Philip Duff shows off oldest recreational gin

yves-philip-duff-gin-1495EWG’s Yves Leboulenge & Philip Duff unveil Gin 1495

On Sunday night in Sydney town, bartenders and media were treated to a taste of a gin that reaches back through the centuries: Gin 1495.

In town for the event (and on his way around the world) was Philip Duff, spirits educator and the impetus behind Gin 1495. Duff, who is also the director of education for Tales of the Cocktail, told the story of how he discovered this recipe in a Dutch-language book on jenever. Appropriately titled Jenever, it’s sadly out of print these days.

One of the many interesting things about the recipe, is that it was originally found in a book that dates to 1495 (hence the name) that was created by someone — just whom exactly is unknown — that was very rich. The recipe for this gin calls for spices that would have been impossible or most people to get hold of thanks to their cost, Duff said, as the spice trade was yet to get underway at the time the recipe was recorded. The recipe also made mention of grape wine forming the base of the distillate, so fittingly, Duff took the recipe to EWG, the makers of a gin that’s also produced from a grape base: G’Vine Gin.

Working with a cast of booze experts — whom Duff described as a kind of Ocean’s 11 spirits crew — people like Gaz Regan, Dave Broom, and David Wondrich, they finally produced something that got as close as they believe they possibly could to the original recipe.



That was what the crowd on Sunday got to taste, the Gin 1495 Verbatim. Made with ginger, galangal, cloves (there’s definitely plenty of cloves in the mix!), sage and juniper, the resulting spirit was packed full of spice.

Also on taste was a slight tweaking of that original recipe which they named Interpretatio. It had a bit more juniper thrown at it, and was slightly more citrusy and funky.

Just one of the Gin 1495 will be available in Australia, and it will be put up for auction with the proceeds going to charity. For mroe information visit or get in touch with if you want to put in a bid!

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