the mass market. It’s what “they” call a proper English gin. While you might expect it to be an atomic juniper bomb, Boodles thrives on it being understated. It’s the only brand to contain nutmeg, rosemary, and sage, which gets you halfway to the Scarborough Fair, and is also the only gin to contain no citrus.
You might call me a liar when you first smell Boodles, insisting that there are orange or lemon peels involved. I assure you there aren’t though. Coriander seed tends to give a citrus effect, which you can both smell and taste. The taste starts with rosemary and citrus. In the middle the citrus drops out and juniper, sage, and pepper join the rosemary party. The juniper lasts through the clean and crisp finish. The flavors are well-rounded, and the gin is medium-bodied with a enjoyable oiliness on the tongue.
There’s a very slight heat to the finish of Boodles, which is just enough to remind you that you’re drinking a 90.4 proof spirit. They aren’t messing around with that sissy 40% stuff. I drank it chilled neat and in a Gin & Tonic. I couldn’t say which was better because both were tremendous. Consider my love affair with gin reignited.
To use fancy spirits terms, Boodles is “woodsy” and “herbal.” Hopefully my description was at least a little more helpful. It’s $23 in Chicago but appears to get as low as $18 around the country, so enjoy your discount, other people. Boodles should appeal to classic gin lovers as well as our new American crowd, so it’s well worth trying if you spot it on a shelf.