I used to be an adolescent/young adult with absolutely no concept nor care for the nuances in alcoholic drinks. When you first discover alcohol I think it’s somewhat a right of passage to select the most sickly sweet and distasteful cheap garbage, because the outcome was the tipsiness you were chasing, and not so much the taste you were savouring. With that being said, I have matured in many aspects (ahem – still have more than a couple of areas that need work), but at least now my palette is a bit more refined, as are my choices when it comes to drink.
Gin and tonics are one of these present favourites, nothing beats a well blended GnT on a balmy day in the South African sun. Up until now I haven’t been too experimental with gin concoctions, and often meddled with the superficial flavours by adding lemon, rosemary or other flavour sources on top of the contents, instead of taking it back to what really counts, which is the gin itself.
This is where Lieben Gins come in. The attention to detail and the design of the bottles is what initially captivated me and drew my eye. I think it’s fair to say that at first glance the range is undoubtedly a stunning addition to a bar trolley, with its gold leaf accents and subtle pastel hue. I selected from the shelf the ‘Sailor Fynbos’ bottle and when I got home and cracked into it, I was quite honestly stunned. I felt as if I’d never tasted gin before and this was a whole new experience. The complexity and undercurrents in this gin immediately popped to the surface, and the 21 faint botanical flavours didn’t overpower the drink at all. I’ve purchased flavoured gin before and had been overwhelmed with the floral notes, so I was in awe that this gin was so artfully balanced. After initially just pairing it with tonic, I have tried a couple of flavour combinations and so far a bit of citrus (lime/lemon), basil leaves and pomegranates are a top favourite! I immediately felt inclined to find out more about the range and where this brands story began, and was delighted by what I found out.
Lieben is both a wine and gin brand, a family owned and run enterprise operating out of Walker , Western Cape. Alwyn Liebenberg is the winemaker and distiller behind Lieben Wines and Gins and has worked in Portugal, South Africa & China where he has honed his craft. He sources grapes from carefully selected terroir specific vineyards in the Hemel and Aarde Valley, Bot River, Elgin and Franschhoek. Getting different cultivars from different terroirs where they grow at their best enables him to put together a wine portfolio that is not limited to a specific area, but rather terroir specific giving the range a diversity like none other. Alwyn makes his wines and gins with old style methods of minimal interference and a soft hand. I am fascinated to try their wine range now, and will dedicate an entire separate blog post to the sampling and more detail on that.
His wife Beulah is the force behind the Lieben brand, marketing and design and as a jeweller by trade with a love for fragrance, spice and all things nice she was the inspiration for the range of premium gins for the Lieben label. Her obsession with collections and rhymes led to the Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor range, named after a British picking rhyme from the 15th century. The limited-edition Spy gin was added in reference to the world-famous John le Carre novel and film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I really got the warm fuzzies after reading about their history and journey together as partners and their passion for creating a quality brand like none other. Please see the pricing and other details below as to where the gins are stocked, and what you can expect from the various gin options.
- Lieben Tinker Classic Dry – Ripe juniper driven aroma with delicate lemon peel and sweet orange top notes. A fine floral scented mid palate with a lingering fresh herbaceous warm woody spice finish. Distilled with 16 unique botanicals.
- Lieben Tailor Cape Fynbos – Fresh Cape Mountain Fynbos and juniper driven aroma with honey, melon and tropical aromas. Fresh herbaceous mountain fynbos flavour on the palate with underlying floral and grassy notes. Warm woody spice finish with a complex pleasant bitterness on the finish. Distilled with 21 unique botanicals.
- Lieben Soldier Rose Pelargonium – Intense juniper and aromatic rose petal aroma supported by a sweet citrus blossom and warm woody spice notes. Turkish delight sweetness with a hint of fresh spearmint on the palate. Lingering aromatic rose and light black pepper finish. Distilled in the Overberg with 20 unique botanicals.
- Lieben Sailor Lemon & Lime – Juniper and intense lemon drop candy driven aroma with solid sweet orange and lemon backbone. Fresh lemongrass and a green herbaceousness on the palate with an elegant integrated slightly minty sweet citrus and black pepper lingering finish. Distilled in the Overberg with 18 unique botanicals.
- Lieben Spy Limited Edition – Warm spice and juniper driven aroma with peppery cinnamon, dried clove flower buds and delicate lemon peel top notes. A fine cardamom, black peppercorn & orange peel scented mid palate with a lingering structured warm woody finish. The spice black gin turns a magical indigo blue when mixed with tonic. Distilled in the Overberg with 30 unique botanicals.
Places in Cape Town where Lieben Gin is stocked (I picked mine up for just under R400):
- Claremont Liquor City
- Milnerton Liquor City
- Somerset Liquor City + Express
- Norman Goodfellows
- Village Square Tops
- Melkbos Tops
- Sunset Beach Liquor Store
- Houtbay Tops
- Bar Keeper
- Bottelary Hills Liquor Store
- Simons Town Liquor
- Botanical Bar
- The Gin Bar
- Rootstock bar (whole range)
- Sansibar at Asara Hotel
They are also found at all Liquor Cities in Pretoria and Joburg, Gauteng and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Sending love always! Caits x