The latest in Hendrick’s line of limited edition gins is Neptunia Gin— curated by the brand’s master distiller Lesley Gracie, Hendrick’s Neptunia is inspired by the tumultuous waves of the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. Said to begin with the base of Hendrick’s Gin, Neptunia builds on it with some “coastal botanicals.”
Though famously shy about disclosing them, sea kelp and creeping coastal thyme are among the sea-inspired additions.
Aroma: Hints of kelp/saline add a seaside character to a brightly citrus nose. Herbal and floral facets, including a hint of chamomile, lend Neptunia Gin a round and complex nose, with a hint of green juniper to balance things out.
Flavor: Citrus is surprisingly prominent throughout the palate. Orange zest segues into slightly herbal and green juniper. Mid-palate, juniper is pronounced and front and center. Becomes greener, with more kelp, thyme, and some vegetal undertones.
Finish: Quite dry, suggesting the possibility of actual saline. Warming to the palate— moreso than flagship Hendrick’s— with hints of chamomile flowers, spice and herbs.
Very on trend, the back of the bottle recommends a Gin and Soda, which I also would endorse. It pairs nicely with soda waters— especially lime seltzer.
I saw others recommend pairing Neptunia Gin with lemonade. I’m a bit less convinced as I think the saline qualities, whether perceived or present, run counter. It becomes a bit more herbal and savory. At least for me, these are qualities I’m less of a fan of in a gin and lemonade.
In cocktail craft Hendrick’s Neptunia Gin has a bit more of a bite to it. While it mixes well, some of the novel kelp and herbal notes are completely obscured in a drink like a Last Word or Martinez.
In some ways this gin was designed to be drank simply or on its own.
Overall, Hendrick’s Neptunia Gin
If it captures any coast, to me its a briny ocean wind kissing a citrus grove. Heady citrus segues into an herbal, savory finish that suggests Hendrick’s has noticed the rise of Mediterranean influenced gins.
But Neptunia Gin for me falls a bit short. It’s a challenging mixer behind the bar. The briny and savory character, while growing in popularity, is not for everyone. Finally, it feels like it’s all over the place— its herbal, floral, savory, piney— and it’s a bit chaotic at times. While a critic might comment on it being cacophonous or unbalanced, Neptunia Gin is sure to find its place among fans of savory gins and Hendrick’s in particular.