11 August 2015 11:31

KWV uses truffles to make Gin

KWV has launched its own super-premium London dry boutique gin, hand crafted for a 'new world' gin drinking experience. Cruxland is made from the 100% grape spirits infused with nine exotic botanicals, including rare Kalahari N'abbas (truffles).

Produced by KWV, the product development process has taken almost three years. "We wanted to create a special gin with botanicals typical to South Africa and knew we needed a special ingredient to complement the flavours of the other botanicals," says Master Distiller, Pieter de Bod.

"Kalahari truffles only grow in the Kalahari after the first rains so we had to wait for that to happen and then we got the volumes we needed," he explains. "The Kalahari truffle forms a distinctive crack in the earth in the form of a cross when the truffle swells after the rain. Having said this, only the very experienced truffle hunter can spot where to start digging."

This cross in the ground was the inspiration for the Cruxland name, as Crux means cross in Latin. To produce this small batch London Dry gin, the spirit is double distilled in small copper potstills. The highest quality neutral grape spirit is used, distilled with spices and botanicals from South Africa and abroad, namely:

  • juniper berries
  • honey bush tea
  • coriander, rooibos
  • aniseed, cardamom
  • almonds, lemon
  • Kalahari truffles


The resulting product is a gin that is "complex in taste and extra smooth in finish, giving a soft mouth feel with no esters and fatty acids."

"We wanted something really special and we knew, with a 100% grape based gin and the beautiful botanicals added, we could create a unique and truly South African gin, not only perfect for mixing but also as a sipping gin – not readily available."

Global premium gin sales are rocketing. In the UK alone CGA Strategy research reveals that sales of premium gin are up 49% over the last two years with boutique gin making up more than a quarter of the market. Experts say the gin revival has been sparked by unusual flavours and launches of small batches, which are adding vitality to the category and the re-emergence of a cocktail culture.

KWV specialises in premium brandy and wine, both products of the grape. "It was therefore a natural progression to produce a 100% grape based gin," says KWV's Anneke Mackenzie, KWV's global portfolio manager for spirits. "It is a great time to launch as the premium and super-premium segment is experiencing substantial growth in South Africa as well as globally."

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