Distilled and bottled in Scotland, Hendrick’s is a super premium gin made with eleven botanicals and a unique infusion of rose petals and cucumber. For the cynics out there who’ve heard but not yet tried, despite creative marketing and PR ventures – Hendrick’s is not all smoke and mirrors. With its light and refreshing taste, it can lay claim to being one of the very best gins on the market.
Hendrick’s uses a blend of spirits produced from a Carter-Head Still and a small pot still, originally built in 1860 by Bennett, Sons & Shears. Both have been restored to working order after being bought at auction in the 1960′s. The two stills produce noticeably different styles of gin due to their different construction and methods of distillation, all of which taken into consideration by William Grant master distiller Leslie Gracie who lavishes her attention on this most impressive of spirits.
The pot (Bennett) still is quite small and produces a heavy, oily spirit with a strong juniper-flavour. Although oversimplifying the process dramatically, in essence the botanicals are added into the liquid and effectively boiled which allows most of the flavour characteristics to pass directly into the spirit. This type of distillation is quite common amongst gins (although this doesn’t make it any easier to produce a top quality spirit!).
In contrast, the spirit derived from the Carter-Head still is much subtler with light floral and sweet fragrances. This is because all the botanicals used with the Carter-Head are added to a basket at the very top of the still. Rather than boiling the botanicals, which produces the strong pungent spirit of the Bennett still, the Carter-Head bathes the botanicals in the alcohol vapours only. By doing so only the lighter, sweeter and floral flavours are able to be extracted by this method, which gives the spirit its distinctive character.
The final Hendrick’s gin is a blend of these two spirits and is totally unique in doing so, let alone with its subsequent addition of cucumber and rose petal essence that is added before being bottled at 41.4%. To our knowledge, it is the only gin that combines both distillation techniques together to produce a spirit. We’d recommend that if you don’t like gin or don’t know where to start, this is the place as Hendrick’s is not a big juniper gin. That said, the juniper may be lighter, but it’s certainly there creating the base for a clean, floral and refreshing gin. Regardless of whether the cucumber flavour is distinct of the other eleven botanicals, the addition of cucumber definitely adds a fresh quality to the ensemble and the rose can definitely be picked up on the aroma.
There’s no doubt that Hendrick’s Gin has been spearheading gin’s resurgence over the past 5 years and can now be found in all bars across the globe, with glasses of Hendrick’s and Tonic adorned with a slice of cucumber instead of lemon or lime. With tireless ambassadors like Duncan McRae weaving a web of shenanigans everywhere they go and cunning campaigns such as the Hendrick’s Horseless Carriage of Curiosities and the Refined Courtship Clinic, the brand is set to grow and potentially become one of the gin category’s leading players by 2014 (if it isn’t already). With a lengthy gap between brand ambassadors in 2011, things seem to slow down a little and the tide of other gins fighting for their share of the market caught up with the brand’s creative thinking – so its good to now see the Hendrick’s team back a full strength and making waves once again. Now all that is left to do is sit back and enjoy seeing them concoct more unusual ways to entertain us all.
For more information about Hendrick’s Gin, visit their website:
They also have a blog:
And are on Twitter too: