The genesis of this website owes something to two leading Australia spirit producers, The West Winds Gin and Maiden Vermouth.
They were the first to get behind my idea of creating the official Martini for Australia’s capital for its 100th Birthday to great success and I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since.
In my Martini versions, which married two each of the West Winds Gin’s and Maidenii’s superb vermouths, they made beautiful music together, and whilst I can’t take any credit for this special release I’d like to think I was the tinder to their new match so to speak!
Officially called the Barrel Expedition Series -Maidenii Voyage, the release plays with the West Winds brand story of the sea, pirates, merchants, barrels, and all things nautical, based as they are in the beautiful Margaret River of Western Australia, renowned for its wine, food, and sharks in the surf.
Their gins have won many awards, and I reckon they can take a lot of credit for carving our a place for Australian gins internationally. They also believe that all boats can rise together and man, can they drink like pirates! I speak from experience.
Maidenii, on the other hand, has its origins both in the cocktail capital of Australia (if not the world) Melbourne, and its ingredients hail from several locations around the country resulting in a very refined and sophisticated range of vermouths, such as this one. I rate their Sweet Vermouth as being one of the best things ever released in a bottle from this country, period.
So, in the same bottle and barrel aged, what do we get?
Plenty of spice up front from the gin.
Using the big brother of the West Winds stable (fleet?), the Cutlass, with its higher ABV and bush tomato botanicals as a base, you still can pick out the vermouth’s, strawberry gum, grapefruit and some of the angelica root on the nose.
Overall, its light on the palette, with the alcohol making its presence felt- in a good way.
Although I’m not sure how long it was barrel aged for, I reckon not very long and its definitely singing for a mixer.
As I write, its about 41C (about 106F) outside, so my thoughts are turning to refreshing options in a drink.
So whilst they designed the product for a Negroni, I tried it in a few ways: as a spritzer using either Fever Tree Tonic or Proseco, both of which worked very well, chilled neat with a citrus twist, and on ice with orange, lime (grapefruit would work well too) and topped with tonic- that worked a treat.
The Take Home
The plan is to offer a range of these releases based on other partnerships, which is a great idea. I think this release could have used some more barrel time to deepen the palette and round out the edges some more, but it works perfectly well as I suggest to bring some distinctive Australian flavours to a glass near you.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
- Cost: about $60- $100.00 AUD
- Purchase online here and here and here
- follow West Winds on facebook
- West Winds Gin website
- Maidenii Vermouth website
- ABV: 45%
Disclaimer: this review is of an unsolicited bottle provided by the makers, views are my own.