What’s better than one dog? Six Dogs

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SIX DOGS Distillery is a South African craft distillery dreamed into being by distiller Charles Bryant, his brother Glenn (the marketing bloke), and their friend Luigi Marucchi, in 2016. It is located in a completely idyllic nook of the Hex River Valley, called De Wet, right on the cusp of the winelands and the Karoo.

It is here they passionately crafted a range of award-winning gins, including Six Dogs Karoo Gin, the first to include botanicals from the Karoo; Six Dogs Blue Gin, the first of its kind in Africa; and Six Dogs Honey Lime Gin, which also flouted convention by including honey, which was a major game-changer in itself.

And so Six Dogs became known for creating genuinely outstanding, world-class products that always bring something truly unique to the party.

Pinotage is one helluva grape. Much like the mighty Springboks, it was proudly home-grown in sunny South Africa, where a clever old botanist spliced the pretty-but-diva-like Pinot Noir with the more rugged Hermitage to give it some grit. Naturally, Six Dogs wanted to use it in a gin. But they weren’t allowed to. This very fact brought out the rebel without a cause in their distiller, who then obviously had to.

So he got crafty. Since he could not crush the Pinotage berries in the gin, or infuse it during the distillation process, it was decided to add hand-selected grapes to the gin once distillation was done so it could slowly, over a matter of months, impart its awesomeness into the gin.

Like the wine variant, Six Dogs Pinotage Stained Gin is deep in colour and bold in flavour with notes of black cherry, plum, black currant, and some tasty tannin. While each year’s grapes bring unique (albeit subtle) variants in taste, the juniper-forward flavour is consistent.

This singular spirit really pushes the boundaries between liquor categories and is often likened to grappa, Cognac, or smoky whisky. Plus, like a good red wine, its flavours develop in the glass, with each sip getting more complex and intriguing.

Keen to try it? You should be! It’s a revelation.

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