A new gin, created by Les and Paula Ansley, is made with botanicals sourced from elephant dung. Launched in South Africa under the brand Ibhu and founded in the spirit of innovation, “Indlovu” means elephant in several African languages.
Gin Made From Elephant Dung
Said to be designed for fans of “the spirit of Africa”, Ibhu’s Indlovu Gin uses essential ingredients sourced from elephant dung that have been washed and dried. Once processed, the botanicals extracted from the dung are infused into the gin, giving it “unique African flavours”.
The original idea for elephant dung gin came from marrying the love of Africa and its wildlife with the love of gin. We are both scientists—and therefore inclined towards novel ideas and problem solving—so when Paula had the idea we really wanted to see whether it would actually be possible. The more we explored the concept the more it opened up and the more excited we became.- Les Ansley
As part of the brand’s commitment to the environment and these beautiful animals, 15% of the profits from the sale of this gin is donated to Africa Foundation to support their Phinda wildlife conservation projects.
To create the gin, Ibhu collects fresh dung from naturally foraging elephants, which is then processed through the following five stages for production:
The collected dung is dried, crumbled and then—in accordance with a prescribed method for sterilising grey/borehole water in South Africa for human consumption—the dung is immersed in a sterilising fluid that kills 99.9% of bacteria, fungi, spores, viruses. The sterilised dung is thoroughly rinsed, dried and stored in breathable sacks until use. The processed dung is stored away from the fresh dung to prevent any cross-contamination. No sterilised dung returns to the area of preliminary dung preparation.
There are numerous studies that show that an alcohol solution between 40-70% is very effective in killing bacteria. (A fun article to read is Booze as disinfectant.) Therefore the direct infusion of the dung that occurs in one of the flavouring runs acts as an additional step in the cleansing process. During the bottling process the gin passes through a micro-filter and finally, a sample from each batch of gin is sent for laboratory analysis to ensure that it meets the stringent standards of potability.
Ibhu Indlovu Gin is said to be “smooth, complex with earthy flavours” and is suggested served over ice.
According to Ibhu, each batch of Indlovu Gin will have slight variations in flavour due to the location and season during which the dung was collected.
For its first batch of spirit, the brand collected dung from the elephants of Botlierskop Game Reserve, South Africa.
Indlovu Gin is currently available from specialist retailers in South Africa, carrying a recommended retail price of R659 (US$46) per 750ml bottle.
This is an exclusive gin for the person who loves the spirit of Africa – the freedom, the sunsets, the textures and the flavors of the African bush.
Ibhu will donate 15% of the profits from sales of Indlovu Gin to the Africa Foundation to support its work in wildlife conservation at Phinda Game Reserve.