With craft gins being all the rage at the moment, drinkers are spoilt for choice as to which flavour to choose.
But Ndlovu Gin, a new entry onto the market, offers a very unusual ingredient thanks to South African husband and wife team Les and Paula Ansley.
The name comes from Indlovu which is isiZulu for Elephant and the gin is made using elephant dung.
Speaking to Cape Talk’s Lester Kiewit, co-founder Les Ansley described how his wife Paula came up with the idea following a visit to Kenya.
“While she was sipping G&Ts, watching herds of elephant, at the waterhole, she listened to the guide explain how elephants are very particular in their browsing habits and yet how little of the plant material they digest, only about 30%,” Les told the radio host.
The idea began to formulate in her head and Les’ story continues after Paula returned from her trip.
“I got an elbow one morning and she said ‘wake up, wake up I’ve got an idea. Do you think it would be possible to make elephant dung gin?’ And so we did. And that’s really how Ndlovu was born,” he explained before insisting this is not just a novelty, but has, in fact got a very particular flavour.
“There is a definite flavour from the dung. It gives it a very earthy, citrusy flavour. Because the elephants have such a wonderful, varied diet. They eat the fruits and the barks,” Les added.
The elephant dung for this batch was collected from Botlierskop Game Reserve where the elephants forage on acacia, buchu, and many other indigenous plants which Les says “Is mixed in and infused into the gin and gives it a wonderful flavour.”
Les and Paula are donating 15% of profits to the Africa Foundation towards its work in wildlife conservation.
“We see this lovely virtuous circle where the elephants are contributing to funding conservation projects that impact the welfare of elephants,” Les said.