Advertisement feature: Free sample provided by Crafty Connoisseur for this review. Opinion entirely that of From the Gin Shelf.

FAST FACTS

country

Australia

Tonic

Classic

Garnish

Strawberries and rosemary

ABV

43%

When Margot Robbie posted that snap in late 2016, Ink Gin really took off. To date the post has had over 1.2million likes on Instagram, and helped launch Ink into the mainstream. The question on everyone’s lips: what was that beautiful purple gin she was drinking?

I’ve been keen to get my hands on Ink Gin for some time, and delighted to now be able to review. Let’s find out if there’s substance to add to its looks!

Built around a flower

Made in New South Wales, Australia, Ink Gin takes inspiration from around the world to create a gin to really impress your friends.

“Ink Gin is the result of four years of foraging for botanicals, experimenting, taste-testing, branding and package design. We basically built the recipe and the bottle design around the flower.”

Husk Distillers’ Paul Messenger started out in 2012 on a journey to create a truly unique gin. Three years in the making, Ink Gin was finally launched in 2015 – and it flew off the shelves. Batch 001 sold out in 3 days and the excitement reached fever pitch just over a year later with Margot Robbie posting a snap of her enjoying an Ink G&T.

The appeal of the gin – and what had everyone talking – is its beautiful colour change when tonic is added, from a deep royal blue to a light purple. The magic ingredient? The flower of Clitoria ternatea, a plant native to South East Asia, more commonly known as butterfly pea. More on that later!

“It’s been a long road to get to this point,’ explained Messenger. “Ink Gin is the result of four years of foraging for botanicals, experimenting, taste-testing, branding and package design. We basically built the recipe and the bottle design around the flower – all from the farm shed and around the kitchen table!”

With a patent for the production method of infusing the gin with the Clitoria ternatea, Husk Distiller have created an innovative product, which has pushed the boudaries for contempory gins.

Built around a flower

Made in New South Wales, Australia, Ink Gin takes inspiration from around the world to create a gin to really impress your friends.

Husk Distillers’ Paul Messenger started out in 2012 on a journey to create a truly unique gin. Three years in the making, Ink Gin was finally launched in 2015 – and it flew off the shelves. Batch 001 sold out in 3 days and the excitement reached fever pitch just over a year later with Margot Robbie posting a snap of her enjoying an Ink G&T.

The appeal of the gin – and what had everyone talking – is its beautiful colour change when tonic is added, from a deep royal blue to a light purple. The magic ingredient? The flower of Clitoria ternatea, a plant native to South East Asia, more commonly known as butterfly pea. More on that later!

“It’s been a long road to get to this point,’ explained Messenger. “Ink Gin is the result of four years of foraging for botanicals, experimenting, taste-testing, branding and package design. We basically built the recipe and the bottle design around the flower – all from the farm shed and around the kitchen table!”

With a patent for the production method of infusing the gin with the Clitoria ternatea, Husk Distiller have created an innovative product, which has pushed the boudaries for contempory gins.

the magic of ink gin

“Colour from nature”

Botanicals

juniper berries, lemon myrtle, clitoria ternatea (butterfly pea flower), pepper berry, coriander, sweet orange, cardomom, liquorice root, angelica root, elderflower, lemon peel, cinnamon

The science of ink

Ink Gin takes inspiration from the four corners of the globe with its botanicals. Egypt, Hungary, Vietnam, Guatamala and Poland, as well as native ingredients all feature in the 12 botanicals now found in the gin (Husk Distillers started with 25 before whittling it down).

“The clitoria ternatea flower is pH sensitive, and changes colour when mixed with the acid of tonic water. It’s what gives Ink Gin the magical colour change from blue to purple!”

I mentioned earlier the flower of the Clitoria ternatea plant. This is brought in from Thailand and its this flower which Ink has built its brand around – and is responsible for the magical colour change.

It’s added post-distillation through floral infusion, giving the stunning blue seen in the bottle. It’s also pH sensitive, meaning it changes colour when mixed with an acid, i.e. tonic water.

Similar colour changing gins can be found on the market such as Empress 1908 and Sharish Blue Magic. Both also use the clitoria ternatea and while the latter was also released in 2015, Ink claim to be the first to use it.

“I think what makes us different is that we were the first,” Husk Distillers’ Harriet Messenger told me. “Some people in the industry in Australia thought we were crazy when first started… The puritans thought we were quite mad! Now there are heaps of infused gins.”

The science of ink

Ink Gin takes inspiration from the four corners of the globe with its botanicals. Egypt, Hungary, Vietnam, Guatamala and Poland, as well as native ingredients all feature in the 12 botanicals now found in the gin (Husk Distillers started with 25 before whittling it down).

I mentioned earlier the flower of the Clitoria ternatea plant. This is brought in from Thailand and its this flower which Ink has built its brand around – and is responsible for the magical colour change.

It’s added post-distillation through floral infusion, giving the stunning blue seen in the bottle. It’s also pH sensitive, meaning it changes colour when mixed with an acid, i.e. tonic water.

Similar colour changing gins can be found on the market such as Empress 1908 and Sharish Blue Magic. Both also use the clitoria ternatea and while the latter was also released in 2015, Ink claim to be the first to use it.

“I think what makes us different is that we were the first,” Husk Distillers’ Harriet Messenger told me. “Some people in the industry in Australia thought we were crazy when first started… The puritans thought we were quite mad! Now there are heaps of infused gins.”

ink gin perfect serve

  1. Add ice to a high ball glass
  2. Add 45ml of Ink Gin
  3. Mix with a classic tonic to taste (roughly 2/3 part tonic: gin)
  4. Garnish with rosemary and muddle strawberries

Tasting Notes

  • NOSE: Citrus, pine and juniper
  • PALATE:  Sweet citrus and floral notes
  • FINISH: Lingering warmth from the pepper berry, with an almost astringent bitterness

Flavour profile

Despite the entire product and brand being built around the Clitoria ternatea, I found it to be more citrus in flavour, than floral. There was definitely a hint of that on the palate, but it was the citrus that shone through, most notably lemon myrtle and sweet orange.

The trademark juniper is more subtle than in other gins, but it added a nice balance, along with the pine notes. The spicier botanicals kick in towards the finish with pepper berry, but the lingering, almost astringent bitterness was not quite to my taste.

The real wow factor is more in its colour changing appearance than the taste itself, but there’s an array of interesting flavours that add to Ink Gin’s uniqueness. It’s certainly an enjoyable gin to savour – perfect for something refreshing for those summer days.

Branding

Such is the crowded market place, flavour is almost not quite enough. The branding – from the bottle design, appearance and even the website – need to stand out too.

Husk Distillers have more than got that covered. As well as the magical colour change and appearance, the bottle itself is extremely appealing. The website is also easy on the eye and reflect Ink Gin’s premium price point.

Expect to pay around the £45 mark for this Australian import. It’s by no means cheap but a welcome addition to any collection.