We have created the recipe for the new Gin di Ginepraio with our essential oils, Mediterranean suggestions for a refined, intense and unusual distillate.
How a Mediterranean Gin is born
Visit to the Lady of the drops and Doctor Millilitres
by Nicola Dal Falco
Val di Cecina, on a hill, between Pomarance and the river which, a little further down, meanders twice under the Masso delle Fanciulle and the Masso degli Specchi.
A place for summer bathing, a "sea of the poor", not so far from the Tyrrhenian Sea whose smell is occasionally carried by the wind.
Here, among the scrub, the fields of aromatic herbs and the olive groves, but without the sound of the surf, the bouquet of essential oils was born that tells the story of the third born among the brothers Juniper, The Ginepraio Organic Mediterranean Gin.
More than a postcard or snapshot, a current of fragrances that saturates the room with memories.
And yes, as the Lady of the Drops, alias Benedetta Tecchio says, you smell things before tasting them, connecting their olfactory imprint directly to the neurons.
One can have many ideas of the Mediterranean, but it is a wrong procedure that tends towards abstraction.
Starting from an idea is not the same thing as starting from a memory.
At least this is what Benedetta does: first of all you smell things and then… in order to create a chain of memories that hold your hand.
They will be more honest and lasting than any preconceived or pimped ideas.
Even more real, because the choice to use organic essential oils makes a huge difference with the synthetic molecules, used in perfumery, in the kitchen, in the bar, in the distillery, «Smelling a synthetic perfume – as Doctor Milliletri says, born Claudio Gaiaschi, grower of medicinal herbs, engineer, photographer, Benedetta's life and work partner – it gives you a headache, it's so much one-way, based on that single laboratory molecule. Quite the opposite, for natural things.
Consider that the scent of laurel is formed in nature by three hundred molecules».
Together, the Lady of the drops and Doctor Millilitri have created the Podere Santa Bianca brand which cultivates, distills and assembles essential oils.
A lot of culture, a lot of nose
Before getting to the point and explaining what the Mediterranean of Ginepraio Organic Mediterranean Gin tastes like, we must also take into account the role of neurons, the culture with which the person was formed and the experiences made.
Having a strong sense of smell is a destiny, enhancing it with an apprenticeship.
In the choices for the new Ginepraio, as for other liqueurs and perfumes, both island trips on a Vespa come into play, reading (in particular the writing of Simonetta Agnello Hornby, Sicilian), studies on 19th century Italian art, long walks with the dogs, and the encounters of a lifetime.
Two above all, those with Angelo Naj Oleari and the barman Agostino Perrone of the Connaught Bar in London, without forgetting the souvenir of the father who bought Floris perfumes, and then
as in a ritual he mixed them according to the inspiration of the day.
Therefore, it won't be just a floral description, but a more complex map where the fundamental ingredient is silence that goes hand in hand with concentration.
To make a Mediterranean gin, you have to evoke the Mediterranean.
It takes imagination.
Step by step
«When I have to look for a blend of essential oils – says Benedetta – I leave with the dogs and, step by step, I begin to think in drops: two of this, three of that, no, actually, better four, removing one of the other. It seems a bit approximate and it is instead the opposite. The number of drops and the relationship between the essential oils always gives a complete picture, a precise profile.
The result must literally open your breath, create an all-round, circle, completeness sensation.
«If I think of the Mediterranean I see a place in the world that tastes of the sun, that has that very flavor, of scrub, of the beach, of open windows, of the breeze, of vegetable gardens. More: I cannot dissociate the image of the Mediterranean from Mediterranean women. Those types, recurring in the paintings of the Abruzzo painter and photographer Francesco Paolo Michetti.
«I translated this inclusive sensation into eight proposals for essential oils, eight olfactory maps which Claudio then transformed into millilitres, taking into account that each oil has a specific density. Calibration in milliliters is one of his tasks together with work in the fields and in the laboratory».
«Tasting with clients – continues the Lady of the drops –Enzo Brini and Fabio Mascaretti had a sudden turning point, when Enzo, thinking back to the vertical done, asked us if they could combine the second proposal with the third. What we did."
And these are two of the possible Mediterranean souls that have captured the attention. A series includes oregano, juniper, bitter orange, mastic, petitgrain citronnier, obtained from the leaves, twigs and unripe fruit of the bitter orange. The other series brings together juniper, marjoram, green mandarin, wild carrot.
Thinking back to these essences, Benedetta focused above all on the mastic «which is a sort of fingerprint of the Mediterranean»; on the marjoram «so green, persistent, light»; on petit grain citronnier «that makes one think of the heat on the skin»; on the wild carrot «terragna, whose rooting gives a quiet full of energy».
Gradually, deepening, we find that by analogy the oregano “ubiquitous in my kitchen is Sophia Loren”; the bitter orange «it makes me go home, to the Maremma»; marjoram "worth a smile"; the juniper «to dishes of substance such as rabbit and beef» while at the green mandarin, chapeau! And «a master who puts order in the classroom and who to be tart and sweet is of ineffable elegance».
If you test it by sprinkling a little Ginepraio Organic Mediterranean Gin on paper, as is done for perfumes,
you will find the selected essential aromas intact and united.