If your new year’s resolution was to try something new then this gin, made from elephant dung, is the drink for you. The name ‘Indlovu’ means ‘elephant’ in a number of African languages. Les Ansley and Professor Paula Ansley were inspired to make Indlovu gin for fans of the “spirit of Africa” when on a safari in Kenya.
Elephant dung contains a lot of nutrients because most of the vegetation consumed by elephants is not absorbed into their systems. This means that the dung contains many botanical flavours which they then enhance with flavours such as Juniper, Angelica and citrus.
Before you dismiss their gin and concept, the scientists assure that the dung is dried, sterilised and tested before it is processed into a rich and flavourful drink. It’s a five-step process to get the dung ready for gin production.
On their website they explain:
We take the cleansing process very seriously. There are five steps involved in the preparation process:
Fresh dung from naturally foraging elephants is collected. The collected dung is dried, crumbled and then—in accordance with a prescribed method for sterilising grey/borehole water in South Africa for human consumption—the dung is immersed in a sterilising fluid that kills 99.9% of bacteria, fungi, spores, viruses. The sterilised dung is thoroughly rinsed, dried and stored in breathable sacks until use. The processed dung is stored away from the fresh dung to prevent any cross-contamination. No sterilised dung returns to the area of preliminary dung preparation.
There are numerous studies that show that an alcohol solution between 40-70% is very effective in killing bacteria. (A fun article to read is Booze as disinfectant.) Therefore the direct infusion of the dung that occurs in one of the flavouring runs acts as an additional step in the cleansing process. During the bottling process the gin passes through a micro-filter and finally, a sample from each batch of gin is sent for laboratory analysis to ensure that it meets the stringent standards of potability.
Besides being innovative the creators of Indlovu Gin are also generous. 15% of profits from Indlovu gin to Africa Foundation to support their work in wildlife conservation at Phinda Game Reserve and under their brand Ibhu, they provide cooking gas to Langrug Soup Kitchen at Batho’s Place, Franschhoek, which provides children on the informal settlement with a nutritious meal every weekend.
Buy a bottle of your own at one of these places:
- Yuppie Chef, Online
- Big Five Duty-Free OR Thambo Airport, Johannesburg
- Siegies on Huguenot, Franschhoek
- Grande Provence, Franschhoek
- Knysna Elephant Park, Knysna