Matthew Steeples samples Bone Idyll gin and finds the concept of this “community funded” south-west London distillery brilliantly bonkers; here are “period fantasy” gins made with passion and panache
Alex and Sam Berry, the couple behind Bone Idyll, produce small batch spirits – including not only gin but also vodka, rum and bottled cocktails – at a distillery that also doubles as a bar and ‘gin school’ at Kingston on the River Thames.
The Berrys started this particular business after persuading 50 locals to invest after their restaurants and bars were forced to close during the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns. They raised £500,000 in investment in just three weeks from their local community in spite of seeking just £300,000; clear indication that many believe there to be not only drinking potential but also profit potential in their spirits.
Seizing upon the stratospheric growth in the gin market in recent years very much like the previously featured in The Steeple Times Terlingham and Goodwood gins, the bartender-turned-business-people Berrys clearly understood that the public want gin that actually tastes like gin. They have also captured that the ever more sophisticated yet ever more price cautious British consumer will now also only pay premium prices for products with personality and panache.
Speaking to TechRound in August about the spirits brand she and her husband developed with “character and hustle,” Alex Berry observed:
“We only opened in June, but Bone Idyll is very much based on what we’ve seen happen in the industry in recent times. We felt some parts of the industry were getting a bit stale and it was time for something different, something fun.”
“Similarly, customers have enjoyed the gin boom but now they’re now looking for the next big thing. Our products may be traditionally produced but in every one we’ve injected some personality, from a tweak to the taste to the vintage characters on our bottles.”
Bone Idyll’s stable of three gins numbers a 40% ABV London Dry, a 40% ‘blushing’ pink gin and a 45% ABV gin aged for three months in whisky barrels. Their packaging, which has been described by Sam Berry as “period fantasy drama but done in a modern way,” is certainly stand-out, yet the gins themselves will appeal as much to gin purists as those seeking something a bit more renegade.
Having not sampled the distillery’s London Dry, I cannot comment on that particular offering, but I can say that the pink peppercorn and raspberry found in Bone Idyll’s ‘Blushing Pink’ most definitely will make it to the liking of those who normally add Angostura Bitters to their gin. It’d most likely, therefore, please the late Queen Mother, though the lady featured on the bottle is without doubt a bit more Lady Gaga in her get-up.
Turning to the barrel-aged, here is a spirit that is woody and smoky and thus would appeal to the Hunter S. Thompson school of drinker. If you are perhaps looking to find an alternative to the overly-hyped whisky based Old Fashioned, this could be your next tipple. Here is an ‘Old Master,’ but with a ring in the nose and a punchy kick to the taste.
The Bone Idyll Distillery & Bar is located at Water Lane, Kingston, KT1 1AE.
To purchase bottles, click here:
- 70cl bottle, London Bone Dry Gin (40% ABV) – £32.
- 70cl bottle, Blushing Pink Gin (40% ABV) – £35.
- 70cl bottle Barrel-Aged Gin (45% ABV) – £40.
To learn more and to book to attend the Bone Idyll ‘gin school’ – held generally on Fridays and Saturdays at 3pm – at a cost of £125 per person, click here. The price includes a 2.5-hour gin making session, 3 double gin and tonics, gin tasters, bar snacks and a 70cl bottle of your own gin to takeaway.