Can (yet) another local craft gin stir excitement in the present day? You know, the one that tells (/sells) us the titillating story craftsmanship, ingredient, sourcing, and farmer. I, for one, find it tricky to stir much enthusiasm.
This local craft gin forced me to eat crow.
A chance visit to Lupa for a scoop of burnt butter gelato led to a surprise “oh hello” from Manu, further leading to “how on earth do you not know about Baagh?!”
Before we jump into the fineprint, here’s a 4-stage first reaction as a chilled bottle plonked on the table:
- Omg, gorgeous! The label feels like a corner of Shakuntala by Raja Ravi Verma.
- Well thank god, it’s nicely priced.
- Jeez, this tastes really good, must wet the beak a drop more.
- Blo*dy hell mate, when do you launch in Delhi?
Baagh is a product of Chhota Hazri Spirits, an Indian spirits manufacturing company by Jatin Dev Bobb, in collaboration with Mohamed Rizwan and Manu Chandra.
Unlike most gins, Baagh’s character goes beyond the juniper and has a distinctly citrus top note. It’s super smooth on the palate, balances notes of Nagpur orange and crisp lime, where the base liquid isn’t a sharp burn down the pipe. Chef Manu paints a lovely picture, “Think of Baagh as the first sip of your weekend brunch, or the early drink at a cosy bar, not a 3 am round at an unfamiliar club.”
This pleasant new gin is ideal in the holy trinity of a gin-tonic-soda, but also performs well as a sipping gin on a block of ice.
The detailing continues outside the bottle in two ways. The product label is a painting which promises to be a conversation starter. The garden label is painted by Vikas Soni, also known for his murals at Instagram-breaking Bar Palladio. Props to Propaganda, a creative company by Mohamed for the chic brand identity and design language.
The brand’s tagline on the website – No Planet, No Party – links the product to the purpose of preserving the natural world. They’ve pledged a part of profits towards agrobiodiversity and re-wilding initiatives in Assam, in partnership with The Balipara Foundation. A gin committed to do good other than serving stellar stuff to gin lovers? Yep, sign me up.
Baagh (₹1950) is available in Mumbai and Pune, and will be available in Gurgaon and other Indian cities soon.