Part 2: Jorgensen Distillery
The next visit I woke early to meet up with the masterful blending and passionate brand-building operation of Jorgensen Distillery.
Based in Wellington in a stunning old house built in 1812, with the refurbished antique pot still, hand-press and myriad of other artisanal tools are set up as the ‘dexter’ laboratory in the shed outside. The dried herbs hang from the ceiling of the workshop and permeates the air with an intoxicating smell, while the multitude of spices stand ready and labelled to be pinched and scooped up for blending. In a nutshell, these raw aromas draw you in with an ethereal enchantment.
The bottling too is done with a dedicated finish; endowing each a wax seal that adds to the boutique handcrafted splendour of the eau de vie inside the bottle … awaiting to impart its spellbinding ‘je ne sais quoi’.
Their Absinthe of the famed ‘Green Hour’ in the Belle Époque era is certainly a favourite, made according to true authentic recipes; it takes immense labour to make this artistic tipple that inspires creativity and mythical romps. Buckets of dried herbs have to be hand sorted, each with its own function, whether to add the correct colour or to ensure the wormwood (which incidentally is the key ‘magical’ ingredient) is blended to exact proportions.
Still, the Absinthe makes only a smattering of this stable’s production, currently about 500 bottles, which will be doubled soon. Yet as demand continues to outstrip supply by many multiples, the pace of production is entirely regulated by the labour of time, and more importantly, the availability of authentic herbs and other raw ingredients grown on the farm or sourced and handpicked throughout Africa.
JD (or Jorgensen Distillery to be more formal about it) is blessed by having tapped a niche in the market. I for one was taken aback by how humble the immensely affable husband-wife duo of Roger and Dawn are. From outsiders perspective, the Jorgensen’s can be so very proud of the genuine talent and passion instilled in each drop they bottle.
This is without a hint of doubt, a unique South African artisanal distiller that produces tremendously small quantities of gobsmackingly exceptional ‘aqua vitae’!
“Roger talking us through a tasting spread”
“The JD Savingnac, Gin and Vodka”
For a journey of the sense, the Jorgensen’s Gin, Primitiv Vodka, Savingnac Potstill brandy, Field of Dreams Absinthe, and the four different citrus type of Naken Lemon Limoncello macerated by hand from natural lemons all in their own right offer a sensory and stunning symphony of aromas and flavours.
“JD Naked Limoncello”
My personal palate is drawn to the congnac-like elegance and refinement of the 1997 Sauvignac. It is Audrey Hepburn-meets-Emily Blunt in true Beauty, from the visual aspect to its lingering appreciation … or, Humphrey Bogart-meets-Robert Downing Jr, depending on how you hold your glass.
The Savingnac is masterfully balanced, fragrant and sexy with a smooth naartjie-rounded mid palate, no volatility at all, just elegant grace that rolls sweetly off the tongue with endless adjectives of flavour. In short, classy with regal allure!
“Gin being waxed sealed by hand”
The Gin is also a classic bar-none. It again meets a sexy balance between the blowsy heady scents of say Hendricks and the grapefruity juniper purity of the likes of Tanqueray #10. The Jorgensen Gin adds its one nuance and exceptional character. The warmth of the angelica root and African ginger shows itself in the earthy spice on the nose, while a multiplex of layers multiply in the palate, at first citrus and cape lemon animates the taste buds with an attractive piquantness, which then unfolds and lingers into a grains of paradise peppery finish.
Keep an eye out here at Luxlife, a lot more will be written and said about all of the Jorgensen Distillery treasures….
Read Part 1 HERE
Read Part 3 HERE