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Hendrick’s distiller heads on botanicals expedition

A Hendrick’s Gin master distiller is set to venture into the Venezuelan jungle at the end of this week in search of rare botanicals to create a new gin, writes Amy Hopkins.

Hendrick's master distiller Lesley Gracie
Hendrick’s master distiller Lesley Gracie

Lesley Gracie will make the two-week expedition into the Guayana Highlands to discover unusual flowers, roots, fruits and seeds for some new flavours for distilling and imbibing.

Accompanied by seasoned explorer Charles Brewer-Carias and renowned botanist Francisco Delascio, Lesley will use a ten-litre alembic still to test new-found botanicals in the heart of the rainforest.

Gracie said: “We will be looking for botanicals with the most intriguing flavours. Plants that struggle in tough environments can often provide the most interesting flavours.

“As we always like to do things differently, finding some extraordinarily flavoursome plants in this tropical region is my aim and this will be a real challenge with 99% humidity and vampire bats to contend with.”

Brewer-Carias, who has discovered the world’s largest quartzite cave, numerous plants, reptiles and insects, said: “Francisco and I, like Lesley, have a passion for seeking out the unusual and the Venezuelan ecosystem offers extraordinary flora and fauna.”

The findings from the expedition will be recorded in a scientific paper.

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