UP Craft Spirits, a craft venture between award-winning distiller Barney Wilczak and rising cake designer Catia Mesquita, has premiered with an innovative gin from Portugal: the world’s first to be aged ‘from the inside out’.
In creating the gin, Barney and Catia wanted to utilise a different approach, striving to produce a gin that was expressive, balanced, and didn’t conform to any “current template” seen in the industry.
The gin relies on a combination of two ageing techniques; the first sees the liquid aged inside traditional port barrels, and the second utilises Portuguese cork, alongside a range of botanicals that chart a journey from pine-filled forests to olive groves, from biodiverse cork forests to the sea.
Described by the distillery as “wildly extravagant and expressive”, Ginout is designed to illustrate a shared history and one of Europe’s most stunning landscapes. It is thought that this is the first time that cork has been used as a botanical for ageing spirits, using all this wonderful natural material’s potential to enrich a complex gin.
Ginout’s distiller, Barney, drew his own vision to unify these elements of Portugal, and in doing so conjured up the image of a forest. He noted that “Here, high notes of conifer buds evoke sun-touched forest canopy. Aging with cork, toasted to different temperatures to highlight different elements of this vitally important tree, brings out hints of smoke, vanilla, sun warmed wood and gorse-like coconut.”
Catia also commented: “The influence of tawny and ruby ports bring autumnal notes, rich and filled with wild berries. At the forest floor we find the sweet cocoa and hummus-rich fig leaves. And our Flor de Sal, with its own unique appellation in the Algarve, brings a minerality that makes the whole sparkle.”
Ginout’s packaging also strives to respect and pay homage to the brand’s environment: Labels are hand-printed, on carbon neutral paper; the bottles use natural cork, supporting one of the world’s main biodiversity hotspots; and the liquid is hand-bottled, without chill filtration.
Barney and Catia describe their gin as “esoteric, complex, elegant and thought-provoking”, not something designed for the mass market. And they note, perhaps most importantly, that Ginout is a drink that’s made to be explored.