By Stefanie Collins, editor bars&clubs
Renowned Tasmanian whisky distillery Sullivans Cove has decided to try its hand at gin distilling, releasing Hobart No.4 last week.
The soft launch of the gin has been such a success that the distillery’s distributers are already facing a demand for the spirit says Bert Cason, sales and marketing manager.
“We’ve been making whisky for about 20 years now and we’ve always dabbled in other spirits but this is the first major effort that we’ve done outside of the whisky,” he says. “It’s really quite exciting for us because we’re trying something new.”
The distillery team enjoy drinking gin so decided to create one to amuse themselves in between creating the internationally renowned single malt whisky they’re famous for.
“The bugger with making whisky is the wait for the damn stuff to mature. So we thought we could have a go at gin and do quite a decent job; so we thought, let’s see what is the best gin we can make. There are a lot of guys out there making gin but we were interested for another big challenge – something a bit more exciting. Whisky making is fun but it’s nice to try something else as well.”
For an added point of difference, the base spirit is made from malted barley, rather than a wheat-based spirit.
“When you look at your traditional gins, all the original ones are made with malt spirit, made with malted whisky that would have been otherwise used to make malt whisky,” says Cason. “So we thought that we make decent malt spirit and so that’s literally what we do: we take the exact same malt spirit we would use for whisky.
"The only thing we do that is different to our whisky is that we filter it through charcoal.”
The spirit is sent through the charcoal filter twice and then turned into gin. The filtering softens up the spirit slightly and takes a little bit of the edge off the new-make spirit and makes it slightly rounder and gentler.
For the botanical profile, the classic botanicals have been used, alongside a few extras.
“For our recipe we’ve taken inspiration from London Dry Gin and jazzed it up a bit with a local vibe,” Cason says. “We’ve used lemon myrtle, anise myrtle, wattleseed and lanceolate (Tasmanian pepperberry).”
According to Cason the idea from the start was to go out and create a “nice” drinkable gin that people can enjoy a few of.
“We haven’t made anything crazy to challenge people’s tastebuds and rewrite the rule books,” he says. “It’s a straightforward dry gin with an Australian twist and made with very good malt spirit.”
The gin is bottled at 44 per cent ABV to give it a bit more body and length with Cason noting that the extra alcohol helps to carry the flavours a bit better.
“We’re quite happy with it, and we hope everyone else is too,” says Cason.
In terms of signature serves, Cason says that the distillery has teamed up with a local producer of elderflower cordial, Ashbolt, and recommend Hobart No.4 be served in a martini with a lemon twist and a splash of elderflower, or in a twist on the classic they call the GT&E, a gin and tonic with elderflower added to the mix.