Hernö is a multi-award winning organic London Dry from the first dedicated gin distillery in Sweden.
Price: ~ £31 (50cl)
If you’ve read my review of Hernö – Juniper Cask, or TBGC’s Swedish Rose, you’ll know I’m somewhat of a fan of everything this distillery makes. They began selling gin on 1st December 2012, and within months were the most awarded gin at The International Gin Masters 2013. Since then they have expanded the distillery and their range of products, including a rather exclusive ‘sipping series’ of experimental gins rested in casks ranging from rum to Sauternes wine, but this is the gin that started it all.
As with all of their bottles, it is a short, simple rounded shape, wrapped in a deep blue label. As this is the original gin, the main image on the front is the crest of Härnösand, the local municipality of the distillery. It’s a lovely crest, featuring three fish above the word Härnösand, and a beaver holding a sprig of something (perhaps wheat?) below. Around the sides are some of the awards won, the list of organic botanicals, and a brief description of the distillery. As with all of their bottles, very little about it stands out, but I do like the consistency within the range.
Right away, warm notes of juniper, pepper, and coriander rise from the glass, followed by a soft and slightly earthy berry tone. There are hints of citrus, providing a pleasant freshness against the sweeter elements of the cassia and vanilla and the cloudy meadowsweet. It’s beautifully balanced and intensely inviting.
Neat, it’s dry and full of flavour, without anything in particular stealing the spotlight. I get a lot of the pepper, tempered by hints of spice and earthy florals, then followed up with a little kick of lemon. It’s incredibly smooth and very easy to drink, with a level of complexity that makes every sip a new experience.
With a drop of water, I get a lot more sweetness and the overall taste is less dry, allowing some of the warmth from the nose to come through. The berries are more evident here, as is the coriander and vanilla, holding back some of that bright pepper while still allowing it to influence the flavour. There’s an underlying woodiness to the whole flavour for me, which I find very enjoyable.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with an orange wedge to garnish). The result is absolutely stunning. This gin really comes alive here, with all the flavours working perfectly with the tonic. Fresh juniper positively jumps out with a little peppery kick, warming and rich, but finishing with a little tang from the lemon peel. It retains the dryness, and that woody flavour comes through beautifully for me, giving it a real sense of sophistication and depth. Far from being drowned by tonic, it really shines.
Hernö is an amazing gin from one of the best producers in the business. It’s well balanced and flavourful without being brash, and rewards anyone willing to take their time with it in spades. For want of a better phrase, I’d call it a gin drinker’s gin, and while for some it might be ever so slightly on the peppery side (rather than perhaps some of the more common and palatable citrus/aromatic notes), once it’s in a G&T in my opinion it’s impossible to find it anything less than exceptional.
Remove half a feather if you don’t like pepper.
Hernö is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.