Each fortnight I update my lists of Australian spirits with new makers. As of the middle of August 2018 there are over 160 distillers listed making gin alone.
That’s not counting the multiple labels from respective distillers- that’s a lot of Gin and the movement in Australia is showing no signs of slowing down! I’ll come back to this phenomena and the business + market share implications another time.
So it’s a brave and committed team who embark on a new venture in this crowded market. From Victoria, original located on the south fringes of Melbourne, and now located on the Mornington Peninsula comes the Original Spirit company. A family business, they have drawn on things passed down and learning for themselves on the job the art of distilling. They got their start via a Pozible fundraising campaign.
In the short time they’ve been around they’ve already released several other products and their Classic Dry Gin was awarded Double Gold, Best in Show Gin and Best in Show Un-aged White Spirit at the 2017 World Wine and Spirits Competition held in New York among other gongs.
A Chat with Felix Richartz from Original Spirit Co.
What inspired you to make the gin?
We actually started with a small crowdfunding campaign making our Bushcrafted Dry gin (think Aussie ingredients). After producing that gin we thought that it would be necessary to make a more traditional gin and arrived at the Classic Dry. Juniper is a wonderful and elegant botanical that deserves to be highlighted and appreciated.
This is obviously reflected within gin’s rich history in Dutch, British and now global culture. It is a spirit which is versatile and can lend itself to a wide variety of uses. We think it has a rightful place alongside the other great spirits of the world.
How do you see your product in the spectrum of Australian craft spirits?
The word “hand-crafted” or “artisanal” is used aÂ lot these days to describe anything marketed as craft. We truly believe that our gins and spirits meet the criteria. Our still is small and hand-made (Carl 130L jacketed copper-pot still), our ingredients are taken from organic/wild-crafted sources and, our techniques and methods come from the long tradition of German distilling.
We take care at every stage of the process to produce something that is unique but also typical of the “product” itself. We simply offer gin lovers our interpretation of a classic dry ginÂ which is made to the best of our ability.
Can you share some of the botanicals that go into the mix?
The secret to good gin is… good juniper! Our Classic Dry gin consists of nine distinct botanicals, each serving their own role in the aroma and taste. The backbone is comprised of juniper and coriander. A little bit of citrus and fresh fruit also make an appearance. Without giving too much away, there are a few eccentric ingredients and some more of the “usual suspects”.
I’ll let the gin nerds start the debate!
Did it take you a while to crack the distilling process?
Let me start by saying that I am in no way a “Master Distiller” or expert in distillation, this title is usually reserved to those who have taken formal training and/or study for many years. It depends on if you count all the hours of learning and experimenting. Once we consciously decided to produce gin, the process wasn’t overly long.
A few trials and continuous refinement. One batch in development would naturally lead to another. Minor (and sometimes major!) tweaks along the way gave rise to different flavours and profiles. It got to a point where the gin suited our tastes.
How did you get into distilling?
My Dad has distilled for many years as a hobby. He started making “digestives” and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Most of what I have learnt and practiced has been from him. We were both quite lucky to have been taught by a German Master Distiller who has studied and distilled much of his life. Darcy and I both studied different areas of science and research at University. After years of learning the “scientific method” you can apply it to anything.
How do you recommend people enjoy your gin?
I like the classics. Our Classic Dry is beautifully aromatic and robust. It can stand up to being mixed and matched. Depending on my mood I enjoy it with a splash of dry tonic and citrus as a garnish. It’s powerful enough to make a killer negroni which is nice. If you want to get technical and hardcore, just neat at room temperature, maybe with a little bit of water on the side!
- Intense lime citrus perfume, and a healthy dose of lemon myrtle type aromatics.
- Somewhat musky on the palette and quite dry and lingering in its finish, not too much heat from the alcohol and a rich viscosity. The intensity of the aromatics is much more restrained here, overall none of the 7 botanicals dominates.
Gin and Tonic
- This where this gin shines, all the generous citrus and spice botanicals are released and I think you’ll want a good neutral tonic like Capi or Fevertree range, or StrangeLove’s No 8. Garnish wise, it will take whatever you want I think, but would suggest lime over lemon.
- The gin is non-chilled filtered, which means it hasn’t been chilled after distillation which aims at removing any impurities. For practical purposes it means that the distillers were aiming to retain as much of the natural oils of the botanicals in the- final product. In a Martini that means you get a cloudiness known as louching, or louche, don’t panic, that’s normal.
- Given the gin’s generous citrus flavours, I suggest less vermouth than usual, and a lemon twist to accentuate those notes.
The Take Home
At a Martini masterclass recently, I offered this gin along with a dozen others from around the world, and it was quite the hit with the hospitality pros in the group, in fact they drank the lot!
Original Spirits are not daunted by a host of other Aussie gins out there and are confidently expanding their range.
This gin is their first release (and I’ve illustrated some of the other labels which present very well) and they have designed this gin to be an approachable one for anyone looking to enjoy a cheerful gin + tonic with generous flavours, and it succeeds very well.
- Original Spirits Company website
- Facebook – follow them here
- Instagram- tune in here.
- RRP: AUD$65.00 for 500ml bottle plus postage via their website.
- ABV: 40%
Disclaimer: this review is of an unsolicited samples provided by the distributor, opinions expressed regarding the product are my own.
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