Why Kenya's Procera Gin Is The Next Centrepiece Of Your Home Bar
Cast your eye across the bottle selection in any self-respecting bar, and more often than not, your gaze will settle on a curious outlier: squat, with an elongated, leather-bound neck ending in an oversized palm wood stopper, and devoid of any label or marking save for a blue dot daubed on its imperfectly handblown glass body.
Like an artifact preserved from a pre-industrial time, Procera Gin's delightfully uncommon appearance speaks to its equally singular provenance—as the only craft gin to emerge from Kenya, the clear elixir captures the unique terroir of the East African country's pristine Kijabe highland forest.
Procera Gin is named after Juniperus Procera, a native variety of juniper (the essential botanical that makes gin, gin) that only grows above altitudes of 1,500 metres. Unlike your run-of-the-mill workhorse gin, which utilises dried Juniper Communis bought in bulk from a commodities broker, the local juniper berry is picked while still green and macerated without the drying process to impart an earthy complexity to the spirit.
This is complemented by nine other African botanicals: pixie orange and Swahili lime from Kenya, Somalian acacia honey, cardamom and mace from Zanzibar, Madagascan pink peppercorn, Moroccan coriander and orris root, and Selim pepper from the Ivory Coast. The end result is a rich nuttiness that carries through the nose and palate, with a lingering peppery finish—an intoxicating medley of flavours that has won Procera Gin a gold medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Gin Trophy Winner of the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards.
We dream that in the future, 'African Dry Gin' will become a designated category which must be distilled in Africa; must use African Juniper; and must use only botanicals grown on the continent.
The gin is bottled in a cerulean-tinted, individually numbered glass bottle handblown from recycled glass by the artisans of Kitengela Hot Glass in Nairobi, and topped with a stopper hand-carved from the doum palm tree by the craftsmen of Rampel Designs. Every bottle also comes with a small bag of sea salt infused with nine of the 10 botanicals, which the makers of the gin suggest to stir directly into a pour; alternatively, a lick of salt with a sip of a Procera G&T makes for a tantalising taste experience, too. With only 1,000 bottles produced each month, the gin is highly sought after both at professional bars and home cocktail stations alike.
Now, Tatler Unlisted, a new platform introducing weekly exclusive lifestyle offers, is furnishing this most exquisite of gins with an even greater degree of individuality, with the option to have your bottle customised with an engraving of your choice by the glassblowers of Nairobi—a privilege normally reserved solely for members' clubs. Order your personalised bottle of Procera Gin (HK$1,100) online by 14 March 2021 to secure a one-of-a-kind centrepiece for your home bar—a curious outlier in the best sense possible.
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