Nine top-rated Australian gins to try

Wine news

Tue 19 Jan 2021

Australian oranges are one of the key botanicals used in Four Pillars gin

The public's love affair with gin shows no signs of stopping, and why should it? It’s a spirit that ticks so many boxes: it’s refreshing, it delivers bags of flavour, it works really well in cocktails and there’s plenty of variety – so whether you like your gins fruity, spicy, herbal or more exotic, there’s one for you.

The history of Australian gin begins as recently as the early 1990s, when Bill Lark set up the first distillery in Tasmania in 150 years, overturning more than a century’s worth of prohibition laws in the process. From there, the growth of Australian gin now stretches to more than 150 gin producers in a little over 25 years.

Gin starts off life as plain old neutral grain spirit, but it’s transformed when a myriad of botanicals is added. These generally include the likes of juniper, coriander seed and orange peel, although gin distillers have a vast palette of flavours to draw upon. In Australia, you’ll find a host of indigenous ingredients such as boobialla, bush tomatoes and lemon myrtle – you won’t find those in your average bottle of Gordon’s.

This diversity is reflected in the IWSC’s Australian gin award winners, too. For example, Four Pillars’ Bloody Shiraz Gin is made by steeping Shiraz grapes in its Rare Dry Gin, adding generous berry notes and a touch of cinnamon, while Savoury Allsorts Gin from Seppeltsfield Road Distillers goes big on liquorice, aniseed and black pepper.

Australian gin has come a long way in a very short time – here's the pick of the bunch from the IWSC’s 2020 awards.

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Kangaroo Island Distillery

Vibrant, lifted, intense and deliciously balanced. Juniper led with botanicals dominated by orange peel which are delightfully integrated with refined citrus and wood spice for an exuberant rounded mouthfeel. Displaying great complexity and intensity of flavours. 43.5%

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Kangaroo Island Distillery

Bold with juniper on the nose with an abundance of green freshness layered with spiciness for a delicately, well balanced and flavoursome impact on the palate. Culminating in a delightfully long and expressive finish. 43%

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Granddad Jack's Craft Distillery

Liquorice and aniseed on the nose developing into liquorice with citrusy lemon and lime on the palate, carrying through to a delightful sweetness on the finish. Outstanding in its complexity and textural intensity. 57%

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Four Pillars Distillery

Pronounced on the nose with lifted lemon and herbaceous aromas. Excellent depth and balance, displaying bold juniper with cardamom and heather on the palate before developing into lighter herbal notes and spicy vanilla to finish. 41.8%. £31.45; Master of Malt

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Seppeltsfield Road Distillers

Bright and expressive, displaying aniseed, liquorice and spice on the nose. Flavoursome floral and citrus notes are harmoniously balanced whilst being embellished with hints of cloves, black pepper, sweet liquorice and gentle herbaceous undertones on the palate. 41.5%. £36; Spirits Kiosk

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Turner Stillhouse

Elaborate citrus bouquet on the nose which is beautifully integrated with the botanicals to produce a layered, complex and very delicately balanced gin. Full bodied citrus prevails with a terrific balance of spice, pungency and mineral notes. 42%

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Never Never Distilling

Bounteous in botanicals, this elegantly dry eucalyptus and juniper infused gin is harmoniously balanced by cooling citrus and fragrant soft botanicals. An aromatic aria that serenades the senses. 43%. £26.40; Master of Malt

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Four Pillars Distillery

A beautiful nose that is reminiscent of a good Shiraz, combining black cherry with the herbal and floral notes of the botanicals and a hint of cinnamon. Its rich complexity balances the deep, red wine character with delicate sweetness. 37.8%. £40.95; The Whisky Exchange

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The Tailor Made Spirits Company

Opulent, ripe plum on the nose with hints of milk chocolate, cinnamon, juniper and earthy angelica adding complexity. It has a decadently velvet texture and ends on a pleasant note of sweetness. 39%