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Alchemy and Artistry: Navigating the Realm of Hendrick's Gin and Its Cabinet of Curiosities.

Within the realm of spirits, where alchemy and artistry converge, Hendrick's Gin emerges as a captivating creation born in the Girvan distillery of Scotland. Conceived in 1999 under the meticulous care of William Grant & Sons, this libation is more than a beverage; it's a testament to the marriage of tradition and innovation.

A visionary collaboration unfolded between spirits maestro Steven Grasse and the ingenious Lesley Gracie, a Yorkshire native summoned by William Grant & Sons for her prowess in new liquid development. Ten years into her tenure, Gracie embarked on a mission to craft a super-premium gin, a journey that birthed Hendrick's Gin as we know it today.

In a striking apothecary-style bottle, Hendrick's Gin conceals a botanical symphony, showcasing the marriage of two distinct distillation methods. The venerable Carter-Head Still, a relic from 1948, and the ancient pot still, a creation from 1860, weave their magic under the watchful eye of the former William Grant Life President, Charles Gordon.

The pot still, affectionately known as the Bennett still, welcomes a 24-hour maceration of botanicals, including the classic juniper. Steam rises, unveiling a spirit heavy with juniper richness, a testament to the small stature of the Bennett still. In contrast, the Carter-Head still employs a unique method, delicately bathing botanicals in alcohol vapours, extracting only the lighter, sweeter, and floral essences.

The final alchemy involves the harmonious blending of these two spirits, further elevated with the essence of Bulgarian rose and crisp cucumber. This symphony of flavours has earned Hendrick's Gin its esteemed status in the world of contemporary gins.

As we uncork the bottle of Hendrick’s core expression and journey through history, Hendrick's Gin stands as a beacon, harkening back to the days when gin was a medicinal elixir. The distinct Edwardian era bottle beckons, whispering tales of a bygone era when gin was not just a libation but a remedy.

The tasting experience is a sensory adventure. The nose is greeted with juniper, accentuated by the musky hint of rose and the freshness of sweet orange, lime zest, and elderflower. The palate unfolds with classic gin elements of angelica, coriander, juniper, and orris root, accompanied by surprising citrus notes and a faint hint of yarrow and black pepper.

Hendrick's Gin holds its own in the world of mixology. A classic Hendrick's Gin and Tonic, with its subtle rose notes, is a transformative experience. The Negroni, a surprising rendezvous of bitterness and juniper, showcases the gin's versatility. From a Clover Club Cocktail to an Aviation or Blue Moon, Hendrick's Gin gracefully adapts, leaving an indelible mark.

Venturing into the unexpected, the Hendrick's dirty Martini emerges as an underground specialty, an eccentric rendezvous of olive brine and gin, where juniper, citrus, and cucumber dance in delightful harmony.

Hendrick's Neptunia, a recent addition to the Cabinet of Curiosity, unveils a coastal-inspired masterpiece.

Crafted under the discerning eye of Master Distiller Lesley Gracie, Hendrick's Neptunia draws inspiration from the rhythmic waves that passionately caress the Ayrshire coast.

The sea-green label adorns the bottle, a charming splash of colour that distinguishes Neptunia within the confines of the eclectic Curiosity Cabinet. The glass itself becomes a canvas for sensory exploration, a testament to the artistry contained within.

Anticipation fills the air as we delve into the tasting experience. Expectations are met with a harmonious balance in Neptunia. Not unexpectedly, Juniper takes centre stage, accompanied by the gentle dance of cucumber, mint, and a restrained bouquet of florals. A subtle brininess, perhaps echoing kelp and seaweed, adds a touch of intrigue, blending reality and imagination.

On the top of the mouth, a symphony of flavours unfolds. Bright citrus zest and spicy coriander lead the way, while a hint of menthol invokes the effervescence of coastal sea spray. Cucumber and red berries meander into the flavour profile, accompanied by the blush of a flowery bouquet that gracefully recedes into the background. A nuanced interplay emerges, with autumn spices, sage, thyme, and briny kelp contributing to a darker, muskier undertone.

As we ponder cocktail possibilities, the vision of an ice-cold Gin and Ginger on a beach at the seaside materializes. A sip validates the intuition, offering a refreshing validation for the palate.

The journey continues down the throat, where Neptunia reveals its character—a touch on the dry side with a delicate bitterness, accompanied by a spicy interplay of coriander and citrus zest. A blush of flowery bouquet lingers, a gentle afterburn settling into consciousness without disrupting the conclusion.

Reflecting on the experience, positivity permeates the sentiment towards Hendrick's Neptunia. The floral nature, artfully restrained, allows juniper to shine, with citrus and an unexpected hint of mint playing key roles.

Transitioning to another chapter in the Cabinet of Curiosity, we find ourselves amidst the enchanting revelry of Hendrick's Flora Adora.

Here, within the Hendrick's Gin Palace Garden, a magical celebration unfolds, where butterflies and bees dance in a dizzy reverie, feasting on fragrant flowers curated by aforementioned Ms. Lesley Gracie.

Bottled at 43.4% alcohol by volume, Hendrick's Flora Adora arrives in the trademark distinctive squat cylindrical vessel. Adorned with a label featuring a seeing-eye butterfly, the bottle serves as a quirky reminder of the spirit's origin—flower gardens where butterflies and bees frolic.

Upon uncorking, the experience takes an aromatic turn. True to its name, an unabashedly floral affair unfolds, akin to waves of lavender, lilac, and chamomile, which inundates the senses, creating an olfactory potpourri.

The addition of ice and patience unveil the subtle juniper beneath the floral deluge. Hendrick's Flora Adora, while minimizing the quintessence of the jenever spirit, replaces it with a mad garden potpourri, meticulously selected to entice pollinating insects.

As the liquid poetry unfolds on the palate, one is greeted with a freshness that dances in tandem with the floral, evoking a meadow's grassy embrace. The juniper finds itself uplifted by the invigorating notes of sweet cucumber, creating a sensory experience that mirrors the essence promised.

This is undeniably an uncommonly floral gin, a departure from the conventional juniper-centric offerings. While not a libation for everyday indulgence, Flora Adora emerges as a delightful muse for those seeking a rare, once-in-a-while escapade into the realms of botanical extravagance.

The playful dance of flavours ensures that a G&T with Flora Adora becomes a memorable affair, and an unforgettable martini awaits those daring to venture beyond the ordinary. For enthusiasts of the classic Hendrick's, this floral rendition promises a delightful divergence.

In the realm of Hendrick's curated editions, each bottle is a chapter, a tale woven with distinctive flavours and aromatic nuances. From the maritime echoes of Neptunia to the floral crescendo of Flora Adora, whether sipped neat or mixed into imaginative concoctions, the Cabinet of Curiosity beckons enthusiasts to explore the boundaries of gin craftsmanship.


Words by AW.

Photos and imagery courtesy of Hendrick's Gin.


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