The tribute gin martini

Le Tribute gin

Le Tribute gin has one of the most gorgeous bottles I’ve ever seen. It’s made by MG Destilerias, a family owned distillery founded in 1835 and situated just outside Barcelona in Spain. They began as producers of syrups and medicines, hence the apothecary style bottle. Their first gin, Gin MG,  launched in 1940 and remains a strong seller in Spain. Spotting the rising gin boom, the family launched Gin Mare in 2007, to huge success (it’s certainly one of my favorites!).

Now the distillery has created Le Tribute – the LE is an abbreviation of Liquid Experience –  gin, mezcal and tonic water.

I am fortunate to have someone who could bring me a bottle from overseas as it’s not readily available in Australia (yet!)

Le Tribute gin botanicals

Le Tribute gin contains; juniper, lime, kumquat, pink and green grapefruit, tangerine, cardamom, sweet and bitter oranges and lemongrass.

Distilling

MG Destilerias uses fractional distillation to make Le Tribute gin. This highly complex process involves distilling all the botanicals separately before blending them back together – Melbourne Gin Company also uses this method. Lemongrass is the only botanical distilled in water, creating a hydrosol, to retain freshness, while the others are distilled in neutral wheat spirit.

Tasting Le Tribute gin

Just by reading the ingredients you can tell this will be a citrus forward gin, but to be honest that’s an understatement! The juniper takes a back seat to the fresh, juicy citrus flavours that abound. They’ve even written ‘fresh’ on the label!

On opening the bottle the aroma of sweet orange blossom hits you before the other citrus powers through, I found grapefruit and tangerine the most dominant.

Flavourwise it’s a bold, full-bodied gin with a delicious citrus tang. I thought it was almost lemon sherbet-like. There are also herbaceous notes from the juniper and lemongrass.

This gin falls firmly into the ‘contemporary’ group of gins with a less juniper dominant flavour, but is a great example of taking the spirit to its furthermost boundaries.

Drinking Le Tribute gin

Le Tribute gin makes a great gin and tonic, but the bold citrus flavour means that it works just as well with soda water (good news for all the tonic haters). It’s so full of juicy citrus flavour that you really don’t need a garnish either, unless you want something pretty to look at!

It makes a deliciously dry martin – I used a 60/30ml ratio and garnished with orange peel and an olive. Why? Because sometimes I like both!

Le Tribute gin martini

As you’d expect from a gin with strong citrus orange flavour, it was heavenly in a negroni, with the mandarin and bitter orange emboldened by the campari.

Le tribute gin negroni

If you are looking for something a little different with a bottle to die for, Le Tribute would be a good choice!

ABV 43%

Country of Origin: Spain

Price: Medium

You can follow Le Tribute on instagram and  Facebook

herno gins sloe gin fizz

Hernö gins

Jon Hillgren, owner and distiller of Hernö gins headed off for London in the late ’90s to become a bartender. It was while learning his craft that he fell in love with gin and returned to Sweden with dreams of opening a gin distillery. Supported by friends and family he realised this dream in 2011 when Hernö Distillery became the first gin distillery in Sweden. It’s a real family affair. Both Jon’s parents work at the distillery (up until recently, his mum used to number each bottle by hand) as does his twin sister Elin.

Since launching, Jon has created a range of gins that are some of the most awarded in the World, paving paved the way for other Scandinavian gins using local botanicals like lingo berries, caraway and dill. What sets Hernö apart is that all the botanicals used are certified organic.

These include (naturally), juniper berries, coriander, fresh lemon peel, lingon berries, meadowsweet, black pepper, cassia and vanilla.

lingonberries
Lingon berries

All the gins are produced using a one-shot method on a copper still and cut with water from Hernö distillery’s own well.

Hernö gins still
The Hernö gins still

Hernö gin

hernö gins gin and tonic
Gin and Tonic

I tried this gin nearly three years ago now,  and fell in love with it straightaway. It’s easy to see why it’s the most awarded gin in Europe (2013–2017) and the World’s best Gin 2017. It’s a traditional London dry style with plenty of juniper and citrus. Fresh and bright, it has a subtle sweetness on the finish. A cracking gin and tonic gin!

Hernö Navy Strength

Hernö Navy Strength gimlet

Hernö Navy Strength in uses the same base at the original gin but is only diluted down to 57.7% ABV. Rich and bold, but not overwhelming, it’s superb in a gimlet.

Hernö Old Tom

Vying for one of my favourite labels,  Hernö Old Tom is a wonderful interpretation of this style of gin. Using the original Hernö gin as a base, Jon sweetens it with meadowsweet and honey, creating a deliciously well-balanced Old Tom. I love the honey notes on the finish. Try it in a Martinez.

herno gins martinez
Martinez

Hernö Juniper Cask gin

Long-time readers will know I am extremely picky about barrel-aged gins. Much of the juniper character than I love so much is lost through aging. Jon’s unique method of using small juniper casks (39.25 liters) and only ‘resting the gin for 30 days, retains and deepens the juniper flavour while adding warmth and spice. Enjoy over ice or enjoy in an Old-Fashioned.

a Hernö juniper cask

 

hernö gins old fashioned
Old Fashioned

Hernö Sloe gin

Charlie-Chaplin-Cocktail
Charlie Chaplin Cocktail

Organic sloe berries are macerated in original Hernö gin for three months before sugar is added. It’s not as sickly or cloying as some sloe gins can be and retains fresh fruit flavours. Sip neat over ice or in a Sloe Gin Fizz or Charlie Chaplin cocktail.

There are also couple of limited edition Hernö gins but the batches are too small to get any here in Australia. Hernö Blackcurrant is a fruity, jammy sensation but my favourite is the High Coast Terroir gin which changes recipe every year. All the botanicals are hand-picked by Jon in the UNESCO World Heritage Area of the High Coast, Sweden. Only 400 bottles were made last year so it sold out super quickly. Fortunately Jon brought some with him when he came to Australia for Junipalooza Melbourne and I had a taste then. It was incredible!

Hernö gins scream quality, whichever style you choose. If you want to check out the full list of awards, check out the awards page on their website! Jon’s care and attention to detail is obvious and it’s no accident that he has been the recipient of the Gin producer of the Year award by the IWSC ~ he’s also a great guy! The Hernö stand was very popular at Junipalooza Melbourne 2017 – the team completely sold out of stock in two days – so I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll see him again this year!

Jon and I at Junipalooza London 2017

You can follow Hernö on Facebook and Instagram

For stockists contact Vanguard Luxury Brands.

Top 10 Australian Gins 2017

Top 10 Australian Gins of 2017

2017 was another massive year for Australian gin and the passion evident from our eager guests at Junipalooza Melbourne shows that there is a great appetite for local gins. Which is fantastic as 2018 will see even more gin distilleries opening!

For now, though, I’ve put together my Top 10 Australian gins for 2017. It was a tough job to limit my list to just ten. Obviously, making a list like this is very subjective and I know many of you will have your own favorites. Note, I’ve only included gins that are readily available to the exclusion of some limited editions.

Why did these gins make the list? Excellent quality base spirit is a must. The more neutral the better as it allows the botanicals to shine. All of these gins have great balance. During my event in September with Leslie Gracie, master distiller of Hendrick’s gin, she spoke passionately about balance in gin making, creating a ’roundness’ of flavours without ‘spikes’ of dominant botanicals.

Interestingly, and not deliberately, three out of the ten are all from Adelaide, showing the dominance South Australia is showing within the industry.

Loch Brewery & Distillery G&T gin

Craig and Mel from Loch Brewery and Distillery have already created two great gins; with their original and ‘The Weaver‘, which is one of my favourite gins using native botanicals. Craig has been tinkering with a recipe for a gin and tonic gin for some time before releasing it this year. Featuring juniper, bergamot, pepper berry, aniseed myrtle, roasted wattleseed and coriander, this is a wonderfully balanced addition to the Loch range.

Wild Brumby The Stallion Navy Strength gin

Wild Brumby’s origins lie in making schnapps, but their foray into gin making this year has yielded impressive results. Out of the three gins, Stallion got my vote. At 57% it’s a bold gin but easily sipped over ice. Citrus forward with a mouth-watering pepper berry finish, it’s perfect as a G&T but fabulous as a gimlet.

Distillery Botanica Rather Royal Gin

Philip Moore, one of Australia’s most distinguished distillers, collaborated with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney to produce the Rather Royal Gin, a fancier version of his Garden Grown Gin. As you’d expect from Philip, it’s a beautiful, floral gin, bursting with delicate flavours, so be careful not to drown it with an overpowering tonic.

Anther (formerly Artemis) Cherry gin

Anther’s original gin is a delicious juniper forward spirit and they use this as a base for their Cherry gin. Tasmanian cherries are macerated in the gin for three weeks before being removed and soaked in water to get the last of their juice. This cherry water is then used to cut the gin (dilute) to bottling strength. Surprisingly complex, fruity but with an expectedly dry finish. I like it with soda water.

Dasher & Fisher Ocean gin

Southern Wild Distillery

Distiller, George Burgess at Southern Wild Distillery in Devonport has a background in food science and set out to create gins that can be enjoyed alongside food. All three gins contain a base of Tasmanian pepper berry, locally sourced lavender and wakame seaweed that are dialed up or down in each variety. My favourite is the Ocean gin which is driven by the wakame seaweed which fills your mouth with umami before moving onto a delicate somewhat floral finish. George has succeeded in creating a gin that captures the Tasmanian seascape.

McHenry Federation gin

William McHenry selected botanicals from each State in Australia; Kakadu plum from the Northern Territory, lemon myrtle from Queensland, strawberry gum from New South Wales, mountain pepperleaf from the ACT, cinnamom myrtle from Victoria, celery top pine from Tasmania, wattleseed from South Australia, and quandong from Western Australia and  distilled them individually before blending them together to create this tasty, vibrant and quintessentially Australian gin!

Red Hen Dry gin

Red Hen Gin

A group of friends who caught the old Red Hen trains to school together decided to make a gin together in the Adelaide CBD, while continuing with their day jobs. Less than a month after launching Red Hen Gin it took out the ‘Champion Small Batch Spirit’ at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards! This vapour infused gin contains native muntrie berries, citrus and peppercorns but is a wonderfully traditional London dry style gin.

Green Ant gin

Green Ant gin

Adelaide Hills’ collaboration with Something Wild beverages, is a bright, citrus forward gin that uses green ants as a botanical. More than just a gimmick, Green Ant gin supports Indigenous communities from where the green ants are harvested and illustrates how native botanicals can be used imaginatively and sustainably.

Manly Spirits gin

Manly Spirits Gin

Manly Spirits gin burst on to the Australian gin scene with its beautifully designed bottle and interesting use of native botanicals that include locally foraged sea lettuce. They’ve recently added a Coastal gin to the line-up and I would also include this edition in my pick of 2017 gins.

Never Never Triple Juniper gin

I fell hard for Never Never Triple Juniper gin when it was released in August. Yes, they’ve used native botanicals but this gin shrieks juniper, juniper and more juniper and is everything a great gin should be. Without a doubt, my Australian gin of 2017. The Southern Strength and Juniper Freak versions have also proved popular at GQHQ and I can’t wait to see what the team have in store for 2018.

Colombo No. 7 gin

Although Colombo No. 7 gin was only launched in 2015, this gin has a story going back 70 years.

Rockland Distillery was founded in 1924, and was the first commercial distillery in Sri Lanka . Originally they made Arrack, but were asked by the British Government to switch production to other spirits to support the war effort. A special regulation was passed to allow non-native spirits to be produced (CMFL, Ceylon Foreign Made Foreign Liquor).

Colombo No. 7 Gin
Newspaper coverage of Rockland Distillery opening.

Founder Carl de Silva Wijeyeratne’s favourite gin was Tanqueray, so his recipe was based on this. However, the war prevented Carl accessing traditional gin botanicals, so he had to look closer to home. Cinnamon (from the cinnamon gardens of Sri Lanka), ginger and curry leaf were added to his base of juniper, coriander, angelica and licorice.

When Carl’s grandson, Amal,  joined the company in 2005 to rebuild the distillery following the tsunami in 2004, he delved into the archives and discovered his grandfather’s original recipe and decided to relaunch it as Colombo No. 7.

Today, Amal has moved production of Colombo No. 7 to the UK to protect the business from government intervention, however, the gin remains true to his grandfather’s recipe.

Tasting Colombo No. 7 gin

Colombo Gin No. 7 at Junipalooza Melbourne (image by Bar/d Up)

Having read the list of botanicals, I was expecting something a bit weird tasting, and possibly over spiced. I am not a fan of cinnamon either. So It was a relief to discover that Colombo No. 7 is a properly balanced gin. Juniper and citrus aromas and flavours abound, followed by subtle cinnamon. The finish has great white pepper notes. In case you were wondering it doesn’t taste of curry!

Drinking Colombo No. 7 gin

Pretty much a perfect G&T, crisp with juniper and citrus with the curry leaves coming through on the finish. I used their suggested garnish of curry leaves which was delicious, but there are plenty of other garnishes that could work well like ginger, lime or mango (that one courtesy of my friends at Gin Foundry!).

In a martini, I’d definitely go dry with a twist of lemon or lime. I loved Colombo No. 7 in a Negroni,  the  cinnamon, angelica and licorice providing a solid balance against the Campari. I used cinnamon stick for a garnish/stirrer.

This was an unexpected delight of a gin and already a firm favourite at GQHQ!

Country of Origin: UK

ABV: 43.1%

Price Medium

You can follow Colombo No. 7 gin on Facebook, twitter and instagram

Garden Tiger Gin

Garden Tiger gin from Carpreoulus Distillery (named after the Roe Deer) won the hugely prestigious ‘Whisky Exchange Spirit of the Year 2017’.

Distiller, Barney Wilczek, started out as a photographer covering conservation stories and this fascination with the natural world lead to a journey into distilling. Garden Tiger gin was not the spirit he made. Instead, Barney’s initially focussed on making Eaux de Vie (fruit brandies that are created through fermentation and distillation).

Unlike many of the gins that come to market at the moment with the botanical recipe is kept a secret, although Barney admits to using organic blood oranges and mullein, a flowering plant that has been used as a herbal remedy for years.

Mullein

Barney uses several processes in creating Garden Tiger gin. The hard spices, berries and herbs are macerated in neutral grain spirit for 40 hours, while fresh blood orange zest, flowers and leaves are vapour infused. In total 34 ingredients are combined during a slow 7 hour distillation. Barney insists on avoiding chill filtering which can remove some of the flavours produced.

Tasting Garden Tiger Gin

The aroma of fresh oranges is apparent almost immediately with subtle hints of cardamom and juniper. Bright, fresh orange flavours filled my mouth, lengthening into a delicious peppery warmth. At the end there is a touch of bitterness you’d find in orange peel and a little sherbet-like fizz. Garden Tiger gin is a full-bodied gin, delicious neat over ice or in a cocktail.

Drinking Garden Tiger GIn

I only had lime to hand when it came to garnishing my Garden Tiger G&T, but think a slice of orange would work better.

garden tiger gin bottle and negroni

As you’d expect with a gin using blood oranges as a botanical, Garden Tiger gin makes an excellent Negroni. The full flavours in Garden Tiger gin would add a delicious richness in a Martinez.

The attention to detail, from the hand fed letter-press labels, the embellished cork to the distinctive bottle are signs of the quality you can expect from the liquid within.

Country of Origin: UK

ABV:47%

Price: High

Available from Nicks Wine Merchants

Gin Palace turns 20!

Gin Palace turns 20!

When I first started Then Gin Queen, Gin Palace was the first place to go and learn all I could from then-manager Shaun Byrne (Now Maidenii) and current manager Trish Brew.

World Gin Day 2017

In an ever-fickle world, bars come and go and it’s considered a success to pass the 2-3 year mark. So for Gin Palace, Melbourne to be celebrating her 20th Birthday next week, is a truly amazing achievement!

Back in 1997, Vernon Chalker’s vision (along with Daniel Besen, Robert Lehrer, and Michael Kantor) was for a friendly cocktail lounge with no attitude and table service, unheard of in the ’90s!

The bar was designed to imitate an 1870’s lounge bar in Budapest, renovated in the 1950’s. Martinis and cigars were the order of the day, whilst Burt Bacharach and the James Bond theme played until 3am.

Having seen off the The GFC and the change to smoking laws, Gin Palace is now embracing the wave of new local and global craft gins. To celebrate her 20 years of service Gin Palace is closing Russell Place for one day only, not only as a celebration for Gin Palace but also for the laneway and Melbourne itself.

Gin Palace turns 20!

**WIN 2 VIP tickets to the Gin Palace turns 20 party**

Join me on the red carpet for what promises to the party of the year! There will be martinis on arrival, oysters, chicken sandwiches, a band from 5.30 and a roulette table in the Casino Royal! (Swamp room) If you’ve  ever been to Gin Palace on World Gin Day, you’ll know the team know how to party!

For a chance to win simply answer the following question:

Terms & Conditions

  • Competition open to over 18s only
  • One entry per person (duplicates will be deleted)
  • Competition closes on Wednesday 1st November at midnight
  • Winners will be notified within 24 hours.

GOOD LUCK!

Never Never Distilling Co Triple Juniper Gin

I am very fortunate doing what I do, I tend to hear about the latest gins before they reach the stores and often get to try samples and early developmental iterations and asked to give feedback. I get to see and taste the latest experimentations from a  wide variety of distillers and am in awe of their talent and innovation.

However, I sometimes wonder whether the quest to have a “point of difference” to all the others gins out there (approximately 6,000) means distillers are straying too far from what makes gin (i.e. JUNIPER), gin resulting in little more than flavored vodka with the word gin on the label. I’m not saying there is anything wrong flavoured vodka, but there the cynic in me does question whether “GIN” is being slapped on a label because people know that gin sells.

So it was an immense relief (I may have actually gasped in delight) when I heard about Never Never gin and read the words “Triple Juniper gin on the label. As an unashamed juniper junkie I confess the pine and camphor notes of juniper fizzing around in a gin and tonic are what makes me happy. The last time a gin made this happy was when I tasted Sipsmith’s VJOP, another juniper-rich gin.

Triple Juniper  gin is made in Adelaide by Tim, Sean and George from The Never Never Distilling Co. The name comes from the terms ‘Never Never’ which was first recorded in the late 19th century and was used to describe the uninhabited regions of Australia – then called just ‘The Never-Never’. The more remote regions of Australia’s outback are still known by that name. “Heading into the Never Never” was a test of strength and courage, with many an early explorer perishing in the vast expanses of Australia’s harsh outback.

For the team this term best describes the the excitement, dreams and the challenges that stretch out for a thousand miles in the journey of every small Australian distillery.

The Never Never Distilling team, from L: R George, Tim and Sean

I caught up with the team when I was in Adelaide recently and had a gander at their teeny tiny distillery (expansion looms) and to find out more about Never Never Distilling Co.

The trio met in typical Adelaide fashion (i.e. everyone knows everyone) with Tim and Sean’s wives being best friends. Tim and George were at Uni together and when the three of them met at Whisky Live one year, the idea of making gin (and eventually whisky) in Adelaide was born.

The still was designed and made in Melbourne by Spark Brewing ( it was one of the  first stills to come off their assembly line) and is a 300L copper pot with a  5 plate rectification column and gin vapour basket, both of which can be disconnected from the copper pot if required, allowing plenty of flexibility in terms of what the team can create. They decided to decided to call her ‘Wendy’ because there could not have been a lovelier sight!

Never Never gin

As the name Triple Juniper gin suggests, the Never Never team use three different techniques to extract the most flavour from the juniper. They macerate (steep the juniper in the alcohol before distillation), distill in the pot and vapour infuse the berries to achieve the bold juniper flavour profile.

Triple Juniper Gin Botanicals

In addition to juniper the team use Australian coriander (they felt provided a brighter citrus and less earthiness than other coriander) plus angelica, orris root, native pepper berry  and a small amount of cinnamon.

Tasting Never Never Triple Juniper Gin

The divine juniper gin sings out immediately upon opening the bottle, with zesty citrus aromas that made my mouth water. On tasting it has a bright piney juniper flavour with fresh citrus following through and a hint of rosemary. Earthy orris and angelica balance out the juniper and pleasant heat from the pepper berry provides a warm finish. Delicious and full-bodied with plenty of texture, Triple Juniper Gin makes a stunning G&T but is outstanding in a martini as I discovered at Maybe Mae in Adelaide.

Never never gin
A stunning Dry Martini made its Triple Juniper Gin at Maybe Mae, Adelaide

Dark Series Southern Strength

Never Never’s Dark Series will consist of experimental and limited edition spirits. The first of these is their Southern Strength. Described by the team as a “beast of a gin” and coming in at 52% ABV you can see why. They used the same technique as with the Triple Juniper gin, but have tweaked the recipe slightly.

Army & Navy Cocktail made with Never Never Southern Strength gin

It’s certainly bolder than the original, without being overpowering. The smoothness hides the higher ABV. It has a  slightly oily, resinous texture. Juniper is still the driving force, but the tweak to the recipe has given it a lengthier finish. I used this to make a glorious Army and Navy cocktail.

I am often over enthusiastic about gin. I do LOVE it so. However, with Never Never Triple Juniper Gin, I would go out on a limb and say that this is probably the best gin I have tasted all year (so far!).

Origin: Australia

ABV: 43/53%

Price: Medium

You can follow Never Never Distilling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

They will also be joining us at Junipalooza Melbourne in October. To get your tickets click here.

Gin Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is coming up in Australia, so I’ve put together some ideas for Gin Gifts for Dad.

Liquid-Intelligence-by-Dave-Arnold

Tatty Devine Gilbert and George Gin Cufflinks

Carry -On-Cocktail-Kit-Gin-and-Tonic

 

Gilbert-and-George-Cufflinks-by-Tatty-Devine

GILBERT AND GEORGE GIN BOTTLE CUFFLINKS BY TATTY DEVINE

Inspired by art duo Gilbert & George and their artistic approach to drink, these cufflinks are a button-through style, with a Tatty Devine plectrum fastening. Also available as a necklace.

Via The Gin Queen Shop.

Enright’s Gin Company Grooming Kit

Featuring gin scented hair paste and hand wash.

Available from Enright’s Gin Company

Calibrate Gin and Tonic Pocket Square

Dad will look super fancy wearing this divine pocket square (Available from Nordstrom)

gin gifts for dad

Negroni/Martini pins from Love and Victory

These pins have been flying out of the Gin Queen store since I began stocking them. Dad will love one or both of these on his lapel.

 

Available from The Gin Queen Shop

 

NEVER NEVER GIN

The newest Australian gin  from Adelaide will not disappoint if your dad is a juniper junkie like me.  I’ll be doing a review in the coming weeks, but all you need to know right now is that Triple juniper gin is freaking delicious! (the juniper is treated in three separate ways, partially steeped, partially in the pot and partially in the vapour, hence the name!

Available from Never Never Distilling.

gin gifts for dad

 

Jo Malone Black Cedarwood & Juniper Cologne 100ml

Described as Midnight rain. Seductive with the carnal touch of cumin and chilli leaves. Dark with cedarwood. Humid with moss. Modern and urban.

Via David Jones

gin gifts for dad

Gumball Poodle Gin Crew Socks Blue/Yellow

OK, so socks for Dad are a bit passé, but how great are these?

gin gifts for dad

Via Dugg.com.au

 

 

NACHTMANN
Punk Long Drink x4

I adore these The Nachtmann NextGen line PUNK highball glasses which have has been developed in cooperation with the world-famous arts and design college Central Saint Martins in London. An edgy way to serve up your G&Ts!Available from David Jones.

gin gifts for dad

(NOTE: I HAVEN’T BEEN PAID TO ENDORSE THESE PRODUCTS, THEY ARE JUST THINGS I THOUGHT YOU’D LIKE!)
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Australian gins scoop 23 medals at IWSC

The IWSC (International Wines and Spirits Competition) is up there with the San Francisco World Spirits Awards in terms of prestige. Now in its 48th year, the IWSC not only has an experienced judging panel, but also puts each entry under chemical analysis to ensure the products are what they say they are. Integrity, accuracy and impartiality are at the heart of the competition’s ethos.

This year, the IWSC received nearly 400 gin entries from 35 different countries – an enormous 571% increase since 2013!

23 Australian gins were awarded medals; One gold medal, 17 silvers and 6 bronze.

Here are the winners:

GOLD MEDAL

Moore’s Dry Gin, Distillery Botanica, Erina, NSW

(PSA: Gin Queen on Tour to Sydney on 6th September will be visiting Distillery Botanica. Tickets available here.)

SILVER MEDALS

Brookie's gin

Brookie’s Gin Silver Outstanding, Cape Byron Distillery, NSW ~ Contemporary Styles

Angry Ant Gin

Angry Ant Gin, Bass & Flinders, Victoria ~ Contemporary Styles

Gin – Soft & Smooth , Bass & Flinders ~  Contemporary Styles

Archie Rose Distiller’s Strength Gin, Sydney, NSW ~Contemporary Styles
PLUS  Bronze 2017 in Gin & Tonic category

IWSC

Botanical Gin, Great Southern Distilling Company, WA ~ Contemporary Styles

IWSC results

Copper wave Gin, Hunter Distillery, NSW ~  Old Tom

IWSC results

Darley’s Gin, Aldi Stores Aust/Asahi ~ London Dry

four-pillars-barrel-aged-gin

Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gin, Healesville, Vic ~  Wood Finished
Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin, Healesville, Vic ~ Contemporary Styles
Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, Healesville, Vic ~ Contemporary Styles
Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin ~Contemporary Styles

kangeroo-island-spirits-wild-gin

Kangaroo Island Spirits Wild Gin ~ Contemporary Styles
PLUS  Silver 2017 in Gin & Tonic category
Kangaroo Island Spirits Old Tom ~ Old Tom category
Kangaroo Island Spirits  Whisky Barrel Gin Silver Outstanding ~ Cask Finished

23rd Street Distillery Signature Gin, Adelaide, SA ~ Contemporary Styles

IWSC results

The Splendid Gin, TAS ~  Contemporary Styles

BRONZE MEDALS

Prohibition Bathtub Cut Gin ~ Wood Finished – 69%
PLUS Gold medal in Packaging

Bass & Flinders Gin 10 – Wild & Spicy ~ Contemporary Styles

Bass & Flinders Monsoon Gin ~ Contemporary Styles

Kalki Moon Premium Gin ~ London Dry
PLUS Bronze medal 2017 in Gin & Tonic category

Kangaroo Island Spirits O’ Gin~ Contemporary Styles

Ounce Gin ~ Contemporary Styles

Distillery Botanica Rather Royal Gin ~ London Dry
PLUS Bronze medal in Packaging category

Huge congratulations to all the medallists!

58 gin and tonic

58 Gin

While I didn’t manage to crack 8 distilleries in 7 days like I did during my 2015 trip, I was able to pop into a couple, including 58 Gin in Hackney, where I caught up with owner and Master Distiller, Mark Marmont.

58 gin
Mark Marmont

Originally from Australia, Mark settled in London after meeting his wife. He didn’t like gin back then, put off by his dislike of cardamom and star anise which he found in many of the gins he tried. He started to take an interest in the London cocktail scene and as he learned more about gin from his bartender friends, decided to develop his own gin.

Mark opened the 58 gin distillery on Australia Day 2014, fitting for the former dive master and boat skipper from Sydney. Nestled under the railway arches in Hackney, the distillery is a tiny space filled with alembic stills in a variety of sizes. I was struck by the tidiness (I’ve been to A LOT of distilleries that could learn a thing or two) and Mark proudly showed off all the carefully designed hidden storage space that keeps the distillery in order.

58 Gin Branding created by celebrated tattoo artist and designer Mo Coppoletta.

Why 58 gin? Fortunately, this isn’t a reference to the number of botanicals, but is the number on the door of Mark’s house. The angel wings on the label represent Angel, the London borough where Mark lives.

Distillation

Mark follows a traditional (one-shot) method of producing his gin.  The botanicals are steeped over night and distilled very slowly to get the maximum flavour from the ingredients. It’s a painstaking process and only 90 bottles are produced at a time.

58 gin
One of two alembic pot stills used to make 58 gin
58 gin
I’d love to know why distillers name their stills, but Mark has dutifully named all of his.

58 Gin Botanicals

Mark, like many distillers, initially experimented at his kitchen bench, playing around with different ingredients and refining his recipe. At one point he told me he had 30 different botanicals on the go and in his words “it was ridiculous! I couldn’t find any balance”. After paring everything back to the basics he settled on nine; juniper, coriander seeds, orris root, angelica, cubeb pepper, Sicilian lemon, pink grapefruit, bergamot and bourbon vanilla.

Tasting 58 Gin

Juniper and grapefruit notes are really clear on the nose. On the palate, it totally hits the mark with good juniper flavour and delicious citrus notes from the grapefruit and bergamot. There is a little lingering pepperiness from the cubeb and a merest hint of vanilla that thankfully doesn’t overpower. It’s a full-bodied gin with a smooth, round finish. So tasty!

Drinking 58 Gin

With lots of juniper and citrus, 58 gin is a natural winner in a G&T, but savoury enough to enjoy in a martini. Mark’s preference is in a Gibson (silverskin onions are always available in the distillery fridge) and I tend to agree!

Gibson martini 58 gin

While 58 Gin isn’t available to buy in Australia at the moment, it can’t surely be long before we welcome this delightful gin. I’ve already started nagging Mark about Junipalooza Melbourne next year!

Country of Origin: UK

ABV: 43%

Price: Medium

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