Water of Life
Noosa Heads Distillery / Fortune + Ginny Pig Distillery
Amongst the myriad of gin distilleries mushrooming on terra australis there is no shortage when it comes to the distilling of innovative and varied gins. However, every now and then one comes across a distillery that stands out because of its attention to detail and refined approach to channelling its alchemy.
Enter the entity founded by Tim Crabtree and the team around his head distiller Jackson Boyd, i.e. Noosa Heads Distillery.
With one of the focal points being set on provenance and paying homage to their home state of Queensland via tropical flavours courtesy of locally sourced botanicals, which infuse the distillate emanating from Noosa Head’s behemoth of a still.
With a volume of two thousand litres and a weight clocking in at close to four tonnes, it is not only of massive proportions but equipped with the capability to produce unique flavour profiles courtesy of the variants between each column of Copper Pot Reflux Still and the fact that Noose Head Distillery’s approach is centred around traditional distilling methods with their gin being bathed and boiled not unlike a traditional London Dry.
Being a whisky head, I love their Barrel Aged Gin, which saw their Navy Strength Gin aged for over five months in custom made, re-coopered and specifically toasted Shiraz Casks. With Queensland unique climate and its fluctuations I humidity, this expression has idiosyncratic notes of spicy traditional Christstollen cake with cinnamon nuances. Beautiful.
A gin that intrigued me was Noosa Head’s Sum Yung Guys X Fortune Pho Gin. With the former being a restaurant institution, the aim behind joining forces was to marry the vibrance and creative spirit of Sum Yung Guys with the well-calibrated flavour profiles of the distillery.
Clocking in at 46% ABV, this expression is in essence a gin replica of a Pho dish, with all variants being catered to, from fish sauce via chilli, seaweed and porcini mushrooms for some meaty impact, which sits against the backdrop of herbal freshness?
Sounds odd and gimmicky? It is testament to Noosa Head / Fortune that the result plays in its own league and qualifies as a must-try for any juniper juice aficionado.
Let’s head down south, shan’t we, down to the Fleurieu Island in South Australia to be precise.
Ginny Pig Distillery is essentially a wife and husband operation, both of which started their careers in Nursing before they ventured into channelling their creative sides in the distilling of gin.
The interesting thing about Ginny Pig Distillery is that it was incepted with the mission to create the artisan gin equivalent to a hot cross bun, which was crowned with success with their Hot x Gin and soon after a Christmas Gin infused with the ingredients know from making Christmas puddings the delight they are.
Based on the fact that Ginny Pig’s gins may have exotic flavour nuances yet could not be farther away from novelty territory, makes them one of the more interesting distilleries in Australia.
The three creative gins I have had the pleasure to sample included their core Dry Gin, which unveils floral, musky and sweet notes sitting against a backdrop of citrussy and grapefruity highlights.
My favourites, however, are the spiced-fig gin, which is ideal for the current colder months with its ginger, clove and cinnamon flavours that sit on top a foundation of juniper, and especially the mouth-watering blueberry and vanilla expression. The latter is made with real blueberries which are expertly counterbalanced by tart and pine like flavours, crowned by just a hint of vanilla. Delicious.
Needless to say, Ginny Pig Distillery took its love for sweet treats to the next level with the creation of their Boozie Berry Jam – a telling name really, as it makes great used of the gin soaked berries left over from their gin production.
images from company websites