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Water of Life - Cape Byron Distillery and Callington Mill’s Poltergeist Gin

When we initially got to sample Cape Byron’s first emissions in the realm of genever about seven years ago, we could not help but fall in love with the outcome instantaneously.

Distilled in the lush rainforest of Byron Bay’s hinterland and infused with more than twenty native botanicals, the lion’s share of which stem from the luscious surroundings of the distillery, it made Brookie's Dry Gin stand out mile-high in an increasingly crowded market of Australian gin distillers.


As if Cape Byron Distillery unique location was not enough, my interest was further piqued when I learned about Jim McEwan being a close family friend of the Brook family, i.e. the mastermind that has not only collected accolades in previous roles as master distiller at Ardnahoe and Bowmore, but the very maverick that helped to resuscitate Bruichladdich distillery and concepted one of our favourite whisky series, i.e. Octomore.


Cape Byron Distillery’s pale golden hued core whisky expression has been aged in a carefully curated selection of Bourbon casks, ranging from Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniels, Buffalo Trace to Jim Beam.


Upon approach, the nostrils are tickled by a delicate fruitiness, pierced by hints of pine and limonene, crispy custard and caramel.


Given the selection of casks, it should not come as a surprise that via an oily mouthfeel, a melange of French Toast, vanilla flavours and cotton candy is unveiled that serves as the foundation for pears, kiwi, lychee, spicy lime and woody notes to dance on.

With an ABV of 47%, the warming finish rounds things out elegantly culminating in a more-ish note reminiscent of Bruichladdich’s Classic Laddie.


Change of gears.


Brookie's Byron Slow Passion Gin is a recently released, limited edition from Cape Byron Distillery.


Made as an homage to Sloe Gin styles with Davidson plum and passionfruit, clocking in at a moderate ABV of 26%, this rich and warming liqueur proves to be perfect aperitif for the colder months of the year with its sharp biting tangy accents, which are complemented by an artfully calibrated melange of sweet and sour flavours, alongside raspberry sourness and tangerines.


Let’s move way down South to Tasmania to Calllington Mill Distillery.


Having extensively covered how well Callington Mill channels its alchemy in the creation of its whiskies, it was about high time for us to sample its much fabled about Poltergeist gin.

Unfiltered in nature, handcrafted and produced in small batches, while not moving furniture and throwing objects around, Poltergeist is definitely a fine spirit and as such robustly botanical and full-flavoured.


Pristine Tasmanian water is married with twelve curated botanicals ranging from known staples like Juniper Berries with their slightly piney flavour with a touch of both fruitiness and pepperiness, Orris Root and intensely bright, citrussy Coriander Seeds to cinnamon-like Cassia Bark, anise-flavour infusing Liquorice Sticks, wormwoody Angelica Root, Tasmanian Native Pepper Berries, nutmeggy Cardamom, sweet and Star Anise, the delicate menthol essence of Lemon Myrtle, rich and buttery Macadamia Nuts and slightly bitter Dried Lemon Peel.


The result is a tour de force of flavours, coating the front, middle as well as the back of the top of the mouth with a accentuated alcoholic warmth to the ABV of 46% and a long lingering, reverberating finish.


The fact that we prefer sipping Callington Mill’s Poltergeist Gin straight instead of diluting it with tonic is testament to its quality.


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Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Cape Byron and Callington Mill Distillery.

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