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Hendrick’s Gin

Review: Hendrick’s Gin  79.5/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Revised May 23, 2023

The people who make Hendrick’s Gin pride themselves on being just a little quirky, and perhaps a bit eccentric. Their offbeat website revels in the odd and the peculiar and tries to convince all who peruse the site that Hendrick’s Gin is special exactly because of the things which make it odd and peculiar.

The gin is produced in Scotland, in the village of Girvin, Ayrshire by William Grant & Sons (who are perhaps better known for their whisky distillations than their gin).  It is made small batches (450 litre batch size) using two unusual stills, a copper Bennett Still which has been dated to 1860, and a Carter-Head still made in 1948. These stills each serve a different purpose, but together they create a unique gin made with 11 different botanicals, and infused with cucumber and rose petals.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

To the left is the bottle presentation for Hendrick’s Gin. In North America, the spirit carries a 44 % alcohol by volume bottling strength which is slightly higher than the spirit bottled for the European Market which carries a 41.4% alcohol by volume bottling strength. (My sample is the North American Version of the gin.)

The back of my bottle contains the statement…

This handcrafted gin is distilled from a proprietary recipe which includes traditional botanicals such as juniper, coriander, and citrus peel. The “unexpected” infusion of cucumber and rose petals result in a most iconoclastic gin.

It is not for everyone.

It is a clever statement, as it seeks to put its consumer into a special class of people. This gin is not for everyone; it is only for the special few who can throw off the yoke of traditionalism and appreciate something which is extraordinary in spite of its peculiarity. Almost everyone I know at one point or another has felt that they are unusual and peculiar in some way. This statement speaks to that angst, and tells everyone who tries it that they may be a little like the Hendrick’s Gin, under appreciated by all but a select few; but extraordinary in their own unusual but special way…

I like the bottle which is kind of a throwback to an early apothecary or medicinal bottle, and I like the witty subliminal notation on the back of the bottle. I am, however, not as enamored with the front label which lacks any kind of ‘pop’. Such an unusual gin should have a more unusual front label.

In the Glass 9/10

Hendrick’s Gin is clear in my glass, and it carries a nice aromatic aroma up out of the glass to my awaiting nostrils. The nose begins with mild citrus tones which are accented by juniper. The influence of the rose petal is perhaps that touch of red berry I am noticing in the background, and a light cucumber influence can be found if I pay attention. I catch hints of lemon-lime and orange as well. And impressions of black licorice and fennel. I also notice light floral scents in the breezes, perhaps a touch of lilac, and also something herbal and earthy like damp moss. This is very complex, but also very relaxed and inviting.

In the Mouth 47/60

Sipping Hendrick’s Gin is a very different experience than nosing it.  Although the citrus flavours and light juniper come through easily, there is also a peculiar lightly bitter backdrop which seems to grow as the glass is sipped. I was not given a list of botanicals with my sample bottle so I can only guess that this bitterness is connected to the cucumber infusion. (When I eat cucumbers I always discard the ends as I find them unpleasant and bitter.)

The gin also carries quite a bit of spicy pepper/coriander forward which heats the palate. As I sip, I can taste orange pith and zest clearly (that pith might also be the source of that peculiar bitterness). Other impressions of flavour slip and slide throughout the palate; I taste more cucumber as I sip and dollops of licorice now and then. However, that relaxed pleasant atmosphere I noticed on the nose has been replaced by a stronger more assertive taste profile which seems to demand more of me than my mood wishes to give.

I decided to try a few cocktails. I tried a Gimlet, but was forced to convert it quickly to a Lime Fizz. (Again it is that light bitterness which is defeating me).  Given the nature of the  ingredients, I decide to try a Gin and Tonic, as this libation will play well with cucumber infusion. This time (recipe shown below) the cocktail was much more to my liking. I guess for my palate, Hendrick’s Gin needs to be less up front in the taste profile when I make a cocktail. (Like they said in their advertising, its not for everyone,)

In the Throat 11.5/15

Whether sipped neat, or consumed in a cocktail, the finish is dry with pithy citrus peel and lightly bitter cucumber dominating the exit. The influence of the rose petals was for the most part lost on me, (unless rose petals are curiously bitter…).

The Afterburn  7.5/10

The website for Hendricks Gin makes the claim that their product is much-loved by a handful of persons worldwide. I guess that I would fall outside of that privileged circle. The Gin is exactly what its website says it is, it is unusual, and peculiar. Those things in our life which are unusual and peculiar are often interesting and charming. And … Hendrick’s gin is very interesting; but unfortunately for me, it displayed very little charm. I did adjust my scores upwards slightly in my most recent visit with the gin as that Gin and Tonic really is quite good; but it is hard for me to give the spirit a higher score when it is so reluctant to play with other ingredients.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

Hendrick's and Fever Tree Tonic

Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic

Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic

1 1/2 oz Hendricks Gin
2 1/2 oz Fever Tree Tonic Water
Lemon Wedge
Cucumber sliced lengthwise

Place a slice of cucumber into a tall glass
Add ice
Add the Hendricks Gin and Fever Tree Tonic into your ice filled glass
Squeeze the Juice from the Wedge of Lime into the drink
Stir, Serve and Enjoy!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


3 Responses to “Hendrick’s Gin”

  1. michael hunter said

    Hendrick’s is interesting, a bit too heavy on the rose for my taste. In a similar vein, but with a different Meyer lemon emphasis is Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, my current favourite and an amazing creation. You may want to try it for a review. Truly delicious.
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Josh Miller said

    Another great review, Chip. I particularly enjoyed this line: “…but that relaxed pleasantness I noticed on the nose has been replaced by a stronger more assertive taste profile which seems to demand more of me than my mood wishes to give.” It can be difficult to put my reactions to tastings into words–you don’t seem to have that problem!

    • Thanks Josh, I appreciate the compliment.

      Sometimes the writing flows easily, sometimes I have to work at it. Usually if I have to work too hard it means I am missing something.

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