Australian gins are coming thick and fast as we head towards 2016, but a new gin from Distillery Botanica had to be investigated immediately. Distiller Philip Moore has been in the game way before Aussie gins were featured on the back bar. His eponymous Vintage gin won a silver medal at the
IWSC back in 2009, and he is also the brains behind coffee liqueur Mr Black, which is currently winning the hearts and minds of caffeine fiends in the UK.
After learning that he uses a thousand-year old technique called “enfleurage” making Distillery Botanica gin, I knew I had to speak to Philip to find out more.
Philip explained that this technique is favoured by perfumers, as it captures the fragrance compounds at their best without using heat. This is achieved by putting solid coconut oil at the bottom of a jar and layering the floral botanicals on top. The jar is covered and the solid coconut oil soaks up the fragrant aromas. Afterwards, the flowers are discarded and the solid coconut is dissolved into alcohol before being cold-filtered to remove impurities. This floral essence is then blended with the other distilled botanicals
Philip uses juniper, Murraya, chamomile flowers, rose, sage ‘Berggarten’ ( a variety of sage that he says has less camphorous qualities than some other types) and orris root.
The juniper is used in two types of distillates – one created by macerating the berries and another by the 100% vapour infusion method (like Bombay Sapphire). The chamomile, sage and orris root are pot distilled, while the rose and murraya have their flavours extracted by “enfleurage”. The distillates are the all blended together to create Distillery Botanica gin.
Looking at the list of ingredients you’ll notice two things, the lack of citrus and the high volume of flowers. You’re probably expecting a highly-fragranced, floral gin and to a certain extent you are right. However, the juniper is still given prominence both in aroma and flavour. Philip explained “I like the juniper to have centre stage but it has to balance with the other flavours”.
Murraya Paniculata (the variety in Distillery Botanica gin) is actually part of the citrus family. It has small, white scented flowers and some varieties bear small fruit a little like a kumquat. While this in itself does not create a traditional citrus flavour we are used to seeing in our gins, the “enfleurage” method extracts jasmine, honeysuckle and orange blossom characters that are delightful. The sage and orris root add balance by balancing the floral tones with savoury, herbaceous notes.
So far I’ve only tried Distillery Botanica in a G&T, but will be experimenting as part of a post on Summer Gin Spritz. In the meantime, if you live near Dead Ringer (fab bar!) in Sydney, cocktail legend Tim D Philips has created a signature cocktail called The Garden Martini with it that sounds divine!
Origin: New South Wales, Australia