This book has lots to offer to aspiring gin students, of which I count myself one.Those around me have treated it more or less magically, as a necessity for their beloved gin&tonic or martini. I admit I've treated it in a perfunctory way when ordering an Orange Blossom - a Screwdriver with gin instead of vodka. But, of late, I've developed an interest in some more complex kinds of flavor profiles. And, given the number of flavorants now used in various gins, the genre certainly has plenty to offer.
I certainly admire Broom's thoroughness in pursuing gin's history as a beverage and as a social phenomenon - actually, an ongoing and living sequence of phenomena. But, I must admit, history per se holds little interest for me. And, as much as I enjoyed reading about the hundred-plus gins that Broom evaluates, I probably won't sample (or even find) more than a relative few of them, let alone the arcana of the cocktail recipes at the end. Then, as an inveterate DIY-er, Broom's convincing case for leaving it to the pros left me a bit let down.
What I take away from this, despite its problems, is an approach to thinking about my experience of a fine product, finely presented. Although florid a times, it offers a language for describing the experience - but one that demands good familiarity with many of the flavorants in isolation. It reinforces the fact that a mouth feels as much as it tastes, and that matters to the drinking experience. Then there's the flavor analogy to a fact that colorists know well, that color can be perceived very differently according to other colors nearby. Likewise, experience of a flavor depends greatly on the flavors it's paired with. And, as you might experience a musical motif differently as a tune progresses, flavors also progress. Different elements present themselves in the first chilled sip, then as it warms in your mouth, then as you breath it out through the nose's rich analytic senses.
So, the direct content of this book didn't offer what I might have hoped - not that any book actually could have. Instead, its language and analytic approach gave me far more than I expected. Among other things, it caused me to reconsider a gin I found at a tasting just lately. It seemed to me inauthentic, too fruity and sweet. Well, if I taste it again, I might not like it any better. I will, however, take it more seriously, consider what goals it tries to achieve (even if not mine), and place it along a much broader spectrum than I knew gins could span.
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Mitchell Beazley; 1 edition (8 September 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 184533938X
- ISBN-13: 978-1845339388
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 544 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)