“Botanicals” have almost become a cliché. With hundreds of artisanal distillers producing hand-crafted field-to-bottle spirits and trying to out-botanical, out-locally source and out eco-friendly each other, a new gin boast a real U.S.P. As well as a unique provenance and flavor profile.
Compared to “Canaima Gin”, most gins seem urban, domestic and their choice of botanicals rather uninspired. “Canaima” is made by Venezuela rum makers, using botanicals unique to the Amazon rainforest hand-picked and conscientiously collected by local tribespeople. Sales also are used to protect the Amazon region and its people.
The premium Venezuelan gin is produced in the DUS (Destillerias Unidas distillery at the foot of the Andes Mountains at La Miel, in the state of Lara and is a family-owned brand. DUS also makes “Diplomatico Rum”. Cainama gets its name from the 3m hectare national park and home of the Angel Falls in south-east Venezuela.
A total of 19 botanicals including compulsory juniper berries are used to produce Canaima, including ten native to the Amazon and one from Lara. These include snake fruit, passion fruit, açaí berries, uve de Palma (red fruit harvested from a palm tree and used as an energy boost by the Yekuanas ), copuazu (related to the cacao tree), seje, tupiro, merey fruit ( from the cashew tree). The Amazonian botanicals are harvested in ways that limit environmental impact. According to 2014 Bartender of the Year, Como-born Simone Caporale has overseen the project from its conception. the perfect serve is with tonic water and grapefruit soda. Unsurprisingly, key nose and flavor notes are earthy, herbaceous, floral and fruity.
Canaima was born from a trip Simone made to the Peruvian Amazon, where witnessing the destruction of the rainforest’s fragile ecology in real-time sparked a desire to take action. Dinner with the founder of Diplomatico Rum back reaffirmed his need to “do something”, and the pair set about thinking how best to self-fund a new product while supporting and sustaining Amazonian communities.
“There are over three thousand plants in the Amazon. Only two hundred or so are known, We chose just a few. Our intention has not only been to bring to the world an exceptional gin but also to contribute to the well-being of local communities through collaboration with the Tierra Viva Foundation and Saving the Amazon”, says Edouard Beaslay, Canaïma’s Global Marketing Director.
Saving the Amazon combines technology, mobile applications and the human potential of indigenous communities to combat the destruction of the Amazon. The brand is partnering with indigenous people experienced in harvesting different Amazonian botanicals in an environmentally respectful way. The Tierra Viva Foundation develops all brand visibility material, creating sustainable employment, mainly for indigenous women who bake baskets and coasters. As well as financing work critical to conservation, the 47% ABV gin (US$46) also helps with re-forestation.
It is a drink that celebrates and supports the ecosystem and cultures of the Amazon. Its sustainability credentials of one of the world’s most modern and bio-diverse drinks are indisputable.
Says Caparole: “ The labels are made from previously recycled fully biodegradable paper. If you leave a bottle outside in the rain in a few weeks its will disintegrate without releasing any particles.”