The TuilagiN Story
Making a Tuilagi Gin was often talked about in the early hours of the morning after many gin and tonics. I have always enjoyed drinking gin (and plenty of it) and over the years have tried and tested most varieties in lots of different countries. Conversations would usually drift to being told ‘Freddie, you’ve drank so much gin it would be a shame not to make your own’. This got me thinking whether it was a possibility. Luckily I have known Graham Veitch of the Kitchen Distillery for a few years and with his wealth of experience I realised I had found the perfect business partner. After months of hard work together, TuilaGin was born.
The Tuilagi name is synonymous with power on the rugby field. We are seven brothers in total and six of us chose a career in professional rugby. We are Freddie, Henry, Alesana, Anitelea, Vavae and Manu. Manu is the youngest brother and plays for England whereas the other five brothers have all represented Samoa during our international careers. Interesting, all six of us have played for Leicester Tigers and remain part of the Leicester family.
It is a sign from above that the last two letters of my surname begin to write the word gin. We agreed on the name TuilaGin to reveal this coincidence.
The design of the bottle is special to me because it is a replica of my traditional Samoan tattoo called a tatau or malofie. My tattoo took twelve days, beginning at the waist and covers just every bit of skin, right down to the knees. It is done freehand using the traditional method using a sharks tooth and rubbing the ink into the wound. The artwork and designs go beyond being skin deep, there are history and deep meanings behind them. The tattoo and designs of the Samoa islands represents community, power, status, respect, honour, love, serve and is a mark of pride that is only to be worn by Samoan men.
The Tuilagin Flavour
With such a strong rugby history we have created the gin with this in mind. As there are fifteen players on the rugby pitch we have added fifteen botanicals to our gin. Some of the botanicals we use in our recipe are; Juniper, Coriander, Orris, Sage, Thyme, Mac cloves, Lavender, Rose and Orange peel.