Hendrick’s Gin is a modern gin with an old-time aura and delicate, floral aromatics. This bottle has influenced a generation of creative craft gins.
Company: William Grant and Sons
Distillery: Girvan, Scotland
Still Type: copper pot still and Carter head still
- Floral, fruity, fresh aromatics
- Strong juniper note on the palate adds backbone and structure.
- It brings a different level of botanical complexity to standard gin cocktails.
- Priced well above a typical bottle of good-quality gin
Nose: Distinct presence of classic juniper, but with a strong floral touch from the rose petal and chamomile in the botanical blend, plus fresh lime and a soft cucumber note
Palate: Sweet elderberry and citrus notes, and a burst of juniper-pine, cucumber-skin tannin, and musky angelica mid-palate
Finish: Dry and crisp, almost amaro-like in its pleasant bitterness and dry finish
Hendrick’s is often referred to as “the cucumber gin.” And, indeed, that flavor is an integral piece of this gin’s botanical makeup. But it’s more interesting than that. For all its tradition-breaking botanicals—yes, those famed cucumbers and roses—it is still very much centered by piercing, pine-y juniper. This is not a gin for those unsure about the spirit. But if you love gin, this one’s floral notes on the nose and palate, fruitiness, silky texture, and dry pine-y crescendo of flavor feel as fresh and new as it did when Hendrick’s launched more than 20 years ago.
The gin, with its 11 botanicals in total, is made as if it’s two separate gins with the same ingredients. One batch is steeped overnight and redistilled, another is distilled in one of the few remaining Carter head antique stills (which is basically a basket still in which the botanicals are steamed during the distillation process); then the two distillations are blended in 500-liter batches. It’s fun to use it for extra oomph in a Pimm’s Cup or for a gin-heavy Negroni. It’s also excellent in a Martini, but go with a citrus twist as the garnish, which better balances the gin’s delicate botanicals an olive would.
So, who is the Hendrick in question? After Hendrick’s distiller Lesley Gracie created and perfected the recipe, the Grant family agreed that its eldest family member at the time, Janet Sheed Roberts (the granddaughter of William Grant and who died at the ripe old age of 110 in 2012), would name the new product. With its pretty floral botanicals in mind, she christened the gin Hendrick’s after a beloved gardener who worked for the family and who had a knack for growing gorgeous roses.
The bottom line: With its apothecary-style bottle and garden-influenced aromas and flavor, Hendrick’s adds a bit of special-occasion panache to your bar cart.