Australian Gins Reviewed
With the great gin revival a certified trend, Australian distillers are looking to their backyards for inspiration.
Remedy by Reed and Co
Pure mountain spring water is essential to Bright chef Hamish Nugent’s pet project – gin. He has also embraced native Australian botanicals, alongside juniper, to make his wonderfully perfumed spirit. His distillery is based at 15 Wills Street, Bright, in a former mechanic’s workshop that has been transformed into a great new food and wine hub. Reed and Co Distillery’s bar and eatery, where you can sample Hamish’s Remedy gin. During the day it can be filled with the aroma of juniper and a medley of other aromatic herbs, barks, peels and spices. Hamish’s gin is a work of art, a powerhouse of dozens of different botanicals.
The essential oils evaporate with alcohol which is then stored to mellow, brought down to 44 per cent with mountain spring water, bottled and rested to let the flavours meld. When served on the rocks the essence of the botanicals is released as the ice melts. There again are the aromas of the bush – mountain pepper, lemon myrtle and lemon-scented gum intermingling with garden perfumes of lemon verbena plus the overarching note of juniper. Try Hamish’s Remedy Gin, along with a choice of mixers and garnishes, for $15 at Reed and Co. reedandcodistillery.com
A case in point is the new Federation Gin from Tasmania’s McHenry Distillery which features an indigenous botanical from each state and territory, including quandong from WA, wattle seed from SA, cinnamon myrtle from Victoria and Tasmania’s celery top pine. Each botanical is gathered by indigenous Australians and then balanced in this handmade gin. Last October, McHenry opened its new cellar door, Australia’s most southerly distillery, at Port Arthur, 90 minutes east of Hobart. McHenry is also the creator of the Parliamentary Librarian’s Gin, a London Dry gin sold exclusively in the gift shop of the Federal Parliament in Canberra. The new Federation Gin costs $80/700ml, mchenrydistillery.com.au
Hurdle Creek Still
Made using their own barley and oat base spirit, Simon Brooke-Taylor’s Yardarm and Evolution gins are vapour distilled – a process that allows subtle botanical flavours and fragrances to develop with an unmatched delicate integration. Produced at their Hurdle Creek Stillhouse at Bobinawarrah, near Milawa Victoria, Hurdle Creek Still is perhaps one of our most treasured discoveries.
The Yardarm is infused with Macedonian juniper, coriander, citrus, pink peppercorns, hops and lemon myrtle; 14 botanicals in all. It has a distinctive citrus lift and finishes with a soft-spiced depth – a beautiful mix that’s also palate cleansing.
Evolution is a punchy little number, produced using traditional gin botanicals blended with a range of aniseed flavoured ingredients including home grown fennel and Australian aniseed myrtle – it’s a winner. Many of the botanicals used at Hurdle Creek Still are either grown on site or sourced locally. Recent releases include a Navy Strength Gin – designed with a bold grain character balanced with a heavy juniper forward flavour to reflect gin’s courageous past; and Grain Jenever the grand-parent of modern gin, made by blending a portion of pot distilled malt-wine (moutwijn), similar to whiskey, with neutral sprit and flavoured with juniper. Hurdle Creek Still gins are hand packed and come in 700ml and cheeky hand-bag sized 350ml bottles. hurdlecreekstill.com.au