Water of Life – The Canberra Distillery
Again, despite being the capital of Australia, I have never felt the urge to visit – that has recently changed as more and more high-quality small batch distilleries emerge that are unconstrained by the need to produce volume and can focus on quality.
Case in point: The Canberra Distillery, which with its name puts the underrated city firmly and squarely on the radar of connoisseurs of artisanal spirits. Focusing on raw ingredients, every step of the production process is “manu”factured in the truest sense if you by the etymology of the etymology of the word, i.e. the processing, distilling and bottling is performed by hand, which allows them to zero in on the sweet alcohols that lie hidden in the middle of these lesser alcohols that emerge in the distilling process.
What results are exquisite gins that are informed by a smooth palate with balancing botanical infusion. The line-up includes classic vapour-infused London dry-style gins, which convince with the subtlety of the flavours derived from the hand-selected citrus and berry additions.
A personal favourite is the nuanced Negroni. Not that I am known for shying away from any halfway well-done barrel aged Gin distilled from wine spirit, but the Canberra Distillery’s Barrel Aged Negroni adds another layer of complexity by using an exquisite red from the Canberra region as a basis, which is then distilled with juniper and an array of other herbs. After blending it with vermouth and bitters, it is then aged with heavily charred oak, to round out the nuances of this nectar. Delicious!
Consider yourself somewhat of a gin aficionado?
Well, you have not lived until you have sampled the Canberra Distillery’s French Earl Grey Gin. Apart from the novelty of it being a colour-changing elixir, the concept pretty much allows you to indulge whenever you would normally have a cup of tea. Neat!
With gin distilleries mushrooming around Australia, I am no stranger to experiments with exotic botanicals but the balance that has been created with bergamot, elderflower, chamomile and lavender in this case is something else.
Word is that due to their conscious production process, all bottlings are extremely limited and you would want to contact the distillery directly to ascertain if any will be available on your turf as there seem to be plans for overseas expansion.