The Cape Floral Kingdom is one of only six such biomes in the World. It is the smallest, but also the richest and most abundant with more species of plant being found on the slopes of Table Mountain than in all of Great Britain! It is these plants, known as fynbos, that we use to give our gins their unique character and flavour.
Our founder, Lorna Scott, discovered her inner gin maker via a curious path; following a stint as the Mayor of Still Bay – the small town she grew up in – she met and developed a strong bond with a local botanist and his wife. Add to this newfound resource of local knowledge a healthy blend of tenacity, curiosity and good fortune and before she knew it she was experimenting by infusing the abundant local fynbos into her small batch gins.
“I was lucky,” Lorna says, “In that I had two very knowledgable people to help guide me through the thousands of botanicals available here; there are more than 9,000 species of plant in our natural habitat – plants found in great numbers on our doorstep and nowhere else on the planet. Fortunately, the late Dr. Tol Pienaar and his wife Annette, the two local botanists who supported me helped narrowed down the list of botanicals to 300 for me to try. Without them, literally we’d still be searching.”
Having a headstart always helps, but you still have to make it happen. Lorna says, “I grew up in Still Bay. When I returned here after living part of my adult life abroad I rediscovered and fell in love with the story of the place – the fact that it’s home to the oldest evidence of humans as sentient beings living in perfect harmony with their environment. I wanted to tell that story by making something that also used what is abundantly available in a way that is sustainable and creative – an echo of our past, if you will. I think we’ve achieved that.”
The result of her unique approach to storytelling are three distinct Inverroche Gins that represent the broad groups of geographical botanicals that they contain from the limestone rock fynbos to coastal dune fynbos and, of course, the fynbos found on the mountains. Each pays homage to the rich and historic Earth from which they have been grown and handpicked.
And, in keeping with the theme, we’ll only every make what the environment can naturally sustain. Lorna continues, “There’s a limit to how many bottles we’ll produce; that limit isn’t imposed on us by things like capacity or distribution, or even choice – no, Mother Nature is our ultimate check and balance. She’ll keep us honest.”
We propagate, grow and harvest our own and also source fynbos from local farmers and organisations who already provide plant material to the broader industry for medicinal or culinary use.
We work with several indigenous plant nurseries, to propagate plants for us which are then re-established in their natural environment and hand harvested. All our plantings are registered with and supervised by Cape Nature.
Lorna concludes, “The actual volume of plant material is however quite small per species and batch as we combine several plants to create a profile and may use as little as 500 grams of a particular plant per batch. In this way we place no pressure on the natural wild fynbos and are able to secure our supply.”