A new Kenyan Gin, named Procera has gone on sale in the UK. Priced at £70 a bottle with Enotria & Coe looking after distribution, this is the first Gin in the world to be made with fresh juniper procera berries grown in the highlands of Kenya.
Distilled and bottled in Nairobi, the finish of the Gin is distinctly spicy with a nutty and earth depths, a product of using the African berries. In addition to African juniper, Procera incorporates nine other botanicals found growing across the continent, amongst the ingredients featured are Moroccan orris root, Somali honey and Madagascan pink pepper.
Kenyan artisans have designed and hand-blown the 50cl glass bottles which house the drink. Only 6,000 bottles have been released so far, a reflection of the small batch nature of the process which produces only 100 bottles a day.
The Gin is currently on sale in the USA, Hong Kong, the UK, France and Germany, but it has ambitions of expansion in the coming year.
Having brought Procera into the UK, establishing secure listings at bars like The Connaught and Dukes, spirits specialist Ivan Dixon is now a co-owner of the brand.
Procera’s master distiller, Roger Jorgensen, believes the use of fresh African juniper helps to distinguish Procera in a crowded Gin market. During a Zoom tasting of Procera hosted for the UK trade he said, “Juniper berries grown in the tropical sun are gorgeous. We pick them when they’re fresh and green, meaning you get a bright, fresh greenness in the taste.
“In my opinion, fresh juniper makes better gin, as it keeps its brightness and offers a true taste of the terroir. When you dry things it doesn’t speak of the terroir in the same way.
“African juniper is nuttier, earthier and more sun-kissed than common juniper, but the greenness is even more of a signature.”
In addition to the brand’s flagship Gin, Jorgensen has made two additional expressions – a spicy gin designed to be used in a Negroni and another made solely from African juniper.
Discussing the spicy gin, Jorgensen said: “It has a bright juniper start with a strong umami mid-palate then pepper aromas that pinball around your palate in a long finish. I wanted it to be able to stand its ground in a Negroni and not let the Campari have all the fun.”
Jorgensen is perhaps most excited by his single botanical gin, which he says smells like “standing in a pine forest”. In addition to fresh African juniper, the gin is made with a portion of dried juniper procera, fresh foliage from the trees, which grow at up to 3,500m altitude, and juniper wood.
“We had an ‘aha’ moment when we first tasted it. It blew us away that we could get that level of complexity from a single botanical Gin. It’s a true representation of the terroir and the possibilities for it are so exciting,” said Procera’s founder, Guy Brennan.
“I want to convince South African distillers to use African not European juniper as it’s falling on the ground and going to waste. I’d like it to have protected status like a French AOC,” Brennan added.