A peculiar review indeed. But perhaps not for the reasons you might think. We’re taking an opportunity to take a look at an early favorite of the Gin is In’s: Hendrick’s Gin. Really the ultimate in gateway gins. But this time, we’re taking a look at the version of Hendrick’s that you folks in the UK are used to seeing. You see, here in the states Hendrick’s is bottled at 44% or about 88 proof. but in the UK? a full 6 proof points lower. 41.4% or 82.8 proof. Does it actually make a difference? Or has my sentiments on Hendrick’s changed in the last 3 years since my initial review?
Getting down to it: Nose and Taste
The nose is heavy on the rose, bright and floral with a hint of alcohol as well. Not something I remember from my initial tastes of even the stronger American version. The taste though is smooth and slow at first, very easy to be drank. But quite, cucumber and neutrality, not much going on. The other flavors accelerate and crash altogether, juniper and earthy angelica, hints of coriander. It fades, leaving a warm alcoholic burn taste in the back of your mouth and a bright hint of floral long after the initial taste. Strikingly easy to drink, even neat, but although it is not much of a difference in proof, my perceptions differ markedly where I’m noting that it is almost “watery and neutral” at first, and feels more drinkable than even Hendrick’s in my first review.
This is not clear whether this is due to my changing tastes and perceptions of gin, or if it is because the proof actually makes a difference. I don’t have an American Hendrick’s next to me to do a side-by-side [quite by design, actually] so whether or not this difference is maturity as a drinker, or if its actual is not necessarily clear. I still find it to be refreshing, drinkable, and definitely the kind of gin that could win people over to the category.
To be honest, all these years after my first experience with Hendrick’s, at most bars it is the most accessible gin behind the counter and still to-this-day perhaps the most likely gateway for the non-gin drinker to realize what gin has to offer.
Now is that to say that there’s not other really worthwhile gins out there that could post as gateways to the spirit? Certainly not. But unfortunately [or fortunately if you’re working for Hendrick’s] most of the best gateway gins are coming out of the explosion in contemporary styled gin in the United States are not very widely available. And though on a regional basis, I might actually recommend them over Hendrick’s for folks who want to become introduced to gin. But since they’re rather uncommon and hard-to-find at best, its hard to really say “you should seek this gin out.” After all, if you don’t like gin, you’re not about to go through some prolonged effort to obtain said spirit.
So although I’ve been a bit critical of Hendrick’s in more recent years [their ubiquitous marketing, the way that there’s bloggers out there who are seemingly just putting out pictures of Hendricks every week] I should clarify that it doesn’t change what they’ve done for gin. They’ve probably made more fans of gin out of former gin-haters than any other brand out there, and two: they make a damn good good contemporary styled gin. And it might be easy to forget, but there was a time maybe five years ago when this was perhaps the best contemporary styled gin out there that you could ever hope to find at a bar.
In conclusion, I’m enjoying a Hendrick’s and Tonic right now. And it still holds up. The rose? It still works well. And although I’m a bit weary of the words “peculiar,” “unusual,” the signs everywhere, the bloggers who are clearly sponsored and its near ubiquity- that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Hendrick’s still makes a good gin, and I stand by my initial review of it. and therefore, I quote from the initial review:
Price:~$25 for 750ml
Best consumed: w/Tonic (sans lime) or Aviation
Availability: Fairly common, usually on the shelf of your corner liquor store, ubiquitous in any big liquor store.
Rating: I love this gin, and its one of my favorites. I generally don’t have cucumber sitting around to garnish with, but in a glass of ice and tonic this gin is one of my favorite summer drinks.
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