FOUR PILLARS MASTER CLASS GIN - WORLD GIN DAY WEEKEND 2016 - 13th June
If you are a Gin Lover who lives in Australia, one distillery you are bound to have heard of is Four Pillars, who are taking the world by storm at the moment, and have been for quite a few years now.
So, on the Monday of World Gin Day weekend this year I headed out of Melbourne to Healesville to attend Four Pillars first ever MAKER SESSION MASTER CLASS, and I am going to tell you all about it!
I arrived there early in the morning, and was ushered into their chilly Still House compartment of their set up (if you have ever visited them you will understand what I mean), was introduced to their main man and chief distiller Cameron MacKenzie (really nice guy, super friendly), and had a well needed and quite frankly well deserved black coffee (getting out of bed early on the Monday of a long weekend is hard work). Shortly after which the class began, it was great!
We got to meet their new baby still Eileen. A beautiful 50L copper pot still made by Carl stills in Germany. After which, we were taken through both the distilling process, and also the history of gin, from Europe to bathtubs to high society, it was a very interesting and educational event. We then loaded up the wee still with all the botanicals that make a gin they had previously released as a collaboration with Santamania Destileria Urbana, and have since run out off, their Cousin Vera's Gin. The botanicals that we loaded the still to create this beauty include: Juniper (of course), coriander (of course again), a seven pepper corn mixture, almonds, fresh bay leaf, fresh lemon myrtle, Tasmanian pepper berry, rosemary, fresh whole oranges and fresh olive leaf! The room started smelling amazing, while this giant kettle heated everything up.
While the still was doing it's thing and making the gin, we moved onto the tastings of all their current gins, including their Bloody Shiraz Gin! We walked through tasting each gin, hearing about the different botanicals used in each one and why they were chosen. Cam was incredibly accommodating explaining everything in great detail and answer everyones many questions. Bloody Shiraz Gin, is by far one of my favourite gin concoctions from any distillery, it is amazing, and the process by which they make it is even more incredible, I cannot believe how they came up with this genius idea. My favourite of their normal range of gins would be their Modern Australian Gin, its a little bit spicy and a little bit fruity, but not too much, it's just right. It is probably their least citrus heavy gins, and is probably why it is my favourite of their range (not a big citrus gin fan).
As the gin started flowing out of the still, we gave it a wee taste before it was cut at a whopping 80 maybe even 90 something percent, and then tried it again cut down to somewhere in the 40% mark, and it was very different, and quite nice. I never had the chance to buy the Cousin Vera's Gin when it was released and so had nothing to compare it to, but I quite liked this one, its a little less citrusy then some of their other gins, and has a nice herby quality. I imagine it will taste quite nice in a martini or a G&T with a sprig of rosemary or thyme, I will let you know when I eventually give it a try!
I left the day with a wee gift bag, containing a small 1/4 size bottle of their Rare Dry Gin, a nice little cocktail recipe book, with ideas and inspiration for cocktails to try at home, as well as a jar of their Four Pillars Marmalade made with oranges that had been used to make their gin.
My bottle of the Makers Session Gin arrived almost a month after the class (had to settle and be cut and bottled ... and all that jazz). It looks and smells very cool, I am very excited to give it a go in many different cocktails (but mainly a martini)!
I would recommend going to a Four Pillars master class if you ever get the chance. If they do another one of these Makers Sessions in the future I would recommend getting a ticket quickly, because it was a fun day were you get to try all the gins, make some for yourself, which I would say is worth it!
Again, stay drinking responsibly team!