GIN XII WITH 12 HERBS AND SPICES
THE AROMATIC INTENSITY OF A WALK THROUGH THE GARRIGUE!
Imagine a gin like no other. Distilled in Provence, Dry Gin XII draws its power from a unique palette of flavors composed of wild juniper berries and 11 other carefully selected plants and spices. A unique, fresh dry gin for all those who want to discover the flavors of Haute-Provence.
The harmony of aromas,
A rich, authentic taste.
Gin XII is distilled by hand from 12 plants and spices in a tray still to produce subtle aromatic palettes. Its distinctive character comes from 5 different distillates:
- 1 gin distillate with 8 herbs and spices (juniper berries, coriander seeds, sweet almond, thyme, maniguette seeds, angelica roots, Florence iris roots, cardamom seeds).
- 4 unique plant distillates (basil, rosemary, eucalyptus, mint).
Gin XII’s recipe was born of a long period of research and reflection. The choice of plants to accompany the juniper and the exact proportion of each come from a simple idea: to obtain a dry gin with a rich, authentic taste.
Gin XII is twelve plants and spices that express the character, typical style and aromatic intensity of a stroll through the garrigue!
Juniper – Coriander – Sweet almond – Thyme – Angelica – Grains of paradise – Iris – Cardamom – Basil – Rosemary – Eucalyptus – Mint
Our recommendation: Gin XII is perfect as a cocktail, for example the famous gin and tonic (one part gin to two parts tonic), or for the more initiated, just served with a splash of sparkling water and perhaps also some lemon juice and a little sugar syrup.
The history of gin is one of long development over many centuries with a series of successes, failures and new beginnings that are sometimes truly astonishing!
Before we dive into this fascinating history, it is important to note that gin has always been inextricably linked to the plant to which it owes its name – juniper. Since ancient times, juniper has appeared in medical formulations featured in a good number of medical treatises to treat certain complaints such as jaundice, bronchial diseases, pulmonary diseases and so on.
Gin’s origins can be traced back to a treatise written by Muslim alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan (‘Geber’ in Latin) in Persia in the late 8th century. This treatise partly explains the operation of a still as we know it today. It opened up unlimited possibilities for the era’s researchers by enabling them to create distillations for medical purposes.
The first distillation of a juniper-based alcohol, which could be described as a ‘proto-gin’, took place at the Salerno Medical School founded in the 11th century.
The base ingredient used to produce the alcohol was most likely grapes, and the assumption is that the final product would have been aromatically similar to a grappa flavoured with juniper.
The beginning of a global saga
In the year 1000, gin was a simple juniper-based distillate. It was not until it reached northern Europe that it began to gain its particular features and undergo significant improvements. In parallel to this boom, the plague was spreading all over Europe. The Black Death of 1348 decimated more than a third of Europe’s population. Flemish alchemists were well aware of the virtues of juniper berries, and gin was used as simple medication and as a disinfectant. This is when its aromatic profile began to change, becoming more than just medication and gaining ever increasing popularity. The Dutch had the idea of adding juniper berries to malt wine (moutwijn). In 1552, Philippus Hermanni wrote a detailed manual about distillation, and at the same time a wine shortage resulted in grains being used for gin production. The Dutch Republic of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands was created in 1579, prompting numerous Dutch citizens to seek refuge in England, bringing the art of distillation with them. A few years later, spirits from the Flanders region were known as jenever (a name thought to have been given by Professor Sylvius of Leiden University, who used it for its diuretic properties): this gin-based drink quickly became very popular thanks to the dynamism of the East India Company which provided spices and herbs to improve its organoleptic profile. This was a key stage in the development of gin.
The separation between strictly medical use of gin and its use as a drink became increasingly marked. History has mingled with legend, and some people claim that gin was used to boost the courage of soldiers serving William II, Prince of Orange during the Thirty Years’ War.
Taking advantage of the war, gin arrived in the British Isles, starting in London where it continued its progress with varying degrees of success. This was the 17th century, when intercontinental trade was taking off. In 1689, William III became King of England and opened up distillate production. This prompted an epidemic that was more devastating than the Black Death: alcoholism. Trouble spread, with gin now containing turpentine obtained by distilling pine resin, used by hundreds of distilleries. Gin was served at more than 7,000 locations across London. Although considered the paupers’ drink, gin did sometimes pay wages. The authorities tried to stamp out this epidemic by enacting the Gin Act of 1751 (a law to reduce the consumption of spirits).
By 1757, the initial gin mania was over and production had become less financially attractive. The gin trade declined until the 1820s, when the Victorian era created a new boom with the arrival of ‘gin palaces’. In 1825, the government lowered taxes on gin. The reduced prices once again prompted overconsumption, but quality levels remained very poor. Dickens wrote that gin consumption had become a vice linked to the poor social conditions of the time. Distilleries were flourishing and gin was increasingly becoming the drink that we know today, as it was being made with plant-based ingredients such as coriander and cardamom.
The creation of gin and tonic
During this period, a major event occurred elsewhere in the world: gin met quinine. Malaria was rampant along trade routes and claimed multiple victims. A South American tree called the quinquina was discovered to have healing properties. The quinine extracted with this tree was mixed with gin to create ‘tonic water’, which quickly gained fans: gin and tonic was born! This was a key milestone in the history of gin. Between 1842 and 1847 , around 700 tons of small quinquina berries were imported from India every year. Quinine was very popular among officers of the British Empire, who introduced it all over the world. In 1858, the first industrially produced tonic – a quinine-based drink – was patented by Erasmus Bond. Gin was distilled from spices and flavours from all over the world, and became the symbol of the cosmopolitan colonial spirit. Gin became fashionable and entered new glory days, then crossed the Atlantic to conquer America. The English gin craze echoed Prohibition and the attraction of speakeasies.
Column still, industrialisation
Between the 19th century and the early 20th century, gin began to look increasingly like the drink we know today. The invention of the column still improved production methods. The principles behind it were already well known, but this type of device was only industrialised in the 19th century, first by Robert Stein in 1827 then perfected by Irish customs inspector Aeneas Coffey, who patented the still bearing his name in 1832.
New distillation techniques prompted the emergence of ‘gin dynasties’ and major brands such as Booth’s, Gordon’s, Plymouth, Beefeater and Tanqueray.
The arrival of cocktails in 1930 (in 1806 this was a mixture of distillates, water and bitters) saw gin continue to prosper, with its clandestine image as forbidden fruit only serving to increase public fascination. In the 1950s, gin turned from being roguish to respectable, and started being served to the middle classes in golf clubs. Gin became a safe bet following a strict set of rules. Gin highlights the aromatic notes of other ingredients involved in its production: juniper inspires creativity in barmen thanks to its unique characteristics and centuries of history. Gin production became a real industry, and the most prominent distilleries have transformed gin into a commercial product. Since 1990, innovative small-scale producers have gradually been making their mark on the world of gin, with traditional recipes updated to modern tastes. Gin, once overtaken by rum and vodka, enjoyed renewed success as it entered the new millennium. Gin is enjoyed all over the world, with enthusiasts increasingly interested in the provenance and origins of their products, and some distilleries are combining respect for traditional production methods with innovation. The short list of starting ingredients is constantly growing, with increasingly amazing additions. Things have changed a lot in recent years and the European Union has regulated production: ‘gin dynasties’ lost their battle to keep London Dry a product made solely on British soil, which has opened up production methods. Gin has remained true to its vocation, claiming more than ever to be the fruit of refined precision work, a science that requires great rigour. Barmen’s requirements and a glut of producers are forcing artisans to specialise and innovate with particular aromatic touches. Despite the highs and lows that have accompanied the drink’s history, there is now a wave of artisan gins appearing on the market. Gin is back with a vengeance, transformed yet proud of its strong roots that have anchored it in history throughout its life.
The beating heart of gin is a small, bright purplish blue berry with a slightly powdery cerous layer – juniper.
Gin XII is a 100% distilled dry gin made with five different distillates:
- One gin distillate with eight plants and spices (juniper berries, coriander seeds, sweet almond, thyme, grains of paradise, angelica root, Florence iris root, cardamom seeds). These plants and spices are initially macerated in alcohol then distilled together.
- Four distillates from single plants (basil, rosemary, eucalyptus, mint) which are distilled individually after each being macerated in alcohol.
All of this distillation is performed in a copper plate column still that enables the development of greater balance and finesse in the flavours, and thus the extraction of the aromas that give Gin XII its particular style.
Nose: juniper with fresh, minty and floral notes.
Palate: clean and vibrant juniper in the attack, very aromatic development, ending with an intense, aromatic, lingering finish. Gin XII is powerful with a garrigue, terroir style thanks to its fresh, pepper, camphor, mint, refined and floral notes.