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Gin taste-test hard to swallow


Fiona Toner, new global brand manager

Fiona Toner, new global brand manager

Fiona Toner, new global brand manager

"Made in Scotland using the finest botanicals, this premium gin is gently infused with cucumbers and rose petals to enhance its distinctive taste."

The Punt doesn't know whether to head to the freezer for ice or the potting shed for a trowel. This is the flowery prose used to describe Scottish distiller William Grant's Hendrick's Gin.

The group has just appointed Fiona Toner as global brand manager for the tipple, which it bills as a small-batch gin. William Grant also owns Tullamore Dew, as well as brands including Glenfiddich.

It acquired the Tullamore brand in 2010 for €300m from Bulmers-owner C&C. Last year, Grants announced a €35m investment in distillery in Tullamore town.

Toner has previously worked as a senior brand manager for cosmetics firm L'Oreal and also with drugs firm Johnson & Johnson and food giant Unilever in New Zealand and Ireland respectively. Selling gin should be a breeze. But she'll have some stiff competition to overcome first. In a recent blind tasting test, the Hendrick's 'premium gin' was beaten by a cheapo bottle of gin sold by Aldi – 'Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin'. The Punt isn't sure if that particular brand is on sale in Ireland, where one could only imagine that history might be its undoing.

But at the International Spirits Challenge, a panel including master distillers and blenders awarded the Aldi brand a silver medal. Hendrick's got a bronze. Now where's the tonic?

Irish Independent