Cruxland is a small batch South African gin made from pure grape spirit.
Price: ~ £27
The main selling point of this gin is the rare and exotic Kalahari truffles used in its production. On a trip to the desert, KWC’s Brandy Master stumbled upon the little treasure and decided to try it in a gin. Along with other SA ‘bush botanicals’ Cruxland gin was developed.
The bottle is a squat, brown glass affair, more akin to rum than gin. Around the neck is a leather cuff with a strap that fastens over the cap, which sadly is only a screwtop. It helps the bottle stand out though.
The label is printed on lovely textured paper, with an illustration of the botanicals to the left of the gin name, and a little box of info about the production, ABV etc. The back label gives a little story about the truffles.
Overall it’s a nice bottle that, with its colouring, stands out well.
On the nose, Cruxland is a sweet herbal butterscotch with a hint of aniseed at the back. It’s a really lovely aroma, if you have a sweet tooth like me, but there are hints of pine from the juniper and citrus from the lemon too. Still, this is definitely a sweet, herbal, and lightly spiced affair. Yum.
Neat, the gin bursts with flavour. Cardamom comes rushing forth, along with coriander, but both are sweeter than usual and carry hints of tea from the honeybush and rooibos. The lemon and anised hang back but still makes their presence known, cutting through some of those sweeter, more pungent tones. There is a lot going on, and I like it a lot!
A dash of water really brings out the tea and suddenly the taste evolves to a more citrus forward but still herbal blend. It’s very different, with the aniseed coming through nicely, right at the back. The cardamom is still there in a big way, but it’s much more like a carrier for everything else. It can sometimes feel like there’s a little bit of a battle going on, but it’s almost enjoyable having these flavours vie for your attention.
Finally, I served it up in a G&T (3:1 Schweppes 1783) garnished with a lemon wheel and pink peppercorns. It’s delicious. The added fresh lemon works well and the teas really come through nicely. The cardamom is given a sweet, fresh kick along with the coriander so a lot of the pungency is lightened but overall, there’s still so much flavour! This is a great G&T.
I think Cruxland is a great gin if you’re wanting something rammed with lots of strong flavours. There is nothing subtle about this drink, and while the cardamom can be a touch overbearing at times, it’s got a great taste to it. I can see fans of a classic juniper gin finding this a little ‘robust’ shall we say, but for me it’s a winner, especially for the price.
Remove 1 feather if you’re a classic gin fan, or don’t like cardamom
Cruxland is available online and in supermarkets
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.