Locally-made Orchid Gin’s uniquely Singapore recipe helped it stand out, says Tanglin Gin’s head distiller

Last year in June, Tanglin Gin—Singapore’s first gin distillery—made its mark with the launch of its first bottling, the Orchid Gin, which made headlines with a recipe that combines traditional gin botanicals found in some of the oldest recipes with new flavours, most notably unripe green mango and two types of orchid.

Just this week, it was announced that the same gin bagged the prestigious Silver Award at The 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) that took place late last month.

A Silver medal from SFWSC represents an outstanding spirit that shows refinement and finesse, as well as complexity; these winners are among the best examples in their categories. And there was a lot to judge—more than 3,000 spirits, making it the largest number of entries in the competition’s 19-year history.

It required over 40 judges, split among tables and panels for category-specific tastings of spirits, to complete the blind tastings.  

Suffice it to say, they were moved by the Orchid Gin’s unique blend, which includes traditional ingredients such as coriander seed and Angelica root but also amchoor (mango powder), vanilla bean, organic orange and the Dendrobium Nobile Lindl Orchid.

While flavour was clearly the main inspiration, it’s affirming to note that in Chinese texts from 400BC, this species of orchid was classed as “one of the nine immortality herbs”.

“The world of gin is crowded, with gin distillers constantly looking for unique botanicals to showcase their craft,” Tim Whitefield, head distiller at Tanglin Gin, tells us. He added how the spirit’s foundations “are the complex flavour profiles that make up Asian cuisines”, not to mention Singapore’s richly varied regional food history.

“At the same time, it’s also a gin that honours the history of the spirit with juniper at its centre. I think it’s this unique combination that allowed Orchid Gin to stand up and be noticed—it’s a gin that quietly demands to be noticed,” he asserts.

After launching in June 2018, the Orchid Gin also earned a Silver medal at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in November.

Tanglin has since expanded their offerings by releasing a new variant, Mandarin Chilli Gin, as well as a limited-edition Cranberry Gin that was sold exclusively at Habitat by Honestbee for Christmas.

Tatler Asia