World Gin Day 2018 Distillers Dinner

Join me for a special Distillers Dinner at Arc One Gallery, with food by Cumulus Inc. featuring five of Australia’s leading distillers.

Joining us will be; Cameron Mackenzie – Four Pillars Gin, Dr. Dervilla McGowan – Anther Spirits, Nicole Durdin – Seppeltsfield Road Distillers, Myffanwy Kernke – Shene Estate & Distillery and Tim Boast – Never Never Distillery.

They will each share their stories and introduce their gins before we enjoy it neat and in a cocktail matched with a delicious dish by Cumulus Inc., all in the beautiful surrounds of Arc One Gallery

 

Tickets are $155 and include 5 dishes, 5 gins and 5 cocktails.

Limited dietary requirements available.

Book now to avoid disappointment!

With thanks to our sponsors:

Australian Gin Medal Winners from the San Francisco World Spirits Awards 2018

You’ve probably seen many of our native gins sharing the news of their success at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards. As per the last 2 years, I’ve done a round-up for you, covering all the winners!

This year Australian gins won 5 Double Golds (up from 2 in 2017), 7 Golds (up from 4 in 2017), 21 Silver (up from 11 in 2017) and 15 Bronze (up 8 from 2017). A total of 48 medals (up from 26 in 2017).

The state with the most medals was Victoria (15), New South Wales (13), who just pipped South Australia (12 ), followed by Tasmania (5), Queensland (2) and ACT (1).

I don’t have the final number of gins entered but given the ongoing explosion of gin, I would imagine it has significantly increased from the 268 entries in 2017.

Awards are often disregarded as ‘marketing puff’ that many consumers ignore, so I spoke to a couple of distillers to discuss the impact of winning a medal at San Francisco.

Tim Stones, Manly Spirits (Double Gold) “I’m not massively pro-awards as there are so many about. However, I do see then benefit of using them to benchmark our products against other son the market. Winning a Double Gold is a hugely validating experience and completely vindicated my choice of career change.”

Sales Manager, Rob Sutherland, also reported a bigger uptake of their gininto venues.

Sean Baxter, Never Never Distilling Co. (Gold Medal) “The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the top global comp, the one we all care about. With 43 judges and an extremely high standard, it’s our chance to see how we stack up with the world’s best gins. A gold medal for us means recognition that our gin is up there with the best in the world.”

In addition, Sean told me they were flooded with emails from potential new stockists after the announcement.

Whatever your view on awards it obviously means a lot to the people making the gin and gives them a leg up in a highly competitive market.

Here are the 2018 results in full:

DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL 2018 (Outstanding; earning top marks from all judges.)

Manly Spirits Gin

Manly Spirits Co Australian Dry Gin (NSW)

San Francisco Results 2018

 

Archie Rose Distillers Strength (NSW)

Dobson’s New England Dry Gin (NSW)

World Gin Day Competition 2017

Poltergeist Gin (Unfiltered) (TAS)

Single Shot Gin, The Melbourne Gin Company (VIC)

GOLD MEDAL 2018 (an excellent product, meeting very high standards)

Triple Juniper Gin, Never Never Distilling Co. (SA)

 

 

Brookie's gin

Brookie’s gin (NSW)

Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin, Cape Byron (NSW)

Roots and Leaves Gin, Distillery Botanica (NSW)

Green Ant Gin

Something Wild Green Ant Gin, Adelaide Hills Distillery

Billy Goats Gin, Saleyards Distillery (QLD)

Prohibition gin (SA)

SILVER MEDAL 2016 (A finely crafted spirit, well above average.)

Coastal Citrus Gin, Manly Spirits (NSW)

Horisumi Summer Gin, Archie Rose(NSW)

Signature Dry Gin, Archie Rose(NSW)

Sweet Pea Gin, Dobson’s(NSW)

Whisky Barrel Aged Gin, Manly Spirits(NSW)

Barrel Aged Gin, Twenty Third Street (SA)

Signature Gin, Twenty Third Street (SA)

Bathtub Cut Gin, Prohibition (SA)

Yuzu Gin, Settlers Spirits (SA)

Gin, A True Spirit, Poltergeist (TAS)

Arboretum Gin, Animus (VIC)

Bartender Series Spiced Negroni Gin, Four Pillars (VIC)

Distiller Series Dry Island Gin, Four Pillars x Hernö (VIC)

Gin, BeGin (VIC)

Macedon Dry Gin, Animus (VIC)

Navy Strength Gin, Four Pillars (VIC)

Pink Gin, BeGin (VIC)

78° Gin, Adelaide Hills Distillery (SA)

Dry Gin, Hippocampus (VIC)

Lady Susanne Gin, TerraAustralis Distillery (VIC)

Signature Gin, Underground Spirits (ACT)

Bronze (A well-crafted spirit that deserves recognition.)
Fool Strength Gin, Poor Toms (NSW)
Sydney Dry Gin, Poor Toms (NSW)
Wise Old Goat Gin, Saleyards Distillery (QLD)
Spiced Fig Gin, Settlers Spirits (SA)
Sloe Gin, Settlers Spirits (SA)
Meadow Gin, Dasher + Fisher (TAS)
Ocean Gin, Dasher + Fisher (TAS)
The Splendid Gin (TAS)
Ambrosian Gin, Animus (VIC)
Premium Dry Gin, Patient Wolf (VIC)
Rare Dry Gin, Four Pillars (VIC)
Sherry Cask Gin, Four Pillars (VIC)
Classic Dry Gin, Original Spirit Co.(VIC)
Gin, Applewood Distillery (SA)
London Dry Gin, Vickers (SA)

What is the San Francisco World Spirits Competition?

Launched in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is considered the most respected and influential spirits competition in the world, with a rigorous judging process involving highly controlled blind-tastings with an expert panel who only receive information on spirit type, ABV and age (where applicable) to remove bias.

Ambleside Distillers Big Dry gin

A few weeks ago I managed to squeeze in a trip to Adelaide. South Australia is fast becoming the gin state, so I was excited to see a few of the new distilleries popping up. Top of my list was Ambleside Distillers, who opened in November 2017.

I’d recently met Steve, Trudy, Matt and Matt’s partner Bella, when I hosted the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.  Their Small Acre gin had picked up a Silver medal, which they were naturally delighted about and I was keen to hear more about them.

Ambleside Distillers is a family business. Steve and Trudy’s son Matt was working in London just as Sipsmith opened in 2006. If you recall, Sipsmith was the first gin distillery to open in London for 200 years and played a huge part in the new gin renaissance. Seeing the response to the new wave of gins, when Matt returned to Australia he began discussing the idea of opening a distillery with his parents, where they lived in Hahndorf.

Although the weather was not kind (rain!), the distillery is in a beautiful location and Hahndorf is a major tourism centre, making it the perfect spot for a distillery to thrive. The distillery is on the main road into the town and Steve grinned and told me “If we don’t get you on the way in, we’ll get you as you leave!”. There was certainly plenty of interest when I visited. A steady stream of visitors began arriving immediately the doors opened.

Ambleside Team and I
The rain stopped for 5 minutes so we could grab a photo!

The team have launched three gins, which might ambitious, but they just each made a gin that they really liked!

ambleside gins
The three Ambleside gins

Trudy’s gin is the No. 8 Botanical, and is made with organic Riverland oranges, and Big Dry gin is Matt’s invention. Steve’s recipe is made with ingredients grown around the distillery, including apple, bay leaf and rhubarb. There is some healthy competition between the three, with Trudy saying, “Steve may have won a Silver medal, but mine sells the most!”

Like many distilleries in Australia (including Melbourne gin company, Ambleside Distillers have used grape based spirit from Tarac, while the still was commissioned from a company in Ballarat and is completely copper throughout. With the distillery industry growing, it’s wonderful to see traditional businesses like still-making, also receiving a boost.

The Ambleside gin still

 

All of the Ambleside gins are really tasty, however, my favourite  of the three was the Big Dry gin made by Matt.

Big Dry Gin Botanicals

Aside from juniper berries, Matt has incorporated jalapeño peppers, kaffir lime leaf, thyme, rosemary, and coriander seed.

Tasting Big Dry Gin

Looking at the botanicals, you can guess that it will be savoury and herbaceous and it doesn’t disappoint. There is lots of juniper on the nose, with citrus from the coriander and kaffir lime also noticeable. The fresh, piney flavour develops into herbal notes , but it’s also fresh and grassy which I put down to the jalapeño pepper. Matt has skillfully captured the freshness of the pepper without the heat.

Drinking Big Dry Gin

Big Dry gin is perfect g&t material. Matt served it  garnished with a slice of jalapeño and coffee beans, an absolutely delicious combination which I copied when I got home.

I’d  recommend you try it in a Gibson martini and I think it would make a divine Red Snapper. Maybe with a little extra jalapeño!

Red Snapper
Red Snapper

 

ABV: 45%

Price: Medium

You can follow Ambleside Distillers on Facebook and instagram. Alternatively, you can pop in and say hello! Their cellar door opening times can be found here.

MOTHER’S DAY COMPETITION

Mother’s Day is coming up in a few weeks, so I’m giving one lucky person the chance to win one of my Esa Evans gin necklaces  to show that special woman how much you care!

All you have to do is complete the form below and in 50 words or less tell me why your mum/partner/wife/mother of your child needs this necklace.

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

Four Pillars 'Jude' Copper Still

Gin Queen on Tour ~ Four Pillars Gin

A private gin bus will collect you from Federation Square in Melbourne and whisk you to Four Pillars distillery in Healesville. There, you’ll meet the distiller, Cameron Mackenzie, have a G&T, learn about (and sample!) their fantastic gins, and enjoy a light lunch before the gin bus departs.

But wait there’s more!

Instead of you ending your tour back at Federation Square, we’ll be off to Bad Frankie (the No. 1 bar for Australian spirits) for a mini martini.

The perfect way to round off our gin tour!

What’s included?

  • Fully escorted tour hosted by Caroline Childerley, The Gin Queen!
  • Transport from Federation Square to the distillery and back to Melbourne
  • Meet the distiller
  • Gin tasters
  • G&T at the distillery
  • Light lunch (limited dietary options available)
  • Mini martini at Bad Frankie!

When are we going?                                        

Saturday 24 April 2018

How much?

$120 will get you a spot on the tour.

Terms & Conditions

Attendees must be over 18.

No refunds or exchanges.

Please drink responsibly.

Death’s Door Gin

Usually when I’m writing for ‘gin of the week’, the gin is brand new, so it’s great to be able to revisit a gin that’s been established for a few years. Death’s Door gin has been available sporadically in Australia, but now it’s part of the Vanguard Luxury Brands portfolio, you can expect to see more of it.

There are only a handful of excellent American gins – Junipero and Aviation ( BEFORE Ryan bought it!!) being two of my favorites. The US remains firmly wedded to aged spirits and its corn/rye heritage which don’t always work as a base for the delicate botanicals used in gin. However, Death’s Door gin is an exception.

The story behind Death’s Door gin ticks all the sustainability and locality boxes, and did so way before it was fashionable. Historically, the Washington Island in Wisconsin had been known for potato farming, but the industry died out in the 1970s. Locals moved into tourism focussed industries or left the island altogether.

In 2005 a small group got together to see if agriculture could be restored.  Working in collaboration with the Michael Fields Institute,  they selected specific variety of hard, red winter wheat that could withstand the maritime conditions. They began with a few seed and  5 acres. This has now grown to 1, 200! The wheat was initially used for bread and then the local brewery but eventually went on to become the base of all of Death’s Door Spirits.

The distillery expanded in 2012 and is now the largest craft distillery in Wisconsin with an annual capacity of 250,000 cases of finished product!

Why Death’s Door?

The Door Peninsula and Washington Island form a treacherous stretch of water that connects Green Bay to the rest of Lake Michigan. The Early French explorers named this water Porte des Morts, which literally means “Door of the Dead” or, “Death’s Door” due to the number of shipwrecks and gave rise to the gin’s name.

Local Botanicals

There are only THREE botanicals in Death’s Door gin: juniper, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds and come from the state when possible. There is an annual juniper harvest festival on Washington Island whereby guests can pick wild juniper berries!

The juniper used is  Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red cedar) rather than Junipers communis.

Death's Door gin
Juniperus virginiana (image via Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute)

Tasting Death’s Door Gin

Death Door Spirits use vodka as a base for their gin, and this is made using the aforementioned red winter wheat, corn and malted barley, but unlike some American gins, it doesn’t dominate the botanicals.

There is plenty of lovely juniper at the front of the palate before spice and lemon come through from the coriander, before a crisp, dry aniseed finish from the fennel. Go easy with the tonic for a G&T, or even try it with soda, and you’ll need to add lots of citrus to boost the flavour.

It was absolutely stunning in a martini, that base has a fabulous texture and the fennel combines well with vermouth. Divine!

When so much is made of the number and diversity of botanicals in gin these days, it’s refreshing to see how much can be achieved when you pare everything back. This gin was truly ahead of its time and in spite of the unusual base and heavy fennel I think this could be a useful and versatile gin to have in your arsenal.

If you haven’t tried it seek it out immediately!

ABV: 47%

Price: Medium

You can follow Death Door Spirits on Facebook or instagram

Australian Distilled Spirits Awards Gin Results 2018

The winners of the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards were announced at Ormond Hall in Prahran last Thursday.

I have attended every awards ceremony since their inception in 2015 but in 2017 and 2018 I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the judging panel in the gin category as well as host the awards ceremony. Both are duties I don’t take lightly!

There were over 300 spirits submitted across all categories this year and judging is managed and organised under the tightest of conditions.

As judges we don’t see any bottles over the two days and the spirits are presented pre-poured in tasting glasses ready for judging. Judging sheets simply have spaces to give marks for colour/appearance (/10), nose (/20), palate (/40), balance (/10) and finish (/20) and no other information, including the ABV to avoid spirits being identified.

Medals are presented as follows:

Gold (90 – 100 points) A Gold Medal Exhibit is an outstanding spirit, liqueur or bitters for the type of product that it is.

Silver (82 – 89.9) points) A Silver Medal Exhibit is an excellent spirit, liqueur or bitters for the type of product that it is.

Bronze (74 – 81.9 points) A Bronze Medal Exhibit is a very good spirit, liqueur or bitters for the type of product that it is.

There were 7 categories for gin and the results were as follows:

LONDON DRY CATEGORY

GOLD

Kalki Moon Premium London Dry Gin,  Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing Company, QLD

Poor Toms Fool Strength, Poor Toms Distillery NSW

Suter & Sons Dry Gin, Victoria

Sin Gin No 5 Greed The Murray Hotel, Western Australia

SILVER

Animus Macedon Dry Gin, Animus Distillery, Kyneton, Victoria

Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin, Manly Spirits Co., NSW

Triple Juniper Gin, Never Never Distilling Co, SA

1829 Gin, Old Youngs Distillery, WA

Poltergeist Gin – Unfiltered, Shene Estate & Distillery, Tasmania

Sin Gin No 2 Lust~ The Murray Hotel, Western Australia

Sin Gin No 6 Gluttony The Murray Hotel, Western Australia

BRONZE

Prohibition Gin ~  Applewood distillery, South Australia

Kalki Moon Classic London Dry Gin ~ Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing Company, QLD

Classic Dry Gin ~ McHenry Distillery, Tasmania

Original Classic Dry  ~Original Spirit Co., Victoria

Poltergeist Gin True Spirit  ~ Shene Estate & Distillery, Tasmania

Spring Bay Gin ~ Spring Bay Distillery, Tasmania

Sin Gin No 1 Pride  ~ The Murray Hotel, WA

Sin Gin No 3 Sloth  ~ The Murray Hotel, WA

36 Short Original Gin  ~ Virginia Spirits Pty Ltd, SA

CONTEMPORARY GIN

GOLD

Animus Arboretum Gin Animus Distillery, Kyneton, Victoria

Lawrenny Van Diemen’s Gin,  Lawrenny Estate Distillery, Tasmania

Six Seasons Gin Old Young’s, Western Australia

Anther Gin ~ The Craft & Co, Victoria

SILVER

78° Gin  ~ Adelaide Hills Distillery, South Australia

Small Acre Gin  ~ Ambleside Distillers Pty Ltd, South Australia

Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin  ~ Cape Byron Distillery, NSW

Fossey’s Gin Fossey’s Gin, Victoria

Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin ~ Healesville Distilling Co., Victoria

Hellfire Bluff Distillery Piquant  ~ Hellfire Bluff Distillery, Tasmania

Hellfire Bluff Distillery Summer Gin  ~ Hellfire Bluff Distillery, Tasmania

Kis Wild Gin ~ Kangaroo Island Spirits, South Australia

Lawrenny 1818 Settlers Gin ~ Lawrenny Estate Distillery, Tasmania

Cooper’s Best Gin ~  Mark Moran Group, New South Wales

Settlers Zuzu Gin ~ Settlers Spirits, South Australia

Red Hen Gin  ~ Small Batch Distilling T/A Red Hen Gin, South Australia

Dasher + Fisher Ocean Gin ~ Southern Wild Distillery Pty Ltd Tasmania

Suter&Sons G&Tea  ~ Suter & Sons, Victoria

Balcombe Dry Gin ~ The Craft & Co, Victoria

Twenty Third Street Distillery Signature Gin ~ Twenty Third Street Distillery, SA

BRONZE

Aqua Vitae Modern Gin ~ 7K Distillery, Tasmania

The Abel GIN co-Essence Gin  ~ Abel Distillers, Tasmania

Adams’ Turbo Gin  ~ Adams Distillery, Tasmania

Something Wild Beverage Company Green Ant Gin ~ Adelaide Hills Distillery, South Australia

Chamomile Dry Gin ~ Alchemy Distillers, Victoria

No. 8 Botanical Gin ~ Ambleside Distillers Pty Ltd, South Australia

Big Dry Gin ~ Ambleside Distillers Pty Ltd, South Australia

Animus Ambrosian Gin~  Animus Distillery, Victoria

Applewood Gin ~ Applewood Distillery, South Australia

Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin ~ Archie Rose Distilling Co., New South Wales

Archie Rose Distillers Strength Gin ~ Archie Rose Distilling Co New South Wales

Gin 10 – Wild & Spicy ~ Bass and Flinders Distillery Pty Ltd, Victoria

Gin – Soft & Smooth ~ Bass and Flinders Distillery Pty Ltd, Victoria

Angry Ant Gin ~ Bass and Flinders Distillery Pty Ltd, Victoria

Hippocampus Bangkok Gin ~ Boatrocker Brewers & Distillers, Victoria

Cedar Fox Distilling Co. Gin ~ Cedar Fox Distilling Co. Pty Ltd, Victoria

OLD TOM GIN

Silver

London Vs Collingwood Old Tom ~ The Craft & Co, Victoria

Bronze

Kis Old Tom ~ Kangaroo Island Spirits, South Australia

NAVY STRENGTH GIN

Gold

Common Gin ~ Old Young’s, Western Australia

Silver

Fossey’s Navel Strength Gin Elixir ~Fossey’s Gin, Victoria

Bronze

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin ~Healesville Distilling Co P/L, Victoria
The Buccaneer ~ Kilderkin Distillery Pty Ltd, Victoria
Wildbrumby Stallion Gin “Navy Strength” ~ Wildbrumby, New South Wales

BARREL-AGED GIN

Silver

Cedar Fox Distilling Co. Oak Gin, Cedar Fox Distilling Co. Pty Ltd, Victoria
Kalki Moon Solstice Barrel Aged London Dry Gin ~ Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing Company, QLD
Kis Whisky Barrel Gin ~ Kangaroo Island Spirits, South Australia

Bronze

Bathtub Gin ~Catcher & Co Distillery, New South Wales
Four Pillars Sherry Cask Gin ~ Healesville Distilling Co P/L, Victoria
Giniversity Barrel Aged Gin ~ Great Southern Distilling Company, Western Australia
Kilderkin Distillery Barrel Aged ~Kilderkin Distillery Pty Ltd, Victoria
Old B.A.G. ~ Old Young’s, Western Australia

SLOE GIN

Silver

McHenry Sloe Gin ~McHenry Distillery, Tasmania

Bronze

Dasher + Fisher Sloe Gin ~ Southern Wild Distillery Pty Ltd, Tasmania
Settlers Sloe Gin ~ Settlers Spirits, South Australia

OTHER (UNLISTED GIN) – does not fit into any other category

Silver

Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin Cape Byron Distillery, New South Wales

Bronze

Anther Cherry Gin ~ The Craft & Co, Vic
Monsoon Gin, Flavored Gin ~ Bass and Flinders Distillery Pty Ltd, Victoria
Prohibition Bathtub Cut Gin, Overproof ~Applewood distillery, South Australia

On the final day of judging, all the gold medal winning gins are evaluated alongside each other and an overall winner selected by the judges.

This CHAMPION GIN trophy was won by Anther gin!

Dr Dervilla McGowan from Anther Spirits with their Champion Gin trophy

Gin distillers also did well in the Smaller Scale Production Trophies, with Suter & Sons winning Champion Australian Micro Batch Spirit:

Matthew Suter of Suter & Sons with his trophy (image supplied)

While Animus Distillery was awarded Champion Australian Small Batch Spirit for their Arboretum Gin.

The Animus Distillery team with their trophy (image supplied)

Gin and vodka distiller, James Young from Old Young’s Distillery in WA picked up the Champion Distiller award for the second year running for achieving the highest total score across his entries.

It was wonderful to watch the response of the winners, it obviously means so much. All the entrants receive a score as well as constructive feedback. Everyone I spoke to saw the awards as a way of benchmarking themselves within our fledgling spirits industry.

For full results across all the categories head here.

Teddy and the Fox gin

I first met Lorelle and Russ at the inaugural Junipalooza in 2016 where they were busy conducting research for their distillery. Since then I’ve caught up with them a few times and followed their journey to opening the first distillery on the Bellarine Peninsula, where they are both from. I recently visited, and fell in love with the beautiful location, the gin, and of course, Teddy!

The tale of how they found the property is a little spooky! During a drive around looking at properties, Lorelle saw a ‘for sale’ sign, but little else as it was completely surrounded by dense pine trees. She told me that she “just had a feeling” about the place, which was a formerly a chicken farm. Russ stopped the car and they approached the house to speak to the vendor…and this is where I get goosebumps…the gentleman selling the land, whom neither had met before, turned out to have been the best man at Lorelle’s parents’ wedding. Talk about fate!

It’s taken months and months of clearing the land and digging trenches for the various amenities. They’ve unearthed an old watering hole for coach horses, almond, fig and walnut trees and the perfect spot for their distillery.

 

Wide open space and the distillery hiding behind the remaining trees
The distillery housing their Bellarine Whisky still (named Ronald after Lorelle’s late father) and a small ‘Stilldragon’ for making gin.

The plan was always to create a tasting room and a space for people to have a bit to eat. The only existing building was a corrugated tin shed, which needed some serious attention.

The Whiskery, (named after Russ’ impressive moustache) is the cosiest of cellar doors!

(image supplied)
(image supplied)

The Bellarine Distillery will launch whisky in the next year or two, but in the mean time, Lorelle and Russ have been busy creating their gin, Teddy and the Fox.

They named the gin after their beloved dog because during all the building work a fox caught Teddy’s eye and he did a daring dash across the field (and the road!) in hot pursuit. The image caught both Lorelle and Russ’s imagination and makes for a stunning label!

The Teddy and the Fox gin label artwork is featured over the Whiskery fire place

 

TEDDY!

Teddy and the Fox gin

Lorelle’s uses fractional distillation (all the botanicals are distilled separately before being blended together)and grape based spirit ( Melbourne Gin company also uses this base) which gives a great mouth feel and a super neutral canvas that allows the botanicals to shine.

The botanicals are juniper, orange, lemon myrtle, coriander, star anise and orris root.

On the nose the orange aromas abound with sherberty lemon myrtle in the background. To taste the orange and juniper are at the fore before more citrus zest notes from the coriander and lemon myrtle evolve. There is a good dose of warmth and spice on the lengthy finish. It’s well-balanced, with a great mouthfeel.

orange-blossom-cocktail
Orange blossom cocktail
Florodora
Florodora

Drinking Teddy and the Fox gin

It works well in a gin and tonic garnished with rosemary – fennel would also work.  Try it with soda as this would open out the flavours even more. Martini (with an orange twist) and negroni are fabulous, but if you really want to play up the orange notes go for something like an orange blossom cocktail or a Florodora.

Lorelle, Russ and Teddy (this was SUCH a tricky photo to take..!!)

Lorelle and Russ set a great example to future Australian distillers with their passion, tenacity (dealing with councils is no easy ride) and attention to detail. I cannot wait to get back and sit out on the deck.

Teddy and the Fox gin is available direct from the distillery at the moment, but you can contact them via Facebook and instagram to place an order, while they finish their website.

Alternatively, you can meet them at Bad Frankie’s Victorian Spirits Tasting on 25th March, or at Junipalooza 2018!

ABV 42%

Price: Medium

You can follow The Whiskery on Facebook or instagram.

Gin Queen on Tour ~ Animus Distillery and Patient Wolf

Gin Queen on Tour ~ Animus Distillery and Patient Wolf

I am so excited about the first Victorian Gin Queen on Tour 2018!

First stop is newly opened Animus Distillery in picturesque Kyneton, where we’ll hear from the team about how they came up with the idea for Animus gins, while tasting all three! before enjoying lunch from one of the local Piper Street eateries!

Gin Queen on Tour ~ Animus Distillery and Patient Wolf
(image from Animus Distillery)

Then it’s back on the gin bus as we head off to meet the boys at Patient Wolf. Matt and Dave are super excited to share a Gin and tonic with everyone as they share their story.

And if that isn’t enough excitement, we’ll be rounding off with a mini-martini at Bad Frankie, Melbourne’s number one destination for all things Aussie Spirits!

Gin Queen on Tour ~ Animus Distillery and Patient Wolf

Full itinerary for Gin Queen on Tour ~ Animus Distillery and Patient Wolf

  • 10.00am meet the Gin Bus at Federation Square
  • 11.30am arrive at Animus Distillery get up close with their still, enjoy a tasting three of the gins produced and enjoy a light lunch.
  • 1.30pm Depart Animus Distillery
  • 2.30pm Arrive at Patient Wolf for a G&T with Matt and Dave
  • 4.00pm Depart Patient Wolf
  • 4.30pm Arrive at Bad Frankie

What’s included in the ticket price?

  • Fully escorted tour hosted by Caroline Childerley, The Gin Queen!
  • Luxury Bus Charter from Federation Square to Animus Distillery, and then Patient Wolf before finishing the tour at Bad Frankie.
  • Meet the distillers at two of Victoria’s newest distilleries
  • Gin tasters
  • Gin and tonic on arrival and lunch at Animus Distillery (limited dietary options available)
  • Gin and tonic at Patient Wolf
  • A mini-martini at Bad Frankie

When are we going?                                        

Saturday 24th February 2018

How much?

$150 will get you a spot on the tour.

Terms & Conditions

Attendees must be over 18.

No refunds or exchanges.

Please drink responsibly.

Japanese Gins

The gin craze is still booming and new markets are entering the fray (keep your eyes on South America and India). With massive success in the whisky sector, it’s no surprise that Japan is creating gin. What’s so fantastic about new countries taking an interest in gin is their use of local botanicals.
I’ve taken a look at four Japanese gins, their ingredients and production processes – all of which are remarkably different.

Nikka Coffey Gin

This gin is named after the “Coffey Still”, a traditional continuous still that Nikka uses to produce its signature grain whiskies.
Coffey still at Killbeggan Distillery

Botanicals

Yuzu
Nikki Coffey gin has 11 botanicals, traditional; juniper, angelica, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel and local- yuzu (like a cross between a lemon and mandarin), kabosu (related to yuzu and used instead of vinegar in some dishes), amanatsu (another citrus), and shequasar (a sort of flat lemon) apple juice and Sanshō pepper.
Citrus dominates the aroma and flavour of this gin. It’s a complete full-bodied, punchy flavour bomb. Juicy and peppery. Ideal in a gin and tonic.
ABV: 47%

Roku – Suntory

Suntory owns some of the best known whisky brands in the world but in Japan, they’re behind Hakushu, Hibiki and Yamasaki.  Yamasaki put Japanese whisky firmly on the map when whisky critic, Jim Murray, declared it the “best in the world”.
‘Roku’ means 6, referencing the 6 botanicals used to make the gin. Suntory owns a craft distillery called ‘Liquor Atelier’  which own four different types of pot stills. Each botanical is distilled separately and in keeping with their character. For example cherry blossom is distilled using vacuum distillation to protect the delicate flavours, while yuzu is distilled in a traditional pot still to extract maximum flavour.
Cherry Blossom

Botanicals

Juniper, coriander angelica(root and seed), cardamom, cinnamon, bitter orange peel, lemon peel plus sakura (cherry blossom) flower and leaf, Sencha tea, Gyokuro tea (green tea grown in the shade rather than full sun), Sanshō pepper and Yuzu peel
Citrus is still obvious on the nose but the flavour is balanced with the cherry blossom and the earthier botanicals. It has a great peppery finish too. It’s a more complex gin than Nikka Coffey and would work across a variety of cocktails, particularly in a martini.
ABV 43%

Ki No Bi

Ki No Bi gin (‘The Beauty of the Seasons’) comes from The Kyoto distillery which was only founded in 2015, but is already making a name for itself. Head Distiller, Alex Davies, has a strong gin pedigree. After finishing his studies at Heriot Watt he went on to Chase and then Cotswold Distillery before heading off to Japan.

It’s the first Japanese gin made in Kyoto and the team wanted to create a gin using native ingredients  wherever possible. As a nod to the heritage of the area, they use a rice spirit base from the famous sake–brewing district, Fushimi. Their botanicals in to six different categories: Base, Citrus, Tea, Herbal, Spice and Floral. Each category is distilled separately and then blended together.

Ki No Bi Botanicals

Juniper, orris root, hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood chips make up the base botanicals. Lemon and Yuzu are the citrus. Gyokuro ( a type of tea grown in the shade) is obviously in the tea group. Ginger is the spice component, while  red shiso and bamboo leaves are the floral botanicals. Sanshō pepper and Kinome (a Japanese herb in the same family as Sanshō) fall under the herbal category
Juniper is more pronounced (hooray!) in both aroma and flavour than the other gins in the group. Yuzu is there with hints of bitterness from the tea. The full-bodied flavour is rich and it has a  lengthy dry finish with plenty of heat and spice.
ABV: 45%

Wa Bi gin

Wa Bi Gin (‘Japan Beautiful Gin’) is produced at the Tsunuki distillery, owned by Hombo Shuzo, who also own the Mars Shinshu distillery. They also use a base of rice spirit which has been twice distilled.

Botanicals

Juniper berries, cinnamon leaf, shell ginger, bitter orange, yuzu, kumquat, lemon, ginger, green tea leaves, and perilla (part of the mint family).
This one took me a couple of times to get my head around. Initially, I was getting a lot of malt on the nose and palate but on revisiting (and after tasting some sake for comparison – tough gig!) I think that it’s the rice spirit pushing through the botanicals a little. Definitely one for the citrus gin lovers among you, the inclusion of ginger creates a lovely warming finish. Not my favourite of the four, but I’ll be giving it another go for sure!
ABV: 45%

Drinking  Japanese gin

Most of the gins I tried are citrus forward so work well in gin and tonics and sours. However, the drier styles would be great in a Saketini (yep, a martini made with gin and sake) or a Yuzu Collins.  You could also take a look at these Sencha tea and gin cocktails.
Gin Saketini
Yuzu Collins

Verdict? My pick of the bunch has to be Ki No Bi, followed closely by Roku. It will be interesting to see what Japan will bring to the gin category over the next few years as the existing whisky distilleries expand their portfolios.

Which Japanese gins have you tried?