A THRILLING EXPLORATION OF PLANTS ALONG THE SALT ROAD.
THE SALT ROAD
We have been distillers since 1898, but we have remained curious and willing to improve and experiment, always looking for the best quality.
"Macaja" is a very particular weather condition that occurs in the Gulf of Genoa when the warm and humid Sirocco wind blows, with an overcast sky and high humidity.
A warm wind that we Piedmontese call "marin", which periodically blows from Liguria over the mountains and, even in winter, gently sweeps the vine-planted hills surrounding Canelli...reminding us that the sea isn't so far away.
This is where "Macaja" originates, from where it takes its name. Our artisanal gin was created to bottle biodiversity and prevent many plant species in Piedmont and Liguria from disappearing in the two regions connected by millennia of history and commercial exchanges along the "Salt Roads". The Salt Roads were fundamental trade roads along which people travelled, transporting goods, mainly salt. This area, which stretched as far as the plain, is not only a place of transit and trade, but also a territory rich in lush nature, that showcases its identity through the excellence of the ingredients it has to offer.
Full and citrusy. The bouquet gradually releases the aromas of the 36 botanical components. Chinotto, arbutus, and lavender delicately join the fresh notes of cardamom, juniper and sage.
MACAJA CASK GIN
180 days of aging in small barriques exalts its complexity. Spiced and balsamic notes dominate the nose. To the palate it is decisive and harmonious, with a slightly sweet finish.
Legend has it that this fruit fascinated the sailors of ages gone by, who imported it from Brazil to Liguria. Typical of the areas between Savona and Imperia, it is characterized by from a thick, deep orange color, and is rich in essential oils and a persistent and pleasant scent.
THE CHINOTTO ORANGE
OF THE LIGURIAN RIVIERA
The chinotto, or myrtle-leaved orange tree, is an evergreen plant, little more than a meter and a half tall, but on its sparse branches grow an incredible wealth of fruit and flowers. During the harvest period, from September to November, it is possible to see clusters of small, bright green chinotto fruits among the leaves, which, over time, turn an orange color. The scent they give off is intense and characteristic, a sign of an exceptional shelf life, which allows them to be stored for very long periods. Chinotto oranges are grown only in the coastal territory from Varazze to Finale, but the tree is native to China. Around 1500, a navigator from Savona brought it to the Ligurian coast, where it found an ideal environment that, over time, enhanced its sensorial qualities.
The unique blend of 36 botanicals includes Ligurian lemons, that give the gin a fresh and sweet aroma. It is very important to control the distillation temperature to ensure that the original aromas are preserved.
ELDERBERRY ESSENTIAL OIL
Elderberry grows abundantly in Italy. Elderberry flowers are rich in valuable properties and, mixed with the other ingredients, characterize our gin, giving it a sweet and flowery connotation.
Strawberry tree fruit
This colorful fruit, which grows on the Italian coast, is rich in antioxidant properties and nutrients. The fleshy berries have a pleasant taste and add a sweet note to a variegated and well- structured whole, with a pleasant, sugary hint.
To delight both the palate and the nose, there is lavender with its unmistakable scent. Particularly expressive in association with other botanicals, as already known in the nineteenth century, when this flower was used for infusions in brandy or gin. In addition to giving a floral touch to the whole, it has been known for centuries for its beneficial properties.
An interesting and unusual ingredient in distillation, it imparts an oaky and spicy aroma and a typical Mediterranean taste. Thymus vulgaris, grows mainly in beachfront areas and is characterized by small, elongated leaves.
Selected, untreated botanicals, molecular extractions, fresh flowers and citrus fruits, spices and fruit, are the essential elements that make Macaja such a special gin. During maceration, a very thin outer layer of the citrus fruits’ zest, the epicarp, gives freshness to the distillate.
Citrus fruits from Liguria such as Pernambuco orange peel, lemon zest, together with juniper, lavender, eucalyptus leaves, peppermint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, chamomile and elderberry flowers are a rare combination that we expertly blend to create a unique gin with an unmistakable aroma.
The secret to our gin? Distillation, since 1898. Over 14 months of experimentation and research in the laboratory, to find the perfect combination of 36 botanicals. We chose to use a small (jealously guarded) pot still, that has been part of our distillery for decades and allows us to extract only the very best of the distillate. The fresh ingredients are placed in a special basket located at the top, where evaporation and constantly low temperatures result in elegance and sophistication. The infusion contains spices, different types of peppercorns, ginger, rosehips, blueberries, iris roots, hawthorn berries, coriander seeds, green aniseed, fennel seeds and juniper berries. A balanced gin that aims at telling a story about biodiversity, and whose production is limited and closely linked to local harvests and seasonality.
From the family records
The love, dedication and passion the Bocchino Family are the ingredients of Macaja. From a discovery in our family archive: a recipe with notes and details on different infusions with plant ingredients and citrus fruits - after extensive experiments and revisitations of the original recipe, the idea of creating MACAJA was born, A refined gin that retraces the route of the Salt Road.
True to our tradition, after distillation, part of the gin is processed to reduce its alcohol content, then aged in small 110-litre barrels for 180 days. Gin ageing provides greater complexity, personality and an emphasis on the aromas and essential oils that only oak can offer.