In the province of Connacht in the West of Ireland, on the shores of Lough Allen, at the foothills of Sliabh an Iarainn, lies the tiny rural village of Drumshanbo. There you will find PJ Rigney’s The Shed Distillery where medieval copper pot stills are used to fuse oriental botanicals with the local Irish ones. As it turns out, they get on very well indeed. The result of this passionate exploration is Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin – unique, extraordinary and remarkable. In fact, it’s been voted best gin by the Irish!
Says Rowan Leibbrandt, founding owner of Truman & Orange (and the liquor distributor bringing South Africa this delightful new premium gin import), “South Africa is now the fifth largest gin market globally and South Africans are thirsty for unique, premium gins that tell a story. The story behind Drumshano Gunpowder Gin is like an adult fairytale for curious gin-lovers looking to take the path less-travelled when it comes to what they choose to put into their tonic water. It’s the answer for those seeking to be invigorated by new, interesting drinks that are so much more than just a drink; they are experiences in and of themselves.”
If you’re looking for a story, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin is the real deal: the curious mind of PJ Rigney assembles 12 botanicals from across Asia and Ireland and slow-distils them by hand in a medieval copper pot gin still with a unique botanical vapour basket.
Eight botanicals are added to the medieval copper pot still including: star anise from China; coriander seed from Romania; angelica root from Germany; caraway seed and cardamom from India; orris root from Morocco; Juniper berries from Macedonia and Meadowsweet from Ireland. A further four botanicals are then added to the vapour basket: Gunpowder tea and Chinese lemon from China; oriental grapefruit from Indonesia and makrut lime from Cambodia. This unlikely concoction is left to rest and mature. Then it’s bottled, labelled and box-packed by hand in the remote ‘Shed Distillery’ – the first distillery in the west of Ireland in over 101 years – in the wild and rugged Drumshanbo.
The gin was voted ‘Best Irish Gin’ by the people of Ireland in 2016 and 2017 and is roaringly popular in Ireland, owing not only to its enchanting story, but also to its exotic, long and mysterious finish. Aside from the smooth layers of fresh citrus with subtle notes of spicier oriental botanicals and the intriguing gunpowder tea, which gives this Irish curiosity its signature finish, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin is beautifully packaged. The bevelled, blue bottle features a mystical creature called a jackalope: a combination of a jackrabbit (not a real rabbit) and an American antelope (not a real antelope). Conceived in a lightning storm, says the legend, the jackalope appears in Drumshanbo at will, as in a dream. And then: gone in a flurry of feet and antlers. Symbolising the remarkable spirit of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, the jackalope brings two disparate cultures and traditions together in a singular flash of inspiration.
Available at most good bottle stores, including Norman Goodfellows, Makro and Pick n Pay Liquor, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin retails for R399 per bottle.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, chilled premium tonic, garnish with a generous wedge of red grapefruit.
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