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.

Patient Wolf Gin

Patient Wolf Gin

“A gentleman is simply a patient wolf “~ Lana Turner

Lana’s quote is an apt one for Dave and Matt at Patient Wolf gin. Plenty is required when setting up a distillery. Like many before them it took the team almost three years to set up in Brunswick, Melbourne. Finally in October last year they welcomed Sebastian Mueller, 4th Generation still maker, to Melbourne to help them build their stunning Mueller still and what a beauty she is!

Patient Wolf Gin
Patient Wolf Gin Still

Matt and Dave then had the tricky task of taking the recipe they had created on their tiny desk-top still and making it work on the full-size one. Not an easy feat as many distillers will tell you. The team spent hours with several of Melbourne’s top bartenders like Trish Brew at Gin Palace and Seb Costello at Bad Frankie sharing their test batches and looking for feedback. They were finally happy with the recipe in December and launched Batch 1 on crowd funding site, Pozible.

Matt Argus and Dave Irwin from Patient Wolf Gin

The botanicals

The gin features both native and traditional botanicals. Steeped overnight and distilled in the pot are juniper berries, coriander seeds, orris root, angelica root, cardamom, cubeb pepper and the interesting (and extremely expensive) tonka bean. Tonka bean is a relatively recent inclusion in gins, but it’s long been used as a replacement for vanilla, in perfumes and tobacco. Fresh local organic ruby grapefruit, fresh organic oranges and aniseed myrtle (from northern NSW) are vapour infused in the botanical basket. Dave found the aniseed myrtle too overpowering to use directly in the pot still!

Patient Wolf Gin
Tonka Bean. (Image via Hidden Souk)

Tasting Patient Wolf gin

I was fortunate to taste some of Matt and Dave “gins in progress” while they were refining the recipe and it’s exciting to see how far they have come from the initial batches. I recently received Batch No. 5 to taste and trial.

On the nose Patient Wolf has hints of citrus, light vanilla and earthy/musky notes. To taste, citrus starts us off before moving into floral, earthy notes with a faint touch of parma violet (I’m guessing from the orris root and angelica) followed by a lengthy spicy finish. It has a wonderfully smooth feel on the mouth.

Drinking Patient Wolf gin

patient wolf gin
Patient Wolf gin Negroni

Patient Wolf makes a fine gin and tonic, not as juniper forward as I like, but delicious with a wedge of ruby grapefruit as per their recommendation. For martini lovers, I’d try it in a wet rather than a dry. Where Patient Wolf really stood out for me was in a Negroni. The musky, earthy notes provide a good backbone against the sweetness of the vermouth and bitterness of the Campari.

Patience has certainly paid off for Dave and Matt. Producing a quality gin is not as easy as you’d think! Patient Wolf was a worthy recipient of a Silver Medal at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2017 and I’m looking forward to watching what the team does next.

Country of Origin: Australia

Price: Medium

You can follow Patient Wolf gin on Facebook, instagram and twitter.

Loch Brewery and Distillery Gin

Readers of the blog will know that I’ve been to Loch Brewery and Distillery a couple of times now, partly to drink a G&T with Mel and Craig, and partly to stock up on English beer for Mr GQ.

Aside from their excellent hospitality and fabulous location, Loch Brewery & Distillery are making very good gin.

Mel and Craig decided to go the traditional route for their Loch Brewery and Distillery Gin by shaping their recipe from poring over old distilling books and not using any native Australian botanicals.

The coriander, mace, cassia, angelica, liquorice, and other assorted botanicals (around 12-14 in total) are all ground by hand using a pestle and mortar. Craig says “We found this brought a fresh and balanced flavour profile to the gin.  We tried mechanically grinding once but we didn’t like the way the aroma profile worked so we went back doing it by hand.”

This ‘botanical powder’ is then added to the pot still with the juniper berries ready for distillation. The still is one of the smallest I’ve encountered and was made to their specifications in Portugal.

loch-distillery-gin-still

Mel and Craig set out to produce a gin that could be sipped neat and I think they’ve done well to achieve that.

On the nose there is pine and citrus with some fresh, floral notes, (possibly lavender?). Flavour-wise it has pine, citrus, and lightly floral notes with some spice and warmth, finishing with a little liquorice, and  is very well-balanced.

It makes a fabulous G&T but being well-balanced would suit most gin cocktails.

loch-distillery-gin-and-tonic

Country of Origin: Australia

ABV: 41%

Price: Medium