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Union XV debuts rugby-inspired gin

Scottish spirits brand Union XV has unveiled its inaugural gin, which utilises ingredients sourced from every continent around the world.

Union XV gin
Union XV gin is made using 15 global botanicals

Inspired by cultures from across the globe, Union XV Gin was conceived in Scotland in 2018 by founder John MacSporran, who wanted to combine his ‘two great passions’, gin and rugby union.

“We wanted to create a gin that was different,” MacSporran said. “One that was inspired by iconic botanicals from many of the popular rugby-loving nations around the world, thus providing the opportunity to link people and place in union.

“Rugby is a sport that embodies both passion and friendship, and so we had the dream to bottle that spirit, and the concept of Union XV gin was born.

“Using our well-established contacts in the spirits industry, we collaborated with passionate artisan distillers to start the process and help us deliver our vision of a truly global gin.”

The gin was produced in partnership with Pleasant Land Distillers using a selection of 15 botanicals sourced from around the world, including the emblematic national flowers of England, Ireland, Wales and Australia (rose, shamrock, oak, and wattle seed respectively), as well as lemon from Italy, lime from Argentina, French lavender, and African ginger.

The juniper was sourced from Scotland, while the cardamom came from India, and the cherry blossom from Japan.

Guava from Mexico, papaya from Brazil, and Manuka honey from New Zealand have also been used, alongside red hibiscus from China.

The result is a gin that offers aromas of juniper and lavender with citrus oil and spices, complemented by floral notes with a hint of spice on the palate.

MacSporran explained that the Covid-19 pandemic influenced the messaging and ethos of the Union XV brand, as he and his team “realised how important the concept of ‘union’ was for everyone”.

“Losing that physical connection with others resulted in isolation and loneliness for many people, and served to highlight that humans are social beings who thrive on personal contact,” he said.

“With these wider connotations it broadened Union XV’s ethos into a gin that embodies ‘the spirit of togetherness’, not just in its name, but in its unique blend of iconic botanicals from every continent, north, south, east and west, to produce a gin of exceptional complexity.”

The brand has created a selection of recommended serves for the gin, including the Fly-Half – a ‘moreish nod to a Tom Collins’ comprising two parts Union XV Gin, one part passion fruit liqueur, one part lemon juice and half part vanilla syrup, all mixed and poured over ice into a Collins glass and topped with lemonade before garnishing with half a passion fruit and mint leaves.

The 45% ABV Union XV Gin will launch to coincide with the start of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in September, with an estimated retail price of £37.50 (US$48).

It will be available to purchase via the Union XV website, which will go live on 1 September.

In other rugby news, Samuel Gulliver was named the official whisky of English Rugby in 2021.

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