Company which already markets its wares in Europe's upmarket spas and restaurants is looking to make a splash with regional sophisticates.
Gold-filtered water hopes to impress UAE market
DUBAI // Forget Voss, Finé, Bling h2o and the rest. The last word in super-luxury mineral water is called Gize, and it has something the others lack - the allure of gold.
The Canadian water is put through a gold-filtering process before it is bottled and served by water sommeliers at some of Europe's smartest hotels, restaurants and spas.
And this latest addition to the ranks of the fancy designer bottles, with prices that make your eyes water, could soon become a familiar sight in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East.
The distributor, Luxembourg-based Canadian Mineral Water, is looking for partners to help launch the brand across the region.
The company has been showcasing the product at the Gulfood show at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
However, as company spokeswoman Sibylle Erler explained, the filtration process does not change the composition of the liquid - the water does not contain fragments of the precious metal. The use of gold simply enhances the brand's luxury image.
"Our spring is located in Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada, and the rocks were formed 200 million years ago, so on the way up to the surface the water can collect a lot of minerals," she said.
"It's very high in mineralisation and very good quality. As it's a natural mineral water we're not allowed to change the water itself; all you may do is give it an additional filtering process, and that's what we do.
"We decided to do something new that no other water company was doing, so we use a gold filter. If there were gold traces or anything else in the water it would no longer be natural mineral water anymore, it would only be spring water."
Ms Erler added: "We launched our water last year and are very well established in the German-speaking market. Now the next step is to go into the Middle East."
The water is available in still and sparkling forms, and there are four flavoured versions - lemon-elderflower, raspberry-ginseng, pear-vinegar and pineapple-coconut.
It comes in a distinctive inwardly curving bottle bearing a golden maple leaf. In Europe a 200ml bottle sells for €5 (Dh25), and a 750ml bottle will set you back €15.
Not everyone is dazzled, though. Leena al Abbas, who runs the Zen Beauty Lounge, an eco-friendly organic salon in Discovery Gardens, said she would stick to serving her clients water from her standard filtration system.
She was more impressed by the fact that Gize comes in glass bottles rather than plastic.
"Plastic bottle do have health risks with chemicals leaking when they're being transported and it's hot, so it would be heathier," she said. "And there's always room for new companies to introduce their products."
But would the filtering through a gold medium be attractive in this market?
"It's a difficult question because there's been the economic downturn, but then you have gold vending machines and gold facials in some spas - so it might appeal to some people who still have the spending power," Ms al Abbas said.
"But for the regular person on the street, maybe not. It would be looked at as yet another marketing ploy. But it's an open market."
Samia al Sayegh, a nutritionist at Dubai Health Authority, said: "I tried the raspberry-ginseng and the lemon-elderflower and they really tasted light and nice.
"I do find the gold filtering attractive and I would buy this water - and I would buy the large bottle, not the small one."
For its part, a National panel sampled Gize and found it to taste much like any other quality mineral water. But it may just be the perfect thing to wash down one of the Emirates Palace's gold-flecked cappuccinos.
A garnish of gold:
Gize gold-filtered water may not be on sale just yet, but there are plenty of options for anyone who fancies a bit a of sparkle in their diet:
Uses 5kg of edible
gold per year for decoration, mainly on deserts.
Burj Al Arab,
Serves sweets decorated with gold.
Tiramisu topped with gold foil is the signature dish at Ristorante, an Italian restaurant at this hotel in the Burj Khalifa.
Shangri-La, Abu Dhabi
The French restaurant Bord Eau serves a sweet called the Chocolate Extravaganza, with edible gold leaf.