In A Nutshell
Two gins, one aimed at women, one aimed at men, both produced by a female master distiller.
What They Say:
“The expertise and superior skills of Joanne Moore (nee Simcock), our young Master Distiller, and the time-honoured traditions of the distillation process are unsurpassable.
What We Say:
I’m not saying this because I’ve been programmed to do so but Bloom does smell like a feminine drink. That’s down to a light floral aroma and delicate freshness (and maybe the swirly girly packaging). Mind you, once you get it slooshing around your mouth, there’s a much bigger, drier taste than your nose leads you to expect with hints of camomile and something that tastes of coriander but probably isn’t. I wasn’t blown away with it as a G&T but as a martini it works pretty well. There’s not the usual kappow or long finish you get from the traditional ‘manly’ gins but the sweet, soft taste makes the martini much more acceptable to female palates.
Berkeley Square on the other hand is much bigger, more complex on the nose with a serious hit of lavender leaving a lasting impression. It’s stronger, fuller and bullyish in its flavour, hinting at the classic with modern botanicals thrown into the mix to shake things up nicely. For me, the martini was almost too hefty in the taste department. It worked a lot better with the lime twist which produced a more balanced, softer drink.
The Bloom is soft on the nose. Tastewise there’s a bit of camomile and some toffee too. It makes for quite a gentle martini that’s almost sweet.
Meanwhile the Berkley Square has a little lavender in the aroma. The taste has some black pepper but, more importantly, a lot of lime which carries through into the finish. We tried it in two martinis – one with a lemon twist and the other with a twist of lime. The lime works really, really well. There’s a lot of flavour, a pleasing dryness and the lime hangs around very nicely in the finish.
Also the Berkley Square bottle is beautiful. It puts me in mind of an old-fashioned gentleman’s aftershave – the kind of thing you’d find on Jermyn Street.
Joanne Moore started as Quality Controller at Greenalls in 1996 before getting the Master Distiller gig exactly ten years later. Proof that it’s worth sticking at your job!
Honey “B” Suckle
2 shots BLOOM gin
1 shot freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 spoons orange blossom runny honey
1/8 Madeira liqueur
Lemon zest twist
Stir honey and gin in base of shaker to dissolve honey. Add other ingredients, shake with ice, fine strain into chilled glass and garnish with the lemon twist.
2 shots BERKELEY SQUARE gin
1/4 shot Velvet Talerum (clove liqueur/syrup)
1/2 shot freshly squeezed lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice, fine strain into a chilled glass and float the basil leaf garnish.
Bloom 40% ABV. Berkeley Square 40% ABV.
Price: Bloom £23.49. Berkeley Square £34.99.
Available in Waitrose, independent retailers and online.