After a bit of a kerfuffle with Royal Mail and their tracking system, my September Craft Gin Club delivery finally arrived. I’ve seen Elephant Gin around a few places but I’ve not yet had a chance to try it, so imagine my excitement when I open my box to find a full size bottle of an exclusive batch, PLUS small bottles of the regular gin and sloe gin (reviews of these to come after my holiday as I’ve run out of time). We were also lucky enough to receive ChariTea Red, Divine‘s newest flavour – dark chocolate and pink Himalayan salt – and a bag of Buchu (literally no idea). 15% of Elephant Gin’s profits go to help elephant conservation through Big Life Foundation‘s Ranger Club and Space for Elephants Foundation and all products in this box are fair trade, so I can feel totally good at spending this months subscription cost. Each batch of Elephant Gin is named after a real elephant that is either being protected or has played an important role in Africa’s history. Mshale, my bottle’s namesake, is a 40 year old elephant living in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park – one of the largest with tusks weighing 100 pounds each (aka £25,000 worth of ivory).
The large bottle has some lovely decoration (we all know I’m a sucker for a good label) and string wrapped around the bottle neck. It gives a feel of something old that has been shipped to us, helped by old world postage stamp designs and a map of Southern Africa. No wax seal to break through here (thank god), just a simple cork top. First sniff is fairly pungent. I can’t work out what the smell is – but this is probably from the rare African botanicals they use (Devil’s Claw, Lion’s Tails or Buchu anyone?). Straight away the smell packs a punch in the glass, but the taste is less intense than anticipated. It’s certainly got flavour to it. But I have no idea what that flavour is. Not sweet, the gin falls more on the savoury side with an almost herby smell (after tasting it I checked out the botanical list, Mountain Pine, that will be the one). A small amount of heat is noticeable on your tongue – ginger is one of the botanicals. It goes down very easily straight (never a good sign for my liver).
Mixed with tonic (and a small panic when I realise I am now out of tonic water) this is an absolute delight. Fresh apple flavours (but no disgusting fake sweetness) keep it light while heavier spiced tones make it deep and earthy. No burning sensation at any point – one could almost confuse it for exciting water. Different areas of the mouth come alive as you take a sip. At 45% I was expecting this to be harsher, but it is clean and simple in taste. I felt no need to add any lemon or lime to this gin. I happily sipped away at it all evening, and will continue to do so. I can’t wait to crack open their signature gin and the sloe gin.
A 50cl bottle of the signature blend is available on Masters of Malt for just £29.49 (as of day of publishing). Absolute bargain. This will be on order the second this bottle is finished. Elephant Gin are all over social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.