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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Kis Old Tom ~ Kangaroo Island Spirits, South Australia
NAVY STRENGTH GIN
OTHER (UNLISTED GIN) – does not fit into any other category
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!
Gin distillers also did well in the Smaller Scale Production Trophies, with Suter & Sons winning Champion Australian Micro Batch Spirit:
While Animus Distillery was awarded Champion Australian Small Batch Spirit for their Arboretum Gin.
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.