Juno, wife of Jupiter and known as the goddess of marriage and domestic harmony. She is linked to the idea of vital force, fullness of vital energy and eternal youthfulness.
Juno is the perfect goddess to oversee the marriage of flavours that happens within the copper pot still during distillation. Ensuring that the carefully selected botanicals and the beautiful water of Mt Taranaki come to fruition as an extra fine gin of distinction.
Juno is the handiwork of husband-and-wife duo Jo and Dave James. They met at primary school in New Plymouth and four years ago, this unassuming couple, left their careers and combined their science backgrounds and passion for gin to start dreaming and experimenting to craft their ideal gin.
Juno Extra Fine Gin has juniper at its heart with coriander bringing warmth and a hint of lemon.
Other key botanicals in Extra Fine gin include orris root, kaffir lime leaves, green cardamom, Angelica root, manuka and cassia bark.
For our seasonal variants, we use what is fresh and plentiful, the fruits and leaves that have flourished through the season.
We are working with New Zealand horticulturalists to eventually grow and harvest all our botanical ingredients sustainably, establishing new crops for future growth.
Our Distillery: During the still design phase, we worked with our Taranaki engineering team, Rivet, to create a copper still that minimised waste production and where waste generation was unavoidable, included handling systems to allow recycling of by-products into other industries (our liquid by-products have been used to make beer and solids to make chocolate truffles).
We have a built-in system to harvest and store rainwater for the cooling condenser and we’ve incorporated design aspects to prevent (and recover) any heat loss during the distillation.
Botanicals: We source many of our botanicals locally and, for those only available overseas, we are working with local horticulturists and research bodies in order to switch from importing to growing in New Zealand instead.
The Great New Zealand Juniper Hunt: In 2018, we partnered with Massey University to seek juniperus communis plants in New Zealand so that commercial juniper crops can be established. You can read more about The Great New Zealand Juniper Hunt here.
Bottles: Our bottle labels are printed with organic inks and are recyclable.
“I love gin,” says Jo. “It’s been a favourite drink of mine since I was a teenager and I’ve always loved to cook. So, what we’re doing with Juno is like a recipe for happiness—we’re able to play with flavour and create a product that I genuinely love.”
Taranaki provides them with an ideal gin distiller’s playground as they source almost all of their botanicals locally. “We use Taranaki mountain water and a citrus orchard is being established here in Taranaki,” explains Dave. “Our Orris Root comes from Hawke’s Bay, coriander seed from the Wairarapa, and we work with a limery on the East Coast.”
In April 2017, Jo and Dave launched their Extra Fine signature range gin. It has been a huge hit, but, on top of this, every season they allow their creative energies to roam free and explore seasonal flavour profiles in order to release limited edition seasonal gins.
It’s this blank canvas for artistically creating flavour profiles that excites Jo and Dave. Dave explains that this expression also extends to the consumer: “The opportunity for gin is that you have a spirit that has these wonderful nuances in flavour which makes it more accessible across the population range. There’s more opportunity to mix it with more things.”
Industry statistics point to a global explosion in gin consumption. Some are calling gin the new craft beer. Juno feel proud to be leading the way in creative expression in New Zealand’s gin industry and their success isn’t going unnoticed. Juno won the Brand and Marketing Award at the TSB Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards and the packaging, designed by Craig Jones of Strategy Collective, was a finalist at the prestigious Best Awards (The Designers Institute of New Zealand annual awards).
The intricately designed bottle captures the idea of the divine descending to earth, intertwining the spiritual with the natural. Locals have always known that Taranaki is somehow touched by the heavens, so, in a sense, Juno is just picking up where mother nature has left off.
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