Since Tanglin Gin launched in 2018, Singapore’s first craft gin distillery has put its mark on the world map. Founded by four mates, Australians Tim Whitefield and Chris Box, along with Andy Hodgson and Charlie van Eeden, the gin brand has been on a winning streak, trailblazing its way to win coveted international awards.
After Tanglin Black Powder Gin has won the Best Navy Strength Gin at San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) in 2021 and was selected as the Best Spirit in Asia, taking out the Taste Master in 2021 by the Spirit Business Awards, the navy strength gin took out its third Double Gold in a row in SFWSC 2022 to secure a very rare Platinum Award, the first for any Asian spirit.
“Winning Platinum at SFWSC is for us a testament of our passion to create premium gins that can compete with the best brands available,” says Tim Whitefield, co-founder and distiller. “The odds are against you to get Gold from every judge over a three year period. It’s our focus on flavour and quality that helped us achieve this amazing result. Consistency is key.”
The other gin expressions have also garnered international awards. Tanglin Orchid Gin which originated in 2018 has won Gold this year and Tanglin Singapore Gin which launched in 2019 (previously named Tanglin Mandarin Chilli Gin) picked up its first Double Gold at SFWSC in 2022.
Tanglin Distillery: The Gin Jungle
From a 13-storey concrete food factory that housed Tanglin’s first distillery, a new site at Dempsey Hill adjacent to the Botanic Gardens is now home to Tanglin Gin. Originally a jungle with tigers, the area became a spice plantation then a British Army Camp. Two heritage buildings have been converted, one is home to the Creations Lab, or the production area and the other is the gin experience centre, The Tanglin Gin Jungle.
A 7-metre long gin bar offers an experience where visitors can enjoy cocktails that celebrate the flavours of Singapore such as the Tom Yum and Jungle Juice. “We wanted to create a space that allows Singaporeans and visitors to learn about gin and chill. We have added a food experience that combines Asian foods with our gin and our botanicals,” says Tim.
By the end of 2022, the Gin Botanical Garden will be established enabling visitors to experience the origin of some of the botanicals. Along with the kitchen garden, it will provide fresh ingredients for use in cocktails and in the kitchen.
With a focus on sustainability and reducing waste, the team actively turned their creativity into upcycling the by-products of gin distillation such as spent botanicals and leftover ethanol (the tails).
In 2021, Cacao Gin Liqueur, Tanglin’s first sustainable upcycled product was launched. The tails were redistilled to create a new base spirit without bitter notes while retaining the botanical essence of the gin. Cacao husks from Lemuel Chocolate were infused in the base spirit for a few weeks resulting in a liquid that combines gin botanicals with chocolate flavours. Similarly, Singapore Moonshine, Asian Apple Pie Liqueur uses upcycled tails as the base to create a flavoured liquid with undertones of gin and added sweetness from apple and spice. Both products will be available to try and buy at Australian Gin events such as this Junipalooza later in 2022.
Tanglin Brand Expansion
The growing interest in authentic Asian spirits with an original botanical story coupled with the love of Asian Fusion food and drink was a perfect opportunity for the brand’s expansion into the US.
“The US is a complex market for export,” says Tim. “We took a leap of faith and went with a new importer, Carlos at Archipelago Traders who was so passionate about our gins and being the first gin on his list, we decided to give it a go.”
Two distributors are located on the East Coast. “We picked up Texas first, with Favorite Brands and have just secured Massanois for New York / New Jersey. “Breaking into the US market is huge for a small distillery like ours and the growth of premium spirits especially Asian gins”, adds Tim. “Being Asian-made rather than the growing trend of Asian-inspired drinks is resonating with the type of customers that love our premium liquid.”
With an upcoming expansion into Japan, the brand is aiming to catch the attention of Australian Distributors. “It’s a crowded market for sure, but we have established a national listing with First Choice Liquor and Dan Murphy’s are testing us.”
Tanglin Gin is available nationally in Coles, First Choice Liquor and Dan Murphy’s gin specialty stores across Australia.
In partnership with Tanglin Gin.
Click on the following pages to view images of the Gin Jungle Distillery.