Malfy Gin is a unique combination of a family made Italian product, yet with a global vision set out by an entrepreneurially minded US based company, Biggar & Leith.
Malfy Gin is made on the outskirts of Turin by Torino Distillati. Historically, the area of Moncalieri was traditionally famed for the production of quality liqueurs. Take vermouth for example with Carpano, Cinzano and Martini Rossi all based nearby. The distillery was first established in 1906 by Fratelli Ferrero di Riccardo, a Piedmontese family known for operating in the wine and vermouth business. Saving a few twists and turns of history here, in the 60s it was taken over by the Canadian company Seagram.
In 1992 Carlo Vergnano, who was at the time the technical and operational director of Seagram Italia, bought the Moncalieri plant from Seagram in a management buy-out operation, and set up Torino Distillati.
With the help of his wife Piera and his daughter Rita, Carlo Vergnano still runs the company today, with the help two key workers Denis Muni (the chemist and distiller) and Beppe Ronco (engineer and distiller) have created a tight nit group centred around family.
For those interested in these things, the company has two production sites, the main one in Moncalieri where production and bottling takes place, and one in Santena where brandies and other distillates are currently aged and where some finished products are stocked. A Barrel aged gin down the line perhaps?
Originally, MALFY Gin was a small batch product made by the Vergano family, yet following meetings with the Vergnano family, Biggar & Leith founder Elwyn Gladstone saw that the spirit had a much wider potential and started to create a plan to develop a wider identity around it and find a way to bring it to the global stage.
Malfy Gin’s vivid, bright and enticing label hints at the citrus forward spirit it contains. With such a strong lemon sherbet mouthfeel and with the classic juniper hit further back in comparison to most traditional gins, Malfy is not a gin for purists.
Discussing this further, Elwyn Gladstone commented further on the reasons why he felt this was positive and why he seeked it out: “I love that some brands are making very juniper-heavy gins – I have great admiration for them – its just not something that we wanted to get into. There are definitely plenty of traditional gins for traditional gin drinkers – we would like to make sure that people other than just those traditionalists get to enjoy the gin party.” In many ways, Malfy Gin achieves this well, both from its flavour and it’s packaging.
To create Malfy, they take a careful mix of Lemon peel both Amalfi Coast Lemons and Sicilian lemons (in a roughly 20/80% split) and steep in wheat based alcohol before being pressed in a traditional basket press. This citrus heavy extract is then distilled with juniper (Tuscan), coriander, cassia, liquorice, grapefruit peel and orange peel.
The distillation itself happens in a custom made stainless still still that is under vacuum for 3-4 hours at 60 degrees (the lower temperature it can distil at allows for the capture of the zesty flavors). The still incidentally is almost one of a kind in that so few combine this hybrid vacuum and large scale apparatus. Only Greenhook Ginsmiths in Brooklyn are similar in their hybrid still set up with others working under vacuum (either in rotary evaporators, custom glass stills or the custom Oxley still) completely different in how they have to approach making a batch of gin.
Once distilled – the product is then chill filtered to remove some oil (otherwise it would louche in cold conditions and being a veritable cloud in a G&T) and bottled at 41% abv.
Tasted neat, the lemon is overwhelming and bordering on a sherberty limoncello. That said, add water or more importantly – vermouth / tonic / mixer and the core gin botanicals (juniper, coriander seed) come back into contention. Malfy Gin was always going to be a lemon forward gin – Con Limone – kind of gives that away… but there is a gin under there and while progressive, it would still appeal to any classic gin fans. The finish has a lovely depth too, with more piney wood-floor notes coming through.
Adding more citrus to either a Martini or a G&T as a garnish would, in our opinion, be total overkill. The gin’s not just got the booming lemon notes, but also pink grapefruit and orange peel too. Try a rosemary sprig or some fresh thyme instead in a G&T and bring it back towards a more herbal mix, while also accentuating the Mediterranean profile of the Italian region.
The bottle itself is worth particular attention and is probably Malfy’s tour de force. With cleverly custom designed cork (tinted blue) and a bright label reminiscent of the Riviera the package makes for a great gift.
So what next? Malfy Gin are working with wholesalers in the US, South Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Italy (of course!) and gradually expanding to a wide variety of different countries over the course of 2016. With such strong shelf presence, Malfy will have a very wide appeal across different countries and with such a memorable profile will appeal to many bartenders looking for a citrus forward spirit to mix with.
For more information about Malfy, visit their website: www.malfygin.com
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