Having reduced the number of bottles of gin I have knocking around, and therefore mollifying her indoors, I went out and bought another bottle today. This gin needs little introduction; Hendrick’s gin, with its apothecary-style bottle and its quirky cucumber USP, it is considered by many to be the king of premium gins.
Hendrick’s gin has been a favourite of mine for a long time, but so was Bombay Sapphire, and that has experienced a fall from grace since broadening my horizons; would Hendrick’s have suffered the same fate?
Produced in Scotland by William Grant & Sons, Hendrick’s is not a London Dry Gin; two of its botanical flavours are added after the distillation process, and as such, can only legally be called a “distilled gin”. These two botanicals are rose and cucumber.
The full list of botanicals is hard to come by, but I have managed to piece the following together…
- Coriander seeds
- Juniper berries
- Angelica root
- Orris root
- Lemon peel
- Orange peel
- Bulgarian Rose Petals
This may be far from complete.
Hendrick’s gin is a creation of a blend of two products from two different stills; a carter-head still and a small pot still. For a more complete description of the methods of distillation, there is a fantastic post on The Institute for Alcoholic Experimentation, the blog of the Sheridan Club, here.
Tasted neat, Hendrick’s gin is a gentle, subtle gin. It is not a big juniper gin, which likely contributes heavily to its popularity, however, it is smooth and complex. The nose is fresh and floral and the initial attack is gentle but there is little spice in the after-taste which is almost entirely floral. The flavour of rose builds and even cuts through tonic water to leave a beautiful after-taste of rose.
I cannot honestly say if my palette can pick out the cucumber. There is definitely a clean, fresh quality to Hendrick’s but I cannot be sure my mind isn’t adding a hint of cucumber because I am expecting it.
I have it on some authority that those that work with the Henricks’s brand drink their G&Ts with a slice of lime instead of the recommended cucumber. Trying it with cucumber, I can see why – it is an acquired taste, and although not unpleasant, I think I prefer mine with citrus.
Hendrick’s gin, along with Bombay Sapphire, has definitely helped bring gin toward the mainstream, but it achieves this through being mild. It is a fine gin, but if you are looking for a juniper bomber, you are better off with Juniper Green.
I imagine that Hendrick’s would make a good G&T with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic water – the combination of geranium and rose is a great one and to have it in drink form should be awesome – I have run out of this tonic, so watch this space.
DB Smith kindly pointed out a much more complete botanical list in the comments below, but I have just had confirmation from Hendrick’s that Meadowsweet has since been replaced with Yarrow. So the botanicals stand as…
- Coriander Seeds
- Lemon Peel
- Orange Peel
- Orris Root
- Caraway Seeds
- Cubeb Berries
Plus essences of Rose & Cucumber