An obvious passion project between two lovers of the juniper spirit, it is a worthy addition to the current crop of homegrown spirits producers starting their journey around the country. They’ve made their home on the edge of the wine producing Yarra Valley in Victoria, sourcing water and a measure of inspiration from their locale.
Distilled to epitomise a modern style of Australian gin, juniper and citrus take a back seat to more subtle cardamom, star anise, coriander seed and cinnamon. Australian botanicals, namely the Tasmanian pepperberry leaf and lemon myrtle also make an appearance. Lovers of a London Dry will be disappointed with the lack of up front in this gin, but you’d be wrong to assume that a lack of juniper dominance signals a lack of complexity in the taste. There are classic matches, with orange, cardamom and cinnamon passing over the palate in an elegant fashion.
This gin is softer than the English batting line up. It will provide an elegant stage for the country’s bartenders to experiment with and will bring many Australians claiming not to be gin drinkers into the fold. The toned down citrus notes come alive when a squeeze is added to your gin and tonic. In a martini it can get lost a little in the vermouth, but I’m hanging out for a homegrown Australian version with Four Pillars and the Regal Rouge. It is good in a negroni, settling down into a unique, if slightly floral take on the drink.
It’s an elegantly designed package, with foiling on the label and and individual batch numbering beneath the foil closure and cork. The copper foiling is a well planned allusion and story starter for the center of the brands universe, a gorgeous Carl still named Wilma. Copper is a key brand element again in the extremely covetable cocktail shakers the team have produced for launch.
With only 420 bottles in each release, this is unashamedly small batch and craft in every imaginable way. There are plans afoot too for a barrel aged Old Tom, calling on the local vineyards for some ancient aging stock, whispers of a fresh take on Sloe and a series of seasonal releases based on local botanicals, like the unbelievably delicious native finger lime. Plenty then to get excited and keep an eye out for.
You should buy a bottle to enjoy over the Christmas period, it’s a local passionate project that will be the perfect foil for long, lazy afternoons watching the Australians school the English on something they took to the world. Something of a metaphor for the ambition of this gin.
Look for this on the back bars of anyplace small, or at Camperdown Cellars Parramatta rd, Elizabeth Bay Cellars, Salt meats Cheese in Sydney. Trade distribution again through the team at Vanguard. RRP in the high sixties.