A New Zealand gin has been given the highest possible accolade in the global industry: It’s been named best London dry gin in the world at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition.
Scapegrace Gold took out the London Dry Gin Trophy 2018 in London — the first time in the influential competition’s 49 year history that a New Zealand brand has won the accolade.
Scapegrace Gold was described by judges as “staggeringly good” and beat more than 600 other gins from almost 90 countries to take out the supreme award, which had a 50 per cent increase in entrants from last year.
Veteran judge Steve Beal says about Scapegrace Gold: “Making gin this good is not easy or accidental, we salute the blender… A magnificent gin.”
Scapegrace, which made headlines when it recently rebranded from Rogue Society, was founded by Auckland-based friends Mark Neal, Daniel McLaughlan, and Richard Bourke just four years ago.
It is now stocked in 35 countries, including some of the best cocktail bars in the world, and Neal says the team is blown away by the recognition.
“The irony isn’t lost on us that our gin is the best London dry gin in the world even though we’re based on the exact opposite side of the world to London.”
“We spent years researching and developing our recipe, from day dot we were committed to creating a gin for New Zealanders which we could take to the world.”
Scapegrace Gold is distilled in small batches with 13 botanicals; lemon, orange, coriander, cardamom, cloves, juniper berries, nutmeg, angelica root, liquorice root, orris, cinnamon, cassia bark, and tangerine.
Tangerine is the “lucky 13th botanical” which differentiates Scapegrace Gold from Scapegrace Classic, the other Scapegrace gin, Neal says.
“It might seem surprising to see a New Zealand gin win this award when you think of the history and tradition behind the artisan liquor in the UK and Europe, but the reason our gin tastes so clean is because of our water which we source from a natural aquifer just north of Christchurch.”
And it’s these elements the judges commended.
“[Scapegrace Gold] has the classic juniper burr running through it, joined by powerful but balanced spice and root flavours combining to make a complex, teasing expression demanding of attention on the palate,” Beal says.
McLaughlan says Scapegrace was designed to shake up the liquor industry by creating something for the new generation of gin drinkers.
“We wanted to shift away from the old classics, the stuff you’ll find in your parents’ liquor cabinet, by introducing a modern and progressive way of doing gin.”
“Everything from our ingredients, to the processes used, and even the bottles they come in pays tribute to the craft of gin making, but also to being a bit rebellious from those traditions and paving a new way for the craft. Thus our name, Scapegrace.”
The popularity of gin continues to soar around the world, with more than 50 million cases now sold every year, and sales of gin tripling in the UK alone since 2009.