© Karl Muller
The story of Baleia: In 2006 we came to watch the whales. In 2018 we returned to support their conservation here in the Azores.
“The inspiration for Baleia started over 14 years ago, in 2006, on the island of Faial. Caroline and I travelled to a little known place in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to go whale watching while on honeymoon. On the last day, I passed a small shop and noticed a wooden whale in the corner, dusty and mostly ignored. Upon asking about it I was told that it was the last one of its kind to be carved by a local whaler using a piece of bone from the final whale to be caught and brought ashore to the island many years previously.
He created these hand carved wooden whales, each with a piece of whale bone as a reminder of the journeys he and his brothers would make as they sailed out into the waters of the Atlantic for days at a time. It was a memory of those lost to the ocean and time, children born and fed, communities built from the whaling industry. As commercial whaling was stopped, a new industry arose from the ashes and brought new life to the community. It was not hunting, but watching whales. And so this simple wooden statue left the Azores, travelling to London, then Hong Kong. In 2018 it returned to the Azores, now displayed in The Gin Library.
We hope in the same way it inspired us, each bottle that leaves the Azores to take its own journey around the world inspires you to return one day.”
Baleia Gin is brought to you by Ali Bullock, owner of The Solar Branco Eco Estate and patron of The Ocean Azores Foundation. Created in partnership with Lima & Quental, brands produced include Rocha Negra as well as Baleia Gin.
Meet the team behind Baleia
Founder & Gin Expert
São Miguel based gin expert Ali Bullock, owner of the world-renowned Gin Library.
Owner Solar Branco Eco Estate
Co-owner of The Solar Branco Eco Estate, a leading eco hotel in the Azores.
Lima & Quental Lda
Distiller of a wide range of spirits including Rocha Negra Gin.
Catarina “Lemon” Limao
São Miguel born artist in residence at The Solar Branco Eco Estate.
Joao helped advise on the taste of Baleia, and was key in helping us integrate seaweed.