Hendricks Gin Blind Tasting

The lineup Little known fact (perhaps): gin is my favorite form of hard liquor. The gin & tonic has been my drink of choice since I was 21. It’s refreshing, easy on the pallet, and I don’t feel silly ordering it. (I cannot bring myself to order “girly” drinks — heck, even a Cosmopolitan is too fru-fru for me.) I’m not particularly fond of vodka and I can’t get into scotch. I do like bourbon, but I’d still pick gin over it any day. My friend Will also happens to be fond of gin. A few months ago I introduced him to Citadelle gin, and more recently he suggested that Drew and I try Hendrick’s. Yesterday I picked up a bottle and excitedly hurried home to taste it.

I couldn’t wait. The packaging really appealed to me, as did the fact that it’s made with cucumbers and rose petals. Yes. Rose petals. Of course, there’s the requisite juniper berries and some citrus as well. But rose petals, people. The bottle was difficult to pour from due to its odd shape, but after the first few glugs it got easier. First we tried it straight — no ice, no tonic, just pure gin. I got a lot of alcohol on the nose and after my first taste I thought it was rather burny. It was smooth, no doubt, but… I felt a bit disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high? I added a few ice cubes, swirled my glass a bit and laughed at myself because I didn’t think a gin should have to open up like a wine. It helped, though, and I began to pick up on the citrus and a very subtle hint of rose. Quite lovely, really. On we went to our gin & tonics. I garnished mine with a cucumber, as suggested. My husband, the purist, refused and chose lime. Perhaps it was all in my head, but I do feel that the cucumber added something. However, we couldn’t help but think that the Hendrick’s reminded us a lot of Gordon’s (which is a much less expensive gin, though still respectable).

Pretty maids all in a rowHow else to prove this but with a blind tasting? Luckily we have a set of multi-colored shot glasses, making it easy to keep track of who had poured what. I left the room as Drew poured mine, and then he left as I poured his. And then the tasting began. Now, we both are rather seasoned wine tasters. I’ve been at events where I have tasted probably close to 100 different wines. (And anyone who is serious about wine tasting spits, I hate to tell you.) Tasting hard liquor, however, is much more difficult, obviously due to the high alcohol content. Nevertheless, we had a mission and we were determined. First, we wanted to see if we could pick out each of the gins we had in our liquor cabinet. Second, we were curious what our favorite would be if we couldn’t see the labels.

The verdict? Well, first allow me to brag for a minute: I nailed all three gins. I thought the Tanqueray was pretty obvious, but interestingly enough, it was trickier figuring out which glass was Gordon’s and which glass was Hendricks. After another taste it was pretty clear that one (the Hendrick’s) was smoother than the other. Drew didn’t quite do as well, but I’ll let him decide if he wants to own up to that. We both ended up chosing Tanqueray as our favorite. No real surprise to me. Tanq was my gin of choice for years. As for the similarities between Hendrick’s and Gordon’s? When you taste them side by side, there is no comparison. The Hendick’s is so much nicer. Of course, you pay a premium for that, too.

Once we finish off the Gordon’s and the Tanqueray we plan on doing another blind tasting, but we’re going to put the Hendrick’s up against Citadelle (Drew’s favorite) and D.H. Krahn (my new favorite) and see what happens. That should be interesting!

6 thoughts to “Hendricks Gin Blind Tasting”

  1. Ok blind Gin tastings You two know how to rock it home! I like to judge more by wich one ives me that numb in the face feeling and makes it last longer! I avoid the Lime in mine (heart burn) however I am curious to play with the cucumber idea… I actually have some rose water too I may try to muddle a bit of something and make a willtinni!
    Thanks for the Shout out

  2. I initially grimaced when I saw what you were tasting. Gin is one of my least favorite hard liquors (So Co is my all time least fave…the smell turns my stomach!). I’m a vodka girl, although I will drink a gin and tonic once in a while for a different change in pace. Looks like you had fun with your tasting, though. Will try that some day with my preferred liquor to see if I can really tell the difference between Grey Goose (yum) and Absolut (yuck).

  3. A friend just recently turned me on to Gin and Tonics at his place. Now, I can enjoy a good girly drink, but the Gin and Tonic was just so much…..nicer.

    I was at a loss with all the brands of Gin in the store when I went to buy some, so I cheaped out and bought the least expensive. Still works 🙂

  4. Bob LOVES gin. Due to a really, really bad night in college – with a bottle of what we called The Wonderful Wizard of Gordon – I hesitate to drink it. Luckily, his gin of choice is Bombay Sapphire, so there is only ever that kind to taste in my house. No Gordon’s flashbacks.

    I’m now considering purchasing him the Citadelle and the DH Krahns.

  5. I’m not really a drinker, because I’ve never found anything I really like that much. I can drink bourbon and scotch, I can drink margaritas and I can drink flavoured vodka, but that’s about it. I’ve never tried gin. I might have to give it a go when I stop nursing.

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