Old Duff Genever launches — but you’ll need to smuggle it in

Spirits educator Philip Duff with his two genever bottlings. Photo: Greg Buda

It’s not often that you see a new genever launch onto the market, but that’s just what bar and spirits educator Philip Duff has done with the release of Old Duff Genever.

You may know Mr Duff from such Australian Bartender writings as this one and this one, from previous appearances at Sydney BarShow, and through his role as director of education for Tales of the Cocktail. He’s making two bottlings which at the moment are available in the USA only: a limited edition Old Duff Genever Single Malt and the regular release, Old Duff Genever. We caught up with Duff in Berlin to taste the liquid and to learn more — read what he told us below.

“The limited edition is super rare,” Duff says, “it’s a 100 percent malt wine genever, with the seal of Schiedam, which is given to genever that is made in Schiedam, in the 1902 way — pot still, legit, there’s only three in the world that carry it. It’s two-thirds rye, one-third barley, five day fermentation, all the grains go into the pot still, three times through the still, and then that liquid is used to redistill juniper, hops, and that’s it. It’s 45 percent alcohol. This is what genever was a hundred years ago — it’s what Jerry Thomas used, this is your original Collins, your Martinez, your Improved Holland Gin Cocktail.

“The Old Duff Genever, the regular release, is 100 percent malt wine cut down to 53 percent malt wine, the rest is a column-distilled wheat distillate, neutral basically. It’s juniper, orange, lemon, coriander, liquorice and star anise. But the process is the same, the malt wine is the same, five day fermentation, all the grains in the still, three times through the pot still. It’s 40 percent, the best cocktail genever in the world, at least for proper classic cocktails.”

For now, however, you’ll need to convince someone to act as a mule for you and bring some back from the USA, as Duff has focused on launching the spirit in New York for now. If you want to taste it, though, we do know that Sydney gin bar (and winner of Gin Bar of the Year two years running) The Barber Shop has a bottle. Duff says that London will be the next city in which they launch the brand, with Sydney a possible candidate after that.

Here’s hoping. For now, you can find out more on their website and here on their Facebook page.

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