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GINRAW

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28/12/2015
Written by Gin Foundry

Produced in Vilafranca del Penedés by Mediterranean Premium Spirits S.L., GINRAW may be a relative newcomer to the Spanish scene but it is causing quite a stir. The gin began as a joint enterprise between marketers Roger Burgués and Luis Jáuregui, both of whom were obsessed with Barcelona. After many years working in the spirits and luxury industry they decided to initiate their own brand and create a gin with the spirit of their beloved city.

The duo behind GINRAW decided to recruit four members to bring their idea to life. Using their established connections they brought together Rossend Mateu (maître parfumeur), Javier Caballero (mixologist), Sergi Figueras (sommelier) and Xano Saguer (chef). Collaboratively, they hatched a plan to create a gin that could truly embody the city’s spirit.

This talented group is as avant-garde as it comes and while they all come from different backgrounds, each individual shares a passion for the city.

Mateu began his parfumeur career in 1968. He trained in Geneva and Paris and has over 40 years of experience, developing perfumes such as Herrera Acqua and Paco Rabanne.

His “once in Barcelona tale” started during a taxi ride decades ago. He wound down the window, closed his eyes and began inhaling the city. Unmistakable wafts of jasmine, magnolia and the multi-coloured scent that tourists supply told him for sure, he’d entered Las Ramblas. Master mixologist Caballero began his career as a summer job which was undertaken to fund studies that were in the end never pursued. Choosing to spend entire nights mixing cocktails and learning his craft while others slept has lead him to become a recognised face in the drinks industry and to have a formidable repertoire when it comes harnessing flavours in cocktails.

Arriving from Cerdanya, where he left his bar behind to explore new beginnings, Figueras’ love affair with the city was somewhat of a chance occurrence. Of all GINRAW’s team, his love for Barcelona was natural and began as soon as he set foot in the city. Incidentally, since that moment he went on to become one of the very finest sommeliers in Spain.

Saguer, the chef, clearly loves new challenges. After fulfilling his childhood ambition of becoming a confectioner and making a successful name for himself, he quit. With no previous training whatsoever he turned his hand to pastry, specifically a restaurant pastry chef.

He trained with the best, even becoming one of the best, before quitting once more. If that wasn’t crazy enough, he used his relatively focused knowledge of the catering industry to set up the world’s first dessert only restaurant. Finally he founded an esteemed school where he could continue experimenting with food and drink when someone suggested he enter the world of gin, he ‘responded with the grin of a restless child.’

The initial meeting amongst the four experts was an instant success and lead to the first critical decision and a huge point of difference to many existing gins on the Spanish market. They decided to use a unique low temperature distilling method via the use of a Rotaval, a specific type of rotary evaporator, which comes from haute cuisine. Secondly, they chose to combine this most modern of gastronomic techniques and pair it with a spirit distilled in a traditional copper still, in order to get the best of both worlds.

Botanically, the gin itself is made from only juniper berries, which is where the traditional copper stills are used to distil giving the heart and essence of GINRAW. The distillate is combined with 6 other separately distilled ingredients in the gastronomic Rotaval. They’re split down the middle between classic Mediterranean and more exotic ingredients. The former all being fresh, including lemon peel from Murcia, cedrat peel from Valencia and laurel from, yes you guessed it, Spain. The more exotic ingredients include kaffir lime leaves sourced from Thailand, black cardamom from India and finally coriander seeds from Egypt.

This perfect balance is then cut to bottling strength to achieve the required production run and then left to rest. Perhaps most important of all processes, this is where the magic really happens, allowing the liquid to settle and transform into something equally as unique as the city itself.

There are 5,000 bottles made in a batch, with each GINRAW bottle then individually numbered. At 42.3% ABV GINRAW isn’t shy. On the nose juniper’s resinous tones are present upfront. Crisp citrus and a green tip from kaffir lime leaf join in with bay leaves to create a captivating bouquet. On the palate, kaffir lime creates continuity with the nose before growing in complexity. The spice and subtle smoky notes (black cardamom) come through while bay leaves and citrus add depth.

GINRAW is a gin with complexity and the careful balance would suit many seeking to add their garnish twists in a Gin & Tonic, as it can be transformed by either herbs or citrus peels. We particularly enjoyed it in a Gimlet. GINRAW have designed a bottle very reflective of their birthplace, Barcelona. The cap is made from ash wood sourced from sustainable forests and most notably the bottle’s body has a faded glaze effect to represent the low temperature that is used in their unusual production process.

The team is clearly inspired by the vibrant city that also happens to be in a country with one of the world’s biggest gin markets and this bodes well for gin fans. With their unique blend of backgrounds, GINRAW will more than likely be the first of many projects to emerge. Combine this with export markets looking for exciting Spanish brands with big flavours and strong shelf presence and you can expect to see GINRAW have a very big 2016.

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For more information about GINRAW, visit their website: www.ginraw.com

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