Hawkridge – Victorian Aphrodisiac Blend

Hawkridge Victorian Aphrodisiac blend gin was designed for CGC’s Feb ’22 offering, drawing on the romance of the Victorian era.

Price: ~ £40
ABV: 42%
Known Botanicals:
Lemon peel
Lemon verbena
Orange peel
Rose petal

Dietary Info: Not suitable for vegans

Phil Howarth, James Gurney, and Robin Horrex, all long-time friends and each a member of Craft Gin Club, decided one day over a G&T to try their collective hands at making their own gin. It’s a fairly common origin story these days, such is the inspiration of the spirit, but there’s a difference between deciding to do something, and actually doing it! When their friends offered them the use of stables in the grounds of an historic building, the trio found a nest for their distilling journey, as well as inspiration for their gin from the Grade II listed Hawkridge House. Sadly the stables could not contain them for long, and once they had the final recipe for their flagship gin, inspired by the gardens on the estate, they ended up moving to a building sat within three acres of countryside, where they could also grow some of their own botanicals. From there, CGC ended up approaching them to develop a special edition for their February box, and the idea of a Victorian Valentine’s was born.

The gin is produced in three steps. The first is to macerate the traditional botanicals in neutral spirit for 24 hours. Second, the more delicate flowers are brewed to make a botanical tea which is then strained and added to the mix. Finally the most delicate botanicals like mint and rose are added to an infusion basket so that only the vapours pass through.


The bottle is bold and beautiful to the point some may find it a touch gaudy. The glass is ruby red and shaped in a nod to the ball gowns of the Victorians. The base, embossed with the name of the distillery, flows up and in at the bottom third, then out again at the shoulder with the whole bottle being formed of a dozen segments. Around the short neck sits a gold choker while on top sits a lovely dark wooden stopper, another homage and this time to the doorknobs of Hawridge House. Front and centre, the label is a sort of squashed keyhole shape, with white and gold on textured red paper. Hawkridge sits in gothic font in the middle while smaller text gives the name of the edition as well as little flourishes of description, all surrounded by a delicate gold stencil pattern. On the back, an identical label tells a little about the gin as well as the usual info. It’s super decadent and while sometimes I find it a little OTT, I secretly love it.


A fresh, English garden aroma rises from the glass: sweet and floral with hints of citrus and pine. It’s a wonderfully soothing aroma, peaceful and calm, but pleasantly busy too. A little further in and I get thick fleshy citrus amid a breezy pine that carries on to the delicate floral notes that quickly take me back to orange in particular. The rosemary is present but barely noticeable, giving a hint of depth and woodiness to the greener notes. It’s a lovely smelling gin with plenty of sweetness touched with sour and a final, earthy send-off.


Neat there is a whole lot more going on around the grassy, herbal end of things, with verdant tones rich with pine, leafy greens and bitter citrus, rather than the sweeter, fleshy notes on the nose. It’s sharper and more crisp than expected, but delving a little deeper brings out a slightly sweet aftertaste that I suspect is the honey breaking through. The flavour is quite strong, and I find after a few sips seems to continue to get sharper and with a little more burn than I would like, leaving a definite, dry tang. For me, the florals aren’t coming through enough against the herbal and citrus elements, but I definitely feel there is more to come when mixed.

Water seems to bring the sharp, dry elements back into check and when the liquid first hits the tongue, provides a flash of jasmine and rose that’s so brief it’s almost impossible to keep hold of. Along with that, but more as an aroma as the liquid hits the tongue, I get parma violets. Just for an instant, and it took me minutes to work out what it was, but it’s there, then gone… eventually leaving a more vague floral taste that eventually subsides to some richer, more earthy and vegetal flavours.

Finally, a G&T (3:1 with Franklin & Sons Pink Grapefruit with Bergamot Tonic, and a fresh lemon wheel to garnish). The result is delicious. It’s bright and zesty with a touch of sweet floral flavour and a pleasantly bitter twang to finish. It goes perfectly with the tonic, blending and really bringing out the rose for me, which is very welcome. All of that harshness I was getting previously, the sharp, bitter tones are all completely gone, replaced with smooth citrus and rich floral notes sitting on a solid foundation of juniper and warm earthy flavours. With that said, it does feel a little short lived, both in flavour and in my enjoyment. I’m already a little bored with it, and feel like the flavours have died off a little.


Hawkridge Victorian Aphrodisiac gin is good, albeit for me a little uninspiring. I would have liked a lot more from the florals, since I get the impression this was designed with those in mind (based on the fact that it was initially made for Craft Gin Club’s February ‘Valentine’ offering), and less of the harsher tones. It works well mixed, and I think could make a decent Negroni, though to be fair it would probably make a good all-rounder. For the price I’d suggest trying before you buy.

3 / 5 Feathers

Hawkridge is available online


All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.

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