You’ve heard of civet coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world, which has unique properties thanks to the fact that it has travelled through the digestive tract of the Asian palm civet. Now there’s a brand of gin that's infused with flavours from elephant dung.
A South African couple has created Indlovu Gin, Zulu for 'elephant', a version of the beverage that is imbued with the unique botanicals that remain in the excrement of the African elephant.
The idea came to Les and Paula Ansley when they visited a game reserve in Botswana and discovered that only 30% of the fruit, leaves, nuts and roots an elephant eats is digested, the rest remains intact.
The couple, who are professors in physiology and immunology, began experimenting with the dung and discovered that once it is dried, washed, sterilised, macerated and re-dried, it becomes a rich, aromatic infusion that could safely be added to alcohol. The result is a gin that brims with African botanical flavours, and a woody, smoky baseline.
Because the elephants cover vast tracts of land, grazing through multiple habitats and vegetations, each dollop of dung is unique and each batch of Indlovu Gin is completely original. Every bottle is signed with the GPS co-ordinates of the area from which the dung was harvested.
Of course, as the elephants are responsible for these unique flavours, the Ansleys are donating 15% of the profits back to the game reserve to help ensure the elephants’ future. It’s a win-win-gin for everyone.