Water of Life – Souwester Spirits
Souwester Spirits intrigued me from the moment I learned about both – the fact that it is located in the Southern corner of Western Australia as well as its founder, i.e. Danielle Costley, being a luminary in the realm of winemaking before she started to channel her alchemy in distilling barrel-aged spirits.
For the uninitiated, Western Australia is overflowing with versatile local produce and native botanicals, which are predestined to imbue Souwester Spirits’ gin with idiosyncratic flavour nuances.
Given her pedigree and expertise in winemaking, Danielle’s focus is set on the experimentation with barrel-aged spirits, matured in specifically procured Ice Chardonnay barrels sourced from Fraser Gallop Estate in the heart of the Margaret River Wine Region, which adds another unique terroir based facet to Souwester with ice wines being on the rare end of the dessert wine spectrum.
Souwester’s Ice gin is based on a foundation of a melange of juniper berries and coriander seed to create a blend that is further refined with local finer limes and saltbush, botanicals that are emblematic for the South West coastal environment, which are then distilled in rainwater before being aged in French Oak barrels.
The result is a rich and complex array of flavour nuances, resting on a backbone of toast oak, vanilla-ey and citrussy highlights and culminating in a reverberating, lingering moreish crescendo. A gin that lends itself well for sipping it neat with its elegant textures.
Given the quality of the gin, I could not wait to sample the Ice Whisky, which as the name suggests, has also undergone maturation in the iced wine French Oak barrels.
What tickles the nostrils is a complex exercise in smoky peat, pervaded by the aforementioned oaky and vanilla aromas derived from the barrel. On the top of the roof, flavours take a detour via fruity, grassy, floral and sweet territory courtesy of the residue of the sweet grapes. The finish is bookended with spicy and slightly salty notes, which remind one in the most subtle manner of the maritime climate this drop has matured in.
Given that Souwester’s first whiskey has only matured for four years, I cannot wait to experience the future emissions from this artisanal distiller.