A few years ago I had the pleasure of taking the road less travelled whilst driving about Tasmania. The tiny hamlet of Ouse in Western Tasmania only has a few hundred souls, but not far from there is the beautiful working farm and distillery Lawrenny situated on the banks of the Derwent River.
Owned by the Mace family, this long established farm, turned to creating paddock to bottle spirits just a couple of years ago.
Debuting with a very polished brand and two gins, the Van Dieman’s and 1818 Settlers along with their Saint Clair Vodka, the spirits take inspiration from it’s location, local waters and botanicals they went on to win awards at San Francisco and American Distillers Awards among others.
A Whisky is also in barrels waiting to be released, using their own barley and water from the nearby Derwent River.
The talent behind the spirits is Joe Dinsmoor (ably assisted by distillery dog Cooper) who started his distilling career at the renowned Lark Distillery. The distillery itself is as attractive as the estate and well laid out with several stills, plus a seperate barrel ageing warehouse.
I happened to visit on the day when they were bottling and labelling the brand new Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, so naturally I had to buy some and others!
Here’s a short clip that gives you a look at the facility.
Since then, they have expanded the range to include a Highlands Gin and just recently (late 2019) the Meadowbank Pink Gin. If there is one thing that is consistent across the range is both the finesse of the spirits, and a delicacy and often a subtlety in the way the botanicals are presented. When I present the spirits at a gin tasting or event, they are always well received.
Here’s a short overview of their range.
1818 Settlers Gin
The equivalent of a Navy Strength Gin, you can pick out some of it’s power on the nose which is clean and lacking any volatility. Nice and forward on the palette with a crisp peppery finish this gin include botanicals such as caraway seed, brown cardamom, elderberry, apple, rosemary, but they are well balanced with not one dominating. Makes for a fabulous Martini. 52.5% ABV
Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
I confess I loved this from the get-go. I’ve used this at several events and masterclasses for it makes the base for a really gorgeous Espresso Martini. Using local cold brew coffee, and an lush blend of local bush and meadow honey, vanilla bean, toasted wattleseed, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa, which you can all taste on the palette. This is one yummy number. that could also be sipped chilled and neat, or on a killer affogato! 25% ABV
This expression is seeking to evoke some of the Tasmanian high country and botanicals include Blue cypress needle, grapefruit, fresh mint, peppermint (dried), bitter orange peel, buchu, chamomile, grains of paradise pepper. One the nose I get the bright pepper mint and the pepper in the aromatic first impression which carries through onto the palette with a slightly dry finish, it’s very delicate overall. A G+T with strawberries would see this gin shine. ABV 40%
Meadowbank Pink Gin
This is the latest in the range using an infusion of local raspberries, strawberries and Hibiscus, along with Blood Orange, Coriander Leaf and Lemon Thyme. The nose is alluring with the hibiscus and berries offering a hint of sweetnesss, but on the palette is very crisp and dry with coriander keeping things sharp. Overall it’s subtle in the use of the botanicals, quite light actually and this is designing for mixing, I think either a light tonic or even tall with soda and some fun garnishes would make this go down really easy. ABV 38.5%
Saint Clair Vodka
Designed for sipping or a Martini (I like this with a twist) – it’s very clean on the nose with, unusual for a vodka, botanicals that features rose petals from the garden of course, lemon peel and thyme. It’s delicate on the palette with a crisp finish and the grain spirit isn’t astringent, beautifully balanced. ABV 40% ABV
Van Diemen’s Gin
The mainstay of the range, this gin features locally grown strawberries, vanilla, fennel, peppercorns, vanilla, lime flower, dried & fresh citrus. The nose is very bright, aromatic and you can pick out some of those berry and citrus notes. On the palette the flavours are all forward and closely woven with a bone dry finish. This makes for a versatile gin to enjoy anyway you wish. ABV 42.5%
The Take Home
I have no hesitation in recommending any of the range which have been very cleverly designed to complement each other well. There is some fine craft that has gone into the development of these spirits, the quality of the base spirit, the pristine water used and the choice and handling of the botanicals are first class.
Lawrenny is very much a brand that takes it’s inspiration and ingredients from the estate, region and Tasmania more generally. The Lawrenny spirits offer both poise and approachability in their flavours and if you like your gins or vodka with both originality and elegance, then seek them out.
- Website: www.lawrenny.com
- Find them on Facebook
- Instagram here too
- Purchase – online via their website, and also at a range of online suppliers and at Dan Murphy stores in Australia
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