If you’re inclined to roll your eyes at news of yet another gin launch, you’re not alone. It takes a special liquid to pique our interest when it comes to the juniper spirit these days due to the sheer volume of products on the market. But recently we got a look at one that managed to break down our jaded facade and forced us to admit, begrudgingly, that the category still has more to offer.
The product in question? Canaïma Gin, a new collaboration from bartender Simone Caporale and Diplomatico Rum, brought to the UK by Speciality Brands.
The new gin is crafted in the Amazon using 10 native botanicals, including acai, cashew fruit, snake fruit and endemic passion fruit, as well as eight traditional gin botanicals.
‘We wanted a liquid that would express the flavours, mouthfeel and aromas of the Amazon,’ Caporale said at the gin’s launch event.
He explained that the idea for the product came about not because he wanted to create another spirit, but because he wanted to support the ecosystem and culture of the Amazon.
As such, Canaïma is donating 10% of its sales to organisations such as Saving the Amazon. The brand is also employing people from local communities to craft its point of sale assets and source some of the gin’s botanicals, many of which are not cultivated and must be foraged.
Caporale said that the lack of cultivation means that Canaïma can’t guarantee consistent quantities of all the botanicals. Batches are limited to 500 litres at a time, made in a copper pot still that previously produced gin for a big European brand for 50 years.
But, considering how distinctive Canaïma’s Amazonian botanicals are, why make it a gin at all? ‘If we could sell it as an Amazonian distillate, we would,’ commented Caporale. ‘But explaining what an Amazonian distillate is to a consumer would be complicated.’
Luckily, as you may have guessed, the liquid works beautifully as a gin. On the nose it’s a tropical, earthy rush, with bright notes of orange and sweet candied pineapple. On the palate it is undoubtedly marked by juniper, but it also offers big, bitter orange and grapefruit notes and a miles-long, almost chocolatey finish.
Given that Canaïma contains many botanicals that we’ve never tried before, it offers a unique flavour that we don’t often find in the gin category. Looks like there’s room for one more.
47% abv, RRP £37.50/70cl, Speciality Brands