Hendrick’s vs. Old Raj: Which One Won?

This is the fourth result of the ongoing quest to find the best gin, enough so that a couple of patterns are becoming clear.  For one, you, the readers, tend to migrate to the more robust gins.  I, on the other hand, tend to choose the more subdued gins.

We see this in the latest results, where Hendrick’s was put up against Old Raj, and you, the readers preferred Hendrick’s, what with their lower ABV and their distinct use of cucumbers and rose petals in their botanicals.  I’ve gone ahead and updated the Reader’s Bracket with this result.

I, on the other hand, chose Old Raj, which was more of a vote against Hendrick’s as it was for Old Raj. I typically dislike drinks with an ABV of over 55%, as they tend to numb the palate and give residual alcoholic tastes upon the palate, but Old Raj didn’t have that affect upon me this time. This is mostly due to the Juniper, which stays throughout the tasting, right up through it’s finish, dominating the palate to the point where one forgets that there’s alcohol involved. It’s bouquet was floral, and pleasant, and both cardamon and saffron could be detected, but more as supporting roles than dominate flavors. It’s this use of botanicals which I focused in upon, especially when compared side-by-side to Hendrick’s.

Hendrick’s is not subtle about its use of other botanicals. When you drink Hendrick’s, you know that, not only is there juniper, but your also damn sure that there’s a finish of cucumber followed quickly by a rose flavor, the last two overpowering the juniper. At the time I did the tasting, I found this interesting. When compared with the complexity of Old Raj, who had flavors that were less obvious and nuanced, I found the flavoring of  Hendrick’s unsubtle. On the second tasting of Hendrick’s,  I was simply annoyed with it shouting “Look at me! I use Cucumbers! I’m different!” Different is fine, but my preference will almost always side on the complex.

This was when I decided to choose Old Raj over Hendrick’s.

So, who’s right? The Readers or me? This is my conclusion after four rounds of comparisons. Once you get poorly made gin out of the equation (which both readers and I did when Beefeater’s beat out Gordon’s), it comes down to personal preference. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Hendrick’s, which, aside from my own preference of complexity in gin, seems perfectly acceptable.  It’s just not my thing, even if it may be yours.


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