Inverroche Distillery: Still Bay’s Very Own Gin Heaven

I recently had the privilege of uncovering Stilbaai’s best-kept secret: Inverroche. It is a one-of-a-kind a craft distillery that is well-known for its range of fynbos-inspired craft gins. Besides their tastings, Inverroche also offers distillery tours, gin-making lessons, concerts, and even gin-infused gelato.

Founded by Lorna Scott and her family, Inverroche has grown from a small home industry to a flourishing craft distillery – all in just 11 years! The distillery produces world-class spirits; namely gin, rum, and liqueur.

The name “Inverroche” was inspired by the elements that came together to create the conditions necessary for their craft.

Inver“, a Scottish word meaning “a confluence of water”, refers to the location: Inverroche lies at the confluence of the Goukou River and the Indian Ocean near the coastal town of Stilbaai.

Roche” is the French word for “rock” or “stone”. The biome in which Inverroche finds itself has limestone-rich soils. This limestone is essential for the growth of certain Fynbos species.

Fynbos Gins

The brand produces gins from floral biomes found only in the Cape Floral Kingdom in the Western Cape. They use over 9 000 Fynbos botanicals.

The brand has three distinct Fynbos-infused gin varieties:

  • Classic: A crisp gin predominantly made of limestone Fynbos, with a clean, spicy finish.
  • Verdant: A soft, floral gin made of flowers found in Stilbaai’s mountainous areas.
  • Amber: A rich gin with citrus, juniper, sweet toffee apple notes and a dry, woody finish.

Inverroche also experiments by producing new gins, such as their latest Coco Carissa and their limited-edition Signature gins created in collaboration with some of South Africa’s top musos.

Gin Tasting at Inverroche

My boyfriend Petrie and I visited Inverroche in December for a gin tasting date. Upon arrival, we were blown away by the beauty of the estate.

The distillery is surrounded by magnificent mountains and an abundance of Fynbos. The classic white building fits in perfectly.

The building itself has an uber-modern interior. From the shop to the gentlemen’s club-style tasting rooms, the decor and furniture give the premises a luxurious yet welcoming feel.

Tasting the best gin ever

The tasting session was lovely. The lady who guided our session did an excellent job of telling us Inverroche’s story and explaining how the gins are made.

We started off by tasting pure juniper berries, gin’s main ingredient. As it was the first time I have ever eaten them like that, it was an amazing experience for me!

Thereafter, we tasted four of Inverroche’s gins – Classic, Verdant, Amber and Coco Carissa. We tasted each variety in four steps: First we took a sip of the pure gin; then another sip with zest added; then a third sip paired with Inverroche’s freshly handcrafted chocolate (not for sale yet, unfortunately); and finally, we tasted the gin mixed with a few drops of Indian tonic.

The more feminine Gin Verdant was my favourite. It smells and tastes like summer, with hints of summer blooms, lemon, subtle spices, and licorice.

Did someone say gin-infused ice cream??

Reluctant to leave Inverroche, Petrie and I decided to have a drink in the sunny courtyard.

But then we got sidetracked when we noticed the gin-infused gelato. Each of us bought a tub of dark Belgian chocolate gin-infused gelato covered with Gin Amber. The combo of citrus and chocolate flavours was delicious!

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Gin-infused ice cream is what happiness is made of ?

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The gelato, as well as the handmade chocolates, are made by Lauren Scott, the founder of Inverroche’s daughter. Seriously, she is a foodie genius!

Summer Concert Series

Later in December, we returned to Inverroche once more to attend one of the Inverroche Summer Concerts. Throughout the holidays, Inverroche hosted an impressive range of South African artists – Prime Circle, Freshly Ground, Watershed, Jeremy Loops, Arno Carstens, and more.

My parents, sisters, Petrie and I watched Johnny Clegg’s performance. The concert started with Hotwater as the opening act, who really set the vibe with their cheerful African music. They got the audience to their feet for the last few songs, and we danced along to classic line dances and the conga line.

Bottom line, Inverroche Distillery is definitely worth a visit! Gin lovers, you won’t regret it.

Read my Traveller’s Guide to Stilbaai, the “Bay of Sleeping Beauty”, here:

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