FAST FACTS

country

Scotland

Tonic

Classic

Garnish

Cucumber

ABV

41.4%

Arguably the leader in ‘the ginaissance’, Hendrick’s likely needs no introduction. A quick look at Google data shows it’s searched for hundreds of thousands of times a month, with only Bombay Sapphire coming close. Ask one hundred people to name a premium gin? Henricks will almost certainly come out on top.

However, with the bold contemporary flavours now available as a result of this pioneer, how does Hendrick’s compare almost 20 years on? I go back to where my love of gin began to find out.

Key flavours: juniper, rose, cucumber

‘The Ginaissance’ Pioneer

It’s safe to say I owe William Grant & Sons a debt of gratitude. The makers of Hendrick’s Gin opened me up to a whole new world of flavour- a world I previously thought was only Gordon’s, or at best Bombay Sapphire.

Distilled in the small Ayrshire town of Girvan on the Scottish coast, near where I grew up, Hendrick’s is a true pioneer of ‘the ginaissance’. And the gin revival is showing no signs of slowing down with the number of UK distilleries increasing by a fifth to 131 last year – double the number in 2012.

It’s hard to think that this would be the case had it not been for Hendrick’s – a bold brand with money behind it, prepared to be different. Using cucumber as its garnish, instead of the traditional lemon or lime, it changed the way people thought about gin – myself included.

Distillers started experimenting with other botanicals and the result is the diverse, flavoursome artisan market we now know and love. We’ve got gins containing seaweed, tree sap and saffron to name a few, and an increasing number of brands are springing up looking to make their niche in a growing market.

But with so many new kids on the block, does the gallant pioneer still stand its ground in a diverse new world? I revisited my first love to find out.

“Hendrick’s is a true pioneer of ‘the ginaissance’ – a bold brand with money behind it, prepared to be different. Using cucumber as its garnish, instead of the traditional lemon or lime, it changed the way people thought about gin.”

Botanicals

The botanicals in Hendrick’s are reminiscent of a very classic gin. Included in the eleven botanicals are the usual suspects including coriander, orris root, angelica root – and of course, juniper.

Citrus makes up two of the key ingredients, namely orange peel and lemon, while there’s the warm spice of cubeb berry and caraway.

Rose and cucumber essence are what makes Hendrick’s great – and possibly the reason we have the thriving industry we have today. These two ingredients are added after distillation to give it the bold (at the time) flavour we know today.

Nose

Floral with rose and juniper

Palate

Citrus and juniper

Finish

Cucumber and rose

Botanicals

Hendrick’s uses 11 botanicals before infusing with rose petal and cucumber essence. These are juniper, elderflower, yarrow, orange peel, lemon, angelica root, oris root, coriander, chamomile, cubeb berry and caraway.

Hendrick’s Gin Tasting Notes

While I’m not a fan of sipping gins, that’s not really where Hendrick’s’ strength lies. It doesn’t, and never has done anything for me straight up. It does, however, allow you to get a better sense of the flavours.

The nose definitely has that classic juniper, but there’s the strong floral notes of rose there as well. The palate is very much citrus with orange and lemon coming to the fore. There’s a good hit of juniper there too, while late palate there’s a warm spice of the cubeb and the bitterness of the yarrow.

The finish brings the hero botanicals out to play with rose and cucumber taking hold.

It’s with the addition of tonic, and the signature cucumber garnish, where Hendrick’s really comes alive however. Citrus becomes much more prevalent versus the spice of the cubeb. It’s refreshing and sweet, and highly drinkable! Perfect for a warm summer’s day. 

Hendrick’s Gin Tasting Notes

While I’m not a fan of sipping gins, that’s not really where Hendrick’s’ strength lies. It doesn’t, and never has done anything for me straight up. It does, however, allow you to get a better sense of the flavours.

The nose definitely has that classic juniper, but there’s the strong floral notes of rose there as well. The palate is very much citrus with orange and lemon coming to the fore. There’s a good hit of juniper there too, while late palate there’s a warm spice of the cubeb and the bitterness of the yarrow.

The finish brings the hero botanicals out to play with rose and cucumber taking hold.

It’s with the addition of tonic, and the signature cucumber garnish, where Hendrick’s really comes alive however. Citrus becomes much more prevalent versus the spice of the cubeb. It’s refreshing and sweet, and highly drinkable! Perfect for a warm summer’s day.

Hendrick's Gin perfect serve

  1. Add ice to a high ball glass
  2. Pour in 50ml of Hendrick’s Gin
  3. Add three small rounds of cucumber
  4. Top up with 150ml of Fever Tree classic tonic water

For an alternative to tonic, Hendrick’s Gin also tastes great with Fentimans Rose Lemonade (pictured)!