On the plus side, I love exploring gins with unusual botanicals, and southern Africa certainly has some wonderful botanicals that do not make up the usual gin palette, such as Buchu, Aloe, Guarii, and Erica.
The downsides are two-fold.
The first thing is, each batch of the gin is intentionally different from the last. My gin sensei, Angus Winchester, always fusses about gins with batch numbers, and I respect his reasoning. Batch gins mean inconsistent gins. A product whose quality goes up and down from bottle to bottle is very hard to use. And Indlovu not only is a batch gin, but each batch has a different mix of botanicals, based on time and and location of collection, and the, um, collectors. Even if every bottle you buy is good, every bottle you buy is different. That’s super awesome for wine, but by the time you come up with a good cocktail for each bottle, it will be half gone.
The second thing is both more interesting and yet gives more pause: how the botanicals are selected and harvested….
You see, they employ elephants to do this work. Elephants apparently like a diet of gin-suitable botanicals. Elephants also have inefficient digestive tracts. So they let wild elephants go about their business, browsing on the wild botanicals, and once the elephants have, um, curated them, Ibhu hires some poor unfortunate African to, er, pick up the results from where the elephants dropped them off. Said results are then sanitized, dried, and cataloged by location and time of year.
And then they make the gin. Out of the botanicals. The botanicals that survived the inefficient elephant digestive system. And then returned to the light of day. If you know what I mean.
What I’m saying here is, it is elephant poop gin.
So far, the Ibhu website lists only South African stockists, but they hope to export soon, as well as make other gins.
If it ever comes to the US, will I track down a bottle and try it?
Sigh. Hell, yes. And when I get ahold of a bottle, I’ll be sure to document the adventure!