Hendrick’s Gin Palace, oh all right then

Located at (and owned by) William Grant & Sons’, the Girvan grain plant in Scotland, the palace has been designed to be a “playground for experimentation, invention & curiosity”, so I am told. The facility includes two still houses – home to six stills, four Bennett stills – including the original antique copper pot still from 1860 – ,three exact replicas  and two Carter Head stills – including the original that dates back to 1948 – and one replica. The Bennett seeps the botanicals in spirit overnight prior to distillation giving a rich liquid, whereas the Carter-Head steams the botanicals in a basket on top its neck.  The influence imparted on the spirit in something resembling a botanical steam bath giving a lighter, more delicate spirit. The new stills have been installed to help the brand “meet the voracious global demand” for its’ cucumber and rose-infused gin. What the heck does voracious mean?  And … there is scope for expansion, to add additional stills into the second still room if needed in future. The palace also features a walled garden that leads to a Victorian inspired palm house, which sits between two botanical hot houses that will be used to grow an array of unusual botanicals and flora from all four corners the world. Erm, just a minute, the world is round with no corners! On the second floor is a new laboratory for Hendrick’s master distiller Lesley Gracie, boasting a flavour library and a lecture theatre and a bar. Gracie said: “I’ve been distilling Hendrick’s for almost 20 years and during that time, my team and I have had the opportunity to explore and experiment on a small scale. I’m thrilled and excited to take full advantage of our wonderful new distillery to begin working on a line of experimental liquids, some of which will hopefully blossom into future releases and potential new expressions of Hendrick’s.”  Set within the grounds of one of Girvan’s grain whisky distillery (Girvan) every drop of Hendrick’s guzzled around the world has flowed through the stills in small batches.

In 2017, Hendrick’s broke through the million case mark for the first time, scooping the title of Gin Brand Champion in the Brand Champions 2018, an annual report on the world’s million-case-selling spirit brands. The Hendrick’s Gin Palace is not open to the public for visits. My question then; why have this amazing plant, why a bar and nice seating, inviting outside areas, why gardens? Meanwhile … Me the writer of this drivel (Paul McLean of MCLEANSCOTLAND, Perth) does not drink gin, “it is one of the most vile drinks in the world, only rising to prominence via those old world war two movies with ships officers have a gin, or a “pink gin – what”. I have tried to like it, Liz loves it, the only time I liked it was when it was infused with so many other liquids, I couldnee taste the gin! This was during our visit a few years back to Makar, the first gin to be distilled in the city of Glasgow”. I stand by my dislike of gin, tell me, why are there now so many different gins kickin about? Don’t they all get produced by about three distilleries, mostly in Scotland? I could buy a bottle of gin, waft a few dandelions at it and say I have another new gin for the market – daft as a brush. paul@mcleanscotland.com