The world probably doesn’t need another gin. The Amazon, though, is in urgent need of our attention. It seems ridiculous to laud the launch of another brand when consumption and convenience are to blame for environmental catastrophes on the scale of the fires currently engulfing the world’s biggest rainforest. It’s something Simone Caporale was well aware of when conceptualising Canaïma – a new small-batch gin with the majority of its botanicals sustainably sourced from the Amazon basin and from which 10% of global sales are donated to two Amazon conservation foundations. The facets that make up Canaïma – its ethos, ingredients, and branding materials – wouldn’t exist without partnerships with Tierra Viva Foundation and Saving the Amazon. The latter works to plant, photograph and geo-reference trees, creating a virtual forest and putting it back into the hands of indigenous communities, and the former has helped Canaïma to commission hundreds of traditional woven baskets and coasters, each handcrafted by indigenous women. Its ingredients are as carefully, consciously sourced as its branding materials. Canaïma National Park blankets three million hectares of south-east Venezuela, and became the focal point for the master distillers’ search for the “perfect balance” of unique botanicals. To find them, they worked with a handful of communities in the Amazon basin, whose members selected 10 native herbs and fruits including Merey (cashew), Seje, Acai berry, and native fruits like Copoazú, Uva de Palma, and Túpiro.
These Amazonian botanicals join traditional gin ingredients including grapefruit, orange, passionfruit and juniper, and are then individually treated, macerated and distilled in small batches of 500 litres by the team behind Diplomatico Rum in Venezuela. The entire process happens in DUSA’s distillery, at the foot of the Andes mountains at La Miel. Intense, fruity aromas meet lush, damp greenery and hints of black pepper in the finished product.