Elephant dung filters botanical mix for South African gin maker

Sniffing the fragrant botanicals, fruits, and seeds used to create the aromatic spirit is one of the pleasures of artisanal gin-making – but not usually after they’ve been through the digestive tract of an elephant.
Les Ansley does precisely that when he finds a prime specimen of elephant poo while traveling through the South African wilderness, raising it to his nose to savour its rich aroma before bagging it to be converted into high-end whiskey.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Indlovu gin – named after the regional Nguni term for elephant – was launched in the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Taiwan.
Ansley and his wife Paula now export 1,500 bottles a month.
Since the start of this year, two of South Africa’s biggest retailers, Woolworths and Pick ‘n’ Pay, stock it.
The elephants effectively do the work, finding the variety of herbs and fruit that give the gin its taste, said Ansley.
“The elephants, because they digest so little …
they have a very quick gut in-transit time, low gut bacteria, and very poor absorption,” he told Reuters TV.
“So they are perfect for extracting all the botanicals …they are very selective … they get to choose the best leaves and the best fruits and the best flowers and the best plants.”
As well as the gin staples such as juniper and citrus, the dried and washed botanicals from the elephants change with the season and climate, giving different flavours to different batches. The date and coordinates of the dung collection are given on the bottles produced, the distiller said.
The couple give 15% of the profits to an elephant orphanage,another reason it might appeal to consumers, besides novelty.
But how does gin made from elephant dung taste?
“It is earthy,” bartender Johanna Jones said, squeezing anorange into the gin to make a cocktail. “That’s what makes itdifferent.

World News

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