2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

We’ve already celebrated our Australian gins’ success at the San Francisco World Spirits awards and the Spirit Business Spirits Masters, but now we turn out attention to the results of the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC), which were announced this week.

The IWSC is the oldest of the spirits competitions, and highly regarded due to its strict judging and testing of all the spirits entered. For Australian distillers to win a medal on gin’s home soil, makes it all the more special!

You’ll see that gins are judged by strength and style (contemporary or London Dry) as well as how it performs in a Gin and Tonic (VERY important!)

Last year,  Philip Moore became the first Australian distiller to claim a Gold medal for his eponymous dry gin. The 2018 IWSC results for Australian gins are outstanding, with 4 gins receiving gold medals and the total medal haul jumping from 23 medals to 44! Some of newest additions to the Australian gin category won medals, barely a few months after launching.

Congratulations one and all!

2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

GOLD

 

2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

Poor Toms Fool Strength category London Dry – 48-52%

2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

Archie Rose Distiller’s Strength Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 52-58%

2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

KIS Old Tom category Old Tom – Wood Aged – 42-46%

2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

Kalki Moon “Classic Gin” category London Dry – 37-38%

SILVER (outstanding)

 

Four Pillars Gin 2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin category in Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

kangeroo-island-spirits-wild-gin 2018 IWSC results for Australian gin

KIS Wild Gin category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Original Bushcrafted Dry category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Apothecary category  Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Mount Uncle Botanic Australis Bushfire Smoked Gin category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 45-48%+

Dasher + Fisher Sloe Gin category  Sloe Gin – 26-40%

SILVER

Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin category Gin & Tonic

Dasher + Fisher Meadow Gin category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 45-48%+

Dasher + Fisher Meadow Gin category Gin & Tonic

Dasher + Fisher Mountain Gin category Gin & Tonic

Dasher + Fisher Ocean Gin category Gin & Tonic

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 52-58%

Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Seppeltsfield Road Distillers House Gin category Gin – Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Never Never Juniper Freak Gin category Gin & Tonic

Kalki Moon “Premium Gin” category London Dry – 42%+

Manly Spirits Coastal Citrus Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Manly Spirits Coastal Citrus Gin category Gin & Tonic

Moore’s Distillers Cut Juniper Gin category London Dry – 45%+

Moore’s Distillers Cut Juniper Gin category Gin & Tonic

Poor Toms Sydney Dry category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Never Never Southern Strength Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 52-68%

Never Never Triple Juniper Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 43%

Never Never Triple Juniper Gin category Gin & Tonic

Underground Spirits Signature Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

BRONZE

Seppeltsfield Road Distillers Barossa Dry Gin category London Dry – 41%+

Mount Uncle Botanic Australis Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Dasher + Fisher Mountain Gin category London Dry – 45%+

High Spirits Distillery Dry Gin category London Dry – 42%

Hunter Distillery Aged Gin category Wood Aged – 48-52%

Never Never Juniper Freak Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 52-68%

Kalki Moon “Solstice Barrel Aged Gin” category Wood Aged – 44-45%

KIS Whisky Barrel Gin category Cask Finish – 40-46%

Original Classic Dry category London Dry – 40%+

Stone Pine Dry Gin category  Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

The Splendid Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

The Story Gin category Contemporary Styles – Australia – 40-43%+

Underground Spirits Signature Gin category Gin & Tonic

World Gin Day 2017 competition

Spirits Business Gin Masters 2018

Spirit competitions are many and varied, particularly in the gin arena, where distillers battle it out in an ever more saturated category. Whatever your views are on the merits of competitions, they are a welcome pat on the back for hardworking distillers, keen to see how their products stack up against other gins.

The Spirits Business Gin Masters 2018 revealed its results overnight and Australian distillers have done us proud. The results are particularly thrilling when you learn that the medal tally has quadrupled in the last 5 years, with quality becoming ever more important.

The gins were segmented into different sectors according to price and style, then blind-tasted by a panel of experts. Here are the Aussie medallists! For the full list of winners, head here.

Ultra Premium

Spirits Business Gin Masters 2018

The Melbourne Gin Company Single Shot gin ~ Master. Praised for  “its excellent botanical recipe” and “good length”.

Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin

The Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin ~ Gold

Super Premium

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin ~ Silver

Contemporary

spiced-negroni-gin

Four Pillars Spiced Negroni ~ Master. Praise from the judges : This is exactly the type of product I expect to get when the best distillers challenge what gin can be.”

Kangaroo Island Wild Gin ~ Silver

Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin ~ Silver

Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin ~Silver

Archie Rose Distiller’s Strength ~ Silver

Micro distillery

Never Never Distilling Triple Juniper Gin ~ Gold. Praise from the judges: “juicy, well­-integrated palate

Never Never Distilling Co Southern Strength ~ Silver

Cask Aged

Four Pillars Sherry Cask ~ Gold

Four Pillars Chardonnay Barrel Gin ~ Silver

Navy Strength

four-pillars-gunpowder-strength-dirty-martini

Four Pillars Navy Strength ~ Master. Praise from the judges: “a masterclass in distilling 

Flavoured Gin

Brookie’s Slow Gin ~ Silver

Kangaroo Island Spirits Old Tom Gin ~ Silver

 

Congratulations to all the distillers for their awards and raising the profile of our thriving industry on the global stage.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

Australian Gins win big in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017

Australian gin distillers have once again performed well against stiff global competition at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. I am so proud of our Australian gin distilling industry and the recognition they are receiving on the international stage.

2017 Entries

The number of gins entered into the competition increased to 268 entries in 2017  from 197 in 2016 (not including flavoured or aged gins).

This year Australian gins won 2 Double Golds (up from 1 in 2016), 4 Golds (down from 7 in 2016), 11 Silver (same as 2016) and 8 Bronze (up 1 from 2016). That means a total of 26 medals (the same overall result as in 2016).

The state with the most medals was Victoria (7), followed by South Australia and New South Wales (6 each), Tasmania and Western Australia (3 ) and Queensland with one medal.

This is an amazing achievement for our fledgling industry. I can’t wait to see what they do in 2018.

Here are the results:

DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL 2017 (Outstanding; earning top marks from all judges.)

Poltergeist-Gin-Tasmania

Shene Estate Poltergeist Unfiltered (TAS)

www.shene.com.au

The West Winds Broadside (WA)

23rd Street Distillery Gin (SA)

GOLD MEDAL 2017 (an excellent product, meeting very high standards)

Melbourne Gin Company Dry gin (VIC)

www.melbournegincompany.com

Strawberry-Basil-Gin-Smash
Poor Toms Strawberry Basil Gin Smash

Poor Toms Gin (NSW)

www.poortomsgin.com.au

Brookie's gin

Brookie’s gin (NSW)

www.capebyrondistillery.com.au

Distillery Botanica Rather Royal Gin (NSW)

www.distillerybotanica.com

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

Applewood gin (SA)

Poltergeist True Spirit (TAS)

Archie Rose Signature Dry gin (NSW)

Four Pillars Navy Strength gin (VIC)

Bass & Flinders Monsoon gin (VIC)

Dobson’s gin (NSW)

Manly Spirits gin (NSW)

KIS O gin (SA)

Splendid gin (TAS)

Hippocampus gin (WA)

KIS Old Tom gin (SA)

Bronze (A well-crafted spirit that deserves recognition.)

The West Winds Captains Cut (WA)

Prohibition gin(SA)

Begin (VIC)

Bass & Flinders Soft & Smooth gin (VIC)

Botanic Australis gin (QLD)

Four Pillars Modern Australian gin (VIC)

KIS Wild gin (SA)

Patient Wolf gin(VIC)

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.

My first Tales of the Cocktail

It’s been almost 3 weeks since I returned from my first Tales of the Cocktail and some days it’s hard to believe I was really there. I packed so much in to the week, but there was so much more I could have done!

Why did I want to go?

Living in Australia we don’t always get to see many of the industry heavy hitters visiting that often. This was a great opportunity for me to catch up with lots of international people who I’d been dying to meet or interview as well as get some serious learning in at the seminars.

First impressions

I was planning to make it to Tales last year so had spent lots of time talking to friends who’d been and learning as much as I could about the event, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer scale of the event!

New Orleans

I didn’t see as much as I would have liked, but I fell in love with the architecture, the weather (aside from the humidity!), the bars and the vibe.

NOLA

The seminars

Most people think that Tales is one long party (and there is plenty of partying), but the seminar program is an incredibly important part of the week. Philip Duff, the Director of Education for Tales oversees the whole schedule and this year there were 84 sessions to choose from. These ranged from informal tastings to 2 hour seminars on anything from bar management, history, cocktails, cocktail trends, ingredients, culture, all with formidable panels eager to share their wisdom.

Bartending is not a stop-gap job while you make up your mind what you really want to do. It’s a career worth investing in and hundreds of bartenders save up all year to attend these seminars and learn from the best.

It simply wasn’t possible for me to attend every single one, but the ones I did attend were fantastic. My highlights were:

A Great British Discussion on Gin with Ian Griffiths (Dandelyan/White Lyan), Dave Broom (celebrated author of the Gin Manual) and Duncan Macrae (Hendrick’s Global Brand Ambassador)

broomgriffithsmcrae

A lovely informal chat over some delicious Hendrick’s cocktails and plenty of opportunities to ask questions about where the gin boom is heading.

Big Gin Small Gin, The Producers talk with Allen Katz (New York Distilling Company), Mikey Enright (The Barber shop Sydney), Jake F Burger (Portobello Road Gin), and Ivano Tonutti (Master of Botanicals at Bombay Sapphire).

bigginsmallginpanel

It was really interesting to hear from such a wide variety of distillers. The similarities regardless of scale was illuminating. This seminar will run again (with a different panel) as part of Sydney Bar week.

Why do Cocktail Cultures Develop or Don’t with Mikey Enright, Audrey Fort and George Nemec.

Bespoke Gin & Collaborative Distilling with Cameron Mackenzie from Four Pillars and Emile and Olivier from Gin Foundry.

camemileolivier

A great seminar showing all the different ways people are involved in distilling, often without owning a distillery themselves. You can read the seminar here.

Juniper Ascending Parts 2& 3 with Jared Brown (Sipsmith), Desmond Payne (Beefeater), Simon Ford (Fords Gin), Alexandre Gabriel (Citadelle Gin), Arne Hillesland (Distillery 209) and Christian Krogstad (Aviation Gin)

Juniper Ascending was actually a 3 part seminar that ran most of the day. Moderated by Keli River from Whitechapel in San Francisco it was a fascinating journey through the history of gin.

500 years of Juniper Distillation – How Genever changed the way we are drinking today presented by Rutte Distillers with Myriam Hendrickx (Master Distiller), Keli Rivers (Whitechapel San Francisco), Joaquin Simo (Pouring Ribbons NYC) and moderated by Simon Difford (Difford’s Guide).

Genever from 1700 specially created by the distiller for the event.
Genever from 1700 specially created by the distiller for the event.

I wasn’t a fan of Genever until this seminar, having experienced a style made with more malt than botanicals. While not converted away from gin, I gained a better understanding and a new appreciation.

The Bars

New Orleans is home to some of the most famous cocktails. The Sazerac, The Ramos Gin Fizz, The French 75, Hurricane, Grasshopper, Vieux Carre and more were all invented in New Orleans so I had to visit The Roosevelt for a Ramos Gin Fizz and Arnauld’s French 75 Bar for a French 75 didn’t I?

French 75 Bar
French 75 Bar (image via Arnauld’s)

 

A French 75 at the French 75 (made the house way, with cognac!)
A French 75 at the French 75 (made the house way, with cognac!)

My first Ramos Gin Fizz had to be at the bar where it was invented yes?

Other highlights included a delightful Dante New York pop-up, Alibi (if you are ever lost at Tales, head here as this is where everyone ends up), and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar  – do what I did and sing yourself hoarse around the piano with your buddies.

Dante New York Pop-up
Dante New York Pop-up

The parties

There are parties galore all week and if you are lucky enough to score invitations, GO! I was lucky to receive lots of invites, but you have to see Tales as a marathon, not a sprint, so I picked two, the William Grant ‘Party on your Palate’ and the Bacardi Block Party. Both epic. The 200 voice gospel choir at William Grant gave me goosebumps while the sheer scale (a different ‘house’ for each brand) of the Bacardi party blew my mind.

William Grant 'Party on your Palate'
William Grant ‘Party on your Palate’ (image via @blindleadingblind on instagram)

 

Bacardi Block Party
Bacardi Block Party

 

Cedar smoked Bombay Sapphire Negroni at the Bacardi Block Party.
Cedar smoked Bombay Sapphire Negroni at the Bacardi Block Party.

The People

The sense of community around the world of bartending and hospitality is like no other. And nowhere did I feel this so keenly as I did at Tales. Thousands of the industry’s finest; bartenders, distillers, brand ambassadors, brand owners and media descend on New Orleans and it feels like the friendliest place on earth. It’s a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends from all over the world, share ideas and sometimes even come up with ideas to work together.

Even though everyone is on a hectic schedule, people still made time for me. I was thrilled to be able to meet and interview Desmond Payne (Master Distiller Beefeater Gin), Charlotte Voisey (Head of Advocacy at William Grant and Son), Simon Ford (Fords Gin), and Myriam Hendrickx (Master Distiller at Rutte).

I also got to spend time with some of my favourite Aussie bar people on the same side of the bar for a change!

Meeting Dave Broom
Meeting Dave Broom
Meeting Desmond Payne, Master Distiller, Beefeater Gin
Meeting Desmond Payne, Master Distiller, Beefeater Gin
ericandjack
Two of my favorites Erik Lorenz, American Bar at the Savoy and our own Jack Sotti, Boilermaker House, Melbourne.

 

The motley Australian crew
The motley Australian crew (you have no idea how hard it was to make them stay still)

Where to stay

I stayed at the Hotel Monteleone which is where all the Tales of the Cocktail action happens. It is slap bang in the middle of the French quarter and The Carousel bar (yes the bar rotates) is another one of the places most people hang out.

The staff are excellent and really friendly, but if you prefer something a little hectic (the elevators get crazy busy during peak seminar times) then the Royal Sonesta is close by and less frantic. I also went to the newly opened Ace Hotel for a couple of meetings, it’s a little bit further away from the main Tales of the Cocktail action and super-chilled.

Things I’ll do differently next year (if I’m lucky enough to go again!)

Make it out of the French Quarter and take a swamp tour and a river cruise

Visit more restaurants

Get to Erin Rose for a Frozen Irish coffee…

Spend a whole afternoon at Bacchanal

Remember to ask for photos when interviewing someone!

IWSC

Australian Gins awarded medals at the IWSC

The prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) has announced the 2016 medal winners, and while several Australian gins have followed up their success in San Francisco, disappointingly none were awarded Gold medals this year.

What is the IWSC

The International Wine & Spirit Competition was founded by wine chemist Anton Massel as ‘Club Oenologique’ in 1969. Massel wanted to create a wine and spirit competition which relied not just on the palates of judges, but also by putting the entries through chemical analysis. The name was changed to the ‘International Wine & Spirit Competition’ in 1978.

The original aim of the Competition was to award excellence to wines and spirits worldwide and this aim remains the same today, with entries received from almost 90 countries.

The Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions and has a dedicated tasting premises and over 400 global experts judging products for 7 months of the year.

Australian Gins awarded medals at the IWSC

Best Packaging Design Range Of The Year 2016

Archie Rose (NSW)

Archie-Rose-Distillery-Signature-Dry-Gin

Silver Outstanding – Contemporary Gins (Australia)

Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin (NSW) ( Also awarded a Silver in the Gin and Tonic category)

Botanic Australis (QLD)

Botanic-Australis-Gin
Botanic Australis Gin

Silver – Contemporary Gins (Australia)

Four-Pillars-Distillery-exterior

Four Pillars Rare Dry

Four Pillars Modern Australian

Four Pillars Spiced Negroni

Botanic Australis Navy Strength

Botanic Australis Navy Strength Gin and Tonic
Botanic Australis Navy Strength Gin and Tonic

Distillery Botanica (NSW) (Also a Gold Medal awarded in the Best Packaging category)

Distillery-Botanica_gin
Distillery Botanica

Bronze – Contemporary Gins (Australia)

Hobart No. 4 (TAS)

Noble Cut (NSW)

For more information on the IWSC visit their website here.