Hendricks Lunar Gin
A Limited Edition
Review Hendrick’s Lunar Gin
Made in: Girvan, Ayrshire, Scotland, by William Grant & Sons
43.4% alcohol/86.8 proof
Botanicals ? : No known botanicals list for this gin exists.
Hendrick’s like many of the big distillers keeps a lot of secrets, such as what botanicals are in this gin, and how it’s distilled. They are big on story and pretty bottles though. This is a limited edition gin with a floral edge, supposedly inspired by the aromas of the Hendricks botanical greenhouse on a moonlit night.
It’s another of the Hendrick’s recent limited releases which have included Obrium, Midsummers Night Solstice, and Amazonia.
Neat, or on the rocks, this gin has a very harsh edge that was very off putting due to the ethanol nature of the base spirit overwhelming the botanicals. It’s not high on my list for sipping gins which is a departure from Hendrick’s other gins.
The nose is very strongly perfumed with sweet floral notes including lavender, primrose, and jasmine, and hints of fruit, notably blueberry, plum, orange, and maybe a faint whiff of date. Juniper, coriander and pepper linger in the background..
The botanical mixture here is soft and inviting but subtle. Many of the floral notes take a bit of a backseat here to the muted fruit flavor I associate most with gins made with blueberry. That soft mellow fruit is backed by juniper, black pepper, and coriander. The finish has a touch of orange and maybe a very minor note of vanilla in it.
Mouthfeel is viscous, lucious, full, and quite warming.
While this fails to be a good sipping gin, it felt like a good mixing gin.
I was very pleasantly surprised by Lunar in a dry martini, it was soft but retained its own identity, with highly floral notes of lavender, with a rich undercurrent of blueberry, and plum. It is a far cry from traditional but it was quite pleasant. I think I’d garnish it with a bit of orange, or tangerine zest in future.
The botanicals found their place and soared in a gin and tonic, they were so nice in fact that my wife actually asked for a second one (trust me that's a rarity as she is more of a whiskey girl). Here I tasted the fruit and floral mix. I tried it with several different tonics and found it good with each one.,
In mixed drinks it was fine, but it failed to excite in an Aviation. The subtle layers of botanicals were simply buried. In a Southside I liked it a bit more as the soft tang of orange just peeked through enough to be noticed, as did subtle hints of juniper. In the suggested gin and ginger ale it was rather flat, until you garnished with the almost traditional cucumber garnish that Hendrick’s almost seems to require. That elevated it a bit, but only made it a good drink instead of an excellent one. I’d skip the Corpse Revivers and French 75s on this one, and keep it for drinks with fewer strong ingredients.
This was a pretty good mixing gin. It’s not going to rank high as a sipping gin as the heat is way off the scale as far as what we expect from Hendrick’s. It’s far less refined in that, probably due to the distillation of the base spirit. It is a shame as the nose of this gin promises so, so much which is never delivered. That said, it’s not even close to being a bad gin, but personally I’d save it for gin and tonic, or martinis, because at this price point I want to taste the gin, and complex mixed drinks washed out a lot of the subtle flavors.
This is my least favorite of all of Hendrick’s limited release gins (though to be fair I have not yet been able to find Amazonia in the US) because of the subtlety of the botanical mix and the slightly overwhelming heat of the ethanol base when sipped neat or on the rocks. Well that, and that it pairs very badly with Oreos, a fact I found out while enjoying some time with my daughter.
Rating (Sipping): 75 -too hot to be a great sipping gin, as the heat just obliterates too much the subtle botanical mix and a good gin just shouldn’t burn.
Rating (Mixing) 82 - It’s a good gin when mixed in the right drinks, that said, it can easily be buried due to the subtle botanical mix.
Overall rating: 78: For a gin at this price point I expect a lot more. While it’s worth tasting, and is worth saving for martini’s and gin and tonics, it’s a very limited use gin, that doesn’t live up to what I expect from this distiller.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.