When Hendrick's hit the market, Gin wasn't the thriving and versatile spirit category it is today. With its distinctive botanical selection and clever marketing approach, Hendrick's was a forerunner for most modern brands.
The combination of Bulgarian rose and cucumber essence was a bold move at the time, and it still feels highly creative even twenty years later.
About Hendrick's Gin
Hendrick's is a Scottish Gin with a very distinct flavor profile. The floral notes paired with juniper and subtle hints of cucumber are truly unique. When it was released in 1999, it was one of the first craft Gins with such a radical new approach; And this paved the way for many more brands that followed.
The brand used to pride itself on producing the most unusual Gin. While that probably was true in 1999, today, there are myriad botanical liquors with a creative set of ingredients.
Further, what many don't know, Hendrick's is a blended spirit distilled in two different stills. One is a Carter-head still, the other a copper pot still. Both products are blended before the final ingredient is added.
- Producer: William Grant & Sons
- Type: Contemporary / New Western Dry
- Origin: Scotland
- First released: 1999
- ABV: 41.3% (82.6 proof) or 44% (88 proof), depending on the region
- Still type: 2 different ones - Copper Pot and Carter-Head
- Price: $35
- Botanical Ingredients: Juniper, coriander, rose petals, cucumber, elderflower, caraway seeds, Angelica, lemon, orange, yarrow, pepper
- Taste: Floral and junipery with hints of cucumber
- Recommended Tonic water: Fever-Tree Indian Tonic water
Botanicals in the Gin
The known botanicals are angelica root, caraway seeds, chamomile, coriander seeds, cubeb pepper berries, elderflower, lemon peels, meadowsweet, orange peels, and orris root.
After distillation and blending, the essences of rose and cucumber are added to the mixture. This edition of the signature flavors rounds off the spirit.
Hendrick's Gin has a very fresh and floral aroma. These floral notes mix with spicy notes and hints of lime, pine, and eucalyptus.
Sipped neat, it shows a smooth texture and surprisingly strong notes of juniper and citrus blended with peppery notes.
The aftertaste is where the distinct signature taste of Hendrick's comes to light: a floral, rose-forward taste with hints of stewed cucumber complemented by junipery notes.
Best Tonic Water in a Gin & Tonic
In a G&T, we recommend Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water. This excellent tonic water has subtle citrus aromas and helps Hendrick's Gin to unfold its full potential. A pleasant bitter note in the finish makes the combination a perfect match in a Gin & Tonic.
To emphasize the cucumber notes, drinks made with Hendricks are often served with fresh cucumber slices. That supports the taste and also makes for a nice visual.
What makes it so special?
The answer to this question is multifaceted. Yes, it's a high-quality product with a unique list of botanicals. However, that's not what makes the spirit so special today.
Moreover, Hendricks is distinguished by creativity and innovation when they were the first to include such unusual botanicals as rose and cucumber. Also, the branding and marketing aspects are not to be underestimated. Here's one of their humorous and witty slogans:
"Preferred by 1 out of 1000 Gin drinkers."
The history of Hendrick's Gin
The Scottish brand belongs to William Grant & Sons, a family-owned distilling company from Scotland. The mastermind behind the spirit, though, is Lesley Gracie. She had been working for the company for about ten years when she came up with Hendrick's Gin.
Her task was to create a super-premium product that stood out from the masses. And she delivered. Hendrick's Gin got first released in the United States in 2000. And though it is originally from Scotland, the launch in the UK was only three years later, in 2003.
Together with other premium-Gin releases like Tanqueray No 10 (launched in 2000), Hendrick's tried to bring Gin back on the bar menus. The underlying reason for this was that the Gin market in the UK shrank by 25% from 1990 to 2000.
Luckily, this renaissance of the juniper-flavored spirit coincided with the revival of craft cocktails. Together, these two factors ensured that the market experienced an upswing that continues to this day. Slowly at first, but since 2010 the market has been growing dramatically.
Limited Edition releases
Besides the standard expression, Hendrick's started to release some additional types in the last couple of years. These limited releases are Hendrick's Lunar Gin, Midsummer Solstice, Hendrick's Orbium, and Amazonia.
Midsummer Solstice was the first release of Hendrick's "Cabinet of Curiosities."
It is a limited edition trying to emphasize the existing flavors of the original product. The result is a complex yet intensely floral spirit with just enough juniper notes to be called a Gin.
Hendrick's Lunar Gin
Hendrick's Lunar expression is a strictly limited edition. A spirit advertised as "conceived under the influence of moonlight."
The overall taste of Lunar is floral and spicy, with notes of cardamom, pepper, and cinnamon. The spirit got released in 2020 as the second release of the "Cabinet of Curiosities."
Orbium is a new take on the classic Hendrick's recipe. It's a "quininated" Gin, meaning that, besides wormwood and lotus blossoms, quinine is part of the mix.
It is a perfect choice for a Gin and Tonic because the tonic water helps pronounce the wormwood notes.
Amazonia is a limited release that is only available at airports. As the name and the point of selling indicate, Amazonia intends to bring a vacation feeling home.
It's full of fruity and tropical flavors like pineapple and mango.