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Water of Life - Melbourne Gin Company and Hurdle Creek Still

Another one that has been in the making for the longest time: Melbourne Gin Company. Having eyed their distinctively stylish bottles on the top shelves on the more respectable gin dispensaries of this country, I could not wait to try their emissions.

With a background in winemaking, Andrew Marks and his team have firmly established themselves with their idiosyncratic artisanal hand-crafted production approach on the radar of lovers of all things juniper.

Six years into their existence of being an independent distillery, they created introduced what has become their trademark expression into their portfolio, i.e. Single Shot – quite a telling name as it was created in one single distillation run. A hole in one in golf terms.

Channelling their alchemy by distilling their emissions with a custom-made copper pot baine-marie alembic still from Portugal, their distillation uses local rainwater – talk about provenance and adding another depth of dimension to locally sourced botanicals.

What tickles the nostrils with the Single Shot, is both a spicy and fragrant melange with peppery highlights, sitting against a backdrop of zesty, lavender and rosemary notes. Sounds complex? It is.

Being a whisky-head, I like sipping and the Single Shot lends itself particularly well for that exercise as it rich flavours unfold on the top of the mouth, riffing on the aforementioned nuances substantiated with a bit of a warming alcoholic kick.

What I have tasted will warrant a visit to MGC’s headquarters, which I hope can be accomplished once the travel situation allows.

Let move to the family run Hurdle Creek Still.

Essentially a gin distillery, Hurdle Creek has quite a diverse portfolio with the common denominator being that all of their products are made and bottled onsite within the confines of their still house, with the base spirit made from locally sourced grain using a traditional infusion mashing system and twice distilled though their extended copper and glass column, resulting in a unique grain character enhanced by local botanicals – are by “local”, they mean as close as having grown in their garden and doing everything themselves, including the distillation of their base spirit, the difference of which can actually be tasted.

Hurdle Creek’s portfolio encompasses aniseed gin, navy strength gin, cherry Gin and pretty much everything in between.

I find their signature Yandarm gin, whose robust juniper DNA is accentuated by the most beautiful melange of cinnamon, coriander, cardamon and – on the more interesting end of the spectrum – curiously citrussy hop notes courtesy of their collaboration with Black Dog Brewery, which resonates particularly well with me palate as it amplifies the flavours.

Hurdle Creek’s Navy Strength expression gets its flavour profile not merely from a solid backbone of alcohol, but through the vapour infused adage of peppercorns, cinnamon, eucalyptus and aniseed myrtles.

However, what really excited me about Hurdle Creek is that they are one of the few Australian distilleries that are making the traditional French aniseed flavoured aperitif known as Pastis. Taking the traditional French approach, it would not be Hurdle Creek if they did not add a twist, which in this case is the addition of round-leaf mint bush and aniseed myrtle. I have always enjoyed mixing Pastis with sparkling water and this variant has instantaneously become one of my favourites.


imagse from company websites

T • June 23, 2021

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