Made from the delicious Marula fruit of sub-Equatorial Africa, the Marula spirit is distilled and aged in French oak for two years. It is then blended with our velvety cream to create the smooth taste of Amarula – best savoured over ice, preferably with a view. On the wide-open plains of Africa grows a tree uncultivated by man. The marula tree, or ‘Sclerocarya Birrea’, only grows in one area on the entire planet – the warm, frost-free regions of subequatorial Africa. It holds a position of importance both in the animal kingdom and in human legend and ritual, and it is from the fruit of this mystical tree that Amarula cream is borne.
Once the ripe marula fruit has been gathered, the stones are removed and the flesh is separated from the skin before it is fermented under conditions similar to winemaking. After fermentation, the marula wine is distilled, first in column stills and then in copper pot stills.
There is just one place on earth where the Marula trees grow – across Africa’s subequatorial plains. And there is just one time of year when the female Marula trees bear their exotic fruit – at the height of our beautiful summer. The size of small plums but oval in shape, the Marula fruit ripens to a rich yellow, with a tough outer skin surrounding its fibrous, white flesh. Containing four times more vitamin C than the average orange, Marula is a succulent fruit with a citrus tang and a creamy, nutty taste. Archaeological evidence of Marula fruit can be dated back as far as 10 000 BC with traces of Marula kernels found in the ancient Pomongwe Cave of Zimbabwe. The smooth, light brown seed inside each Marula fruit protects its oil-rich kernels which are an essential source of nutrition and have anti-oxidant as well as moisturising properties.
The Marula trees cannot be cultivated. No matter how hard people have tried, these mysterious, African trees stay robustly true to their earthy roots and grow only where they choose. Only once a year, at the peak of summer, the female Marula trees bear their unique fruit. When the scent of ripe Marula fills the air, the elephants travel vast distances in order to get a taste. This is our cue to begin the harvest. Local communities are an integral part of the process, and carefully hand-pick the fruit once the elephants have raised their trunks in approval.
Once the Marula fruit is perfectly sun-ripened, we gently hand-gather each one. First, the fruit is de-stoned, its flesh crushed and the pulp fermented. After fermentation, the Marula ‘wine’ is distilled and aged in French oak barrels for at least two years, during which wood spice characters of vanilla and toast are naturally imparted. Thereafter dairy cream is infused to give Amarula its rich, velvety texture. Only then do we bottle this little piece of Africa. Amarula is best served over ice and preferably, with a view.
Like the elephants, the Marula trees are protected under South African law. They are a key part of African heritage and may not be farmed for commerce. The fruit however is sold in a variety of natural products, Amarula of course being one of them