With over 600 entrants, the founders behind the gin are blown away by the recognition. Auckland-based friends Mark Neal, Daniel McLaughlin and Richard Bourke established Scapegrace only four years ago.
Veteran judge Steve Beal said Scapegrace Gold was “staggeringly good”. “Making gin this good is not easy or accidental, we salute the blender… A magnificent gin,” he said.
Neal mentioned, “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 product, says Neal.
“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.”
The aquifer is one of the last natural aquifers in the world, supplying water fresh from the Southern Alps which takes about 80 years to trickle down from the snowy mountains.
Beal said: “[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.”
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.”
Scapegrace is stocked in 35 countries, including some of the best cocktail bars around the world.