A new South African gin is sure to make a big stink.
The gin’s creators, scientists Les and Paula Ansley, came up with the idea after a wildlife ranger explained elephants’ digestion process during a safari.
Elephants eat a variety of fruits and flowers, yet only digest less than a third of it. “As a consequence, in the elephant dung, you get the most amazing variety of these botanicals,” Les told AP News. A few weeks after the safari, Paula came up with an idea: “Why don’t we let the elephants do the hard work of collecting all these botanicals and we will make gin from it?” she told Les.
Today, the couple sources the droppings themselves. After five bags of excrement are collected— enough to make 3,000 to 4,000 bottles— the dung is dried, crumbled, and washed. What remains, a medley of fruits, leaves, and bark eaten by the elephant, is then sterilized, dried, placed in an airing cupboard, and eventually infused in the gin.
The couple describes the gin as “lovely, wooded, almost spicy, [and] earthy,” but says that most people are initially turned off by the product. Once they understand how the elephants’ digestion works, however, most people become quite curious to try it, they say.
Each bottle is marked with the date and coordinates of where the dung was collected and retail for about $32. You can find Indlovu sold online, in game lodges, and duty-free shops.