Reading the invite in my mailbox my imagination was immediately triggered.  This time around we were not invited to Phantom at the Opera, but to a Phantom ginning night in the mystical Knysna forest.

It was time to broaden our horizons and travel to Knysna for the experience.  And what an experience it was!    The setting at The Cabin at Simola was exquisite with a view over the estuary to the one side and the haunting beauty of the Knysna forest on the other side, while sipping on some handcrafted gin. Life cannot get any better!

The story of how the husband and wife team of Karel and Chantal started off in Worcester distilling gin in their living room to where they arrived at the name of Phantom for their gin is truly an inspiring story interlocked with all the mysteries the Knysna forest has to offer.  This includes the effort they had put in to create a gin that reflects the dark waters at Jubilee Creek to the elusive Phantom moth, that you will only find when you know where to look for it. This is also the in the logo on the bottles. 

The whole process from start to finish was explained in layman’s terms from how and where they acquire the juniper (worth mentioning that only the best is imported from Italy) and other local botanicals, the distilling process, the colouring of the gin to the pairing of lime, ginger and rosemary. 

To compliment this experience the speaker of the night was none other than the interesting personality of Gareth Patterson, currently residing in the town of Knysna, and an avid wildlife protector and activist.   He reflected on his life and work, starting with his story in Kenya when working closely with George and Joy Adamson.  He also enlightened the audience about his odyssey to uncover some myths and (un)truths about the Knysna forest elephants after the recent Carte Blanche episode on the same subject.  If you listened carefully, and know the forest, he secretly gave away some hints where the elephants roam in the forest.   Gareth is such a down to earth person with an outstanding passion for especially lion and elephant in his heart.   To hear about his passion and personal views on the elephants watch 

It was indeed an interesting experience and it is an enriching experiencing to attend their next gin tasting presentation.  Have a look at their website  They are also busy on Instagram and Facebook.  So, head over there and press the like button to receive the freshest news from the gin bottle!

The elusive Knysna elephants, the tannin coloured waters and the rarely seen Phantom moth truly captures the spirit of Knysna!

The expert says:

Gin: You will have less of a hangover the next day if you drink good quality gin

Elephants:  Do not go and search for the elephants, they will come and find you if they want to


The elephant never gets tired of carrying its tuskk — African Proverb

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