ver time, Bourbon vanilla has become a staple in perfumes, baking, and haute cuisine, securing its place as one of the most valuable spices on the planet and becoming a go-to for chefs, baristas, and other fragrance fanatics. What started off as a bean developed into one of the most beloved flavours in the world. Here at Sir Edmond Gin, we are also obsessed with vanilla, so much so that we have integrated it into our original gin recipe. Ever wonder where Sir Edmond Gin gets its magical golden glow? It comes from our key ingredient: Bourbon vanilla.
The story of Bourbon vanilla is anything but plain: grown solely on the islands of Madagascar and Réunion (formerly known as Bourbon Island after the French royal House of Bourbon), it is known to be the highest quality vanilla in the world. Vanilla is a product of the vanilla orchid, but how does this strange and complicated flower become the flavour we know and love? The journey from seed to bean is a long, labour-intensive process that can take up to four years to complete. It all starts on the islands of Madagascar and Réunion, between the palm trees, where the vanilla plant grows. After about three years, the vanilla orchid begins to bloom.
The next crucial step is fertilization. In order for the orchid to produce pods, each flower needs to be pollinated by hand, a fine and delicate process done with the help of a small wooden stick, helping the male and female parts of the plant touch in order to generate a bean. It takes about six hundred pollinated blossoms to generate one kilogram of beans! No wonder vanilla is the second most costly spice in the world (after saffron).
After nine to twelve months, the vanilla beans turn yellow, meaning they are ready for harvesting, then they are laid out to dry for about a month, where they reach their signature dark brown colour. They are then stored in a special box to rest for another three months, where they develop their sweet, rich flavour, after which they are sent around the world, ready to be used in everything from fragrances to oils, to candles, candies, and… gin! In fact, Sir Edmond Gin is the world’s first Bourbon vanilla infused gin. Sit back, pour yourself a glass and bask in the golden glory of vanilla.