Salcombe Gin launches fruit schooner-inspired "Island Queen" gin
by Sophia Wilson
The tropical notes of pineapple and the salty shores of Devon’s coastline are not normally associated with each other, but Salcombe Gin’s latest release has combined the two. Developed in collaboration with celebrity chef Monica Galetti, the new “Island Queen” gin has been named after a famous Salcombe Fruit Schooner from the 19th century. With a limited run of 2,500 bottles, the fourth edition in its Voyager series is a tropical gin with notes of freshly cut pineapple capturing flavours of the Caribbean and South Pacific.
The schooner that the gin was named after was built in Salcombe in 1853. All the Salcombe Fruiters were designed to be small and fast with copper sheathed hulls so that they could carry perishable goods. Pineapples were considered the most precious cargo and when they returned from trips to the Bahamas and the biggest on board used to be displayed on the jib boom as they sailed up the Thames to deposit their cargo at St Katherine Docks.
The pineapple connection was a natural fit for Galetti who was born in Samoa before moving to New Zealand as a child. “When Salcombe Gin approached me, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to create a gin that reflected my culinary style and heritage in the Pacific Islands,” said the chef who runs in Mere in Fitzrovia with her husband. “The gin is truly tropical, inspired by the ocean with notes of freshly cut pineapple, sweet mango and coconut in perfect balance with traditional juniper.”
Getting the pineapple notes into the gin proved to be quite a challenge. The pineapples had to be slow roasted and smoked over manuka wood in a traditional Kamado oven, before steeping the flesh in English wheat spirit for 72 hours. The pineapple infused base spirit was then distilled along with the remainder of the botanicals and Dartmoor water.
"By steeping the pineapples in the base spirit, we have captured the freshness of this magnificent fruit along with the sweet smokiness from the manuka wood,” explained Angus Lugsdin, co-founder of Salcombe Gin. “The mango and fresh lime peel add further tropical notes along with a green freshness and subtle anise. Macedonian juniper is used in the same quantity as our flagship 'Start Point' gin and provides a foundation on which to build the flavours and aromas with the green cardamom again helping lengthen the finish on the palate."
A perfect accompaniment for sunny days on board if you find yourself in Devon this summer you can have a bottle delivered direct to your yacht, thanks to the company’s delivery service. Alternatively, it is now available online or from Salcombe Gin Distillery and Victuallers, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and selected independent retailers.