Distillery Botanica's head distiller was let loose in the garden to bottle its essence.
Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden has partnered with Distillery Botanica to release a limited-edition gin that incorporates a range of botanicals sourced from the garden itself.
Botanica's master distiller, Philip Moore, worked his way around the 201-year-old garden's 9000-plus species with the director of horticulture, Jimmy Turner, to settle on the right combination of plants and herbs. After a few rounds of testing, the resulting spirit (of which there are only 1000 bottles available) takes in the scents of Pope John Paul roses, mandarin leaf, lemon verbena, horehound, curry leaves, murraya, lovage and chamomile. In the glass, the spice-driven notes of curry leaves are easily distinguishable, as well as a slight, pleasing bitterness from the mandarin leaves.
To extract the delicate perfume of the flowers in particular, Moore used enfleurage, a method usually reserved for high-end perfume. Instead of adding the petals directly to the alcohol, which tends to alter their scent, the flowers were added to an odourless fat - Botanica used hydrogenated coconut oil - which captured the aromatics in their purest form. The perfumed fat was then added to the alcohol.
To cement the partnership, 50 per cent of the profits from the gin are going straight back to the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust to support the conservation program. All we need now is a cocktail bar in the rose garden so we can drink in situ.
Bottles of A Rather Royal Gin are extremely limited, available online at distillerybotanicagin.com.