In the current climate a lot of things in Australia have slowed down. What hasn’t seemed to skip a beat is Australia’s love for finely crafted boutique spirits. In a market that is generally dominated by major brands it’s good to see distillers across the country step up to the plate and produce out of this world, home grown spirits.
26th of September marked the 3rd annual Tasting Australia Spirit Awards, a highlight of the Tasting Australia festival seeing more entrants every year. The panel this year ended up judging 255 individual spirits from 75 distillers, 28 of those from SA. A number of Bronze, Silver and Gold awards were handed out to a number of different spirits but there was only one in each category that could be crowned the best.
Considering the size of the field South Australia was well represented with the Adelaide Hills Distillery taking out Best Alternate Spirit with their Apple Brandy. Ochre Nation came to the fore with their absolutely dangerous Okar Amaro to take Best Liqueur and Tin Shed Distilling Co blitzed it for Best Rum with their smoky and elegant Requiem Rum SS Ferret. The South Australian contingent wasn’t done there though. To hammer the point home Ambleside Distillers took out the biggest category of the night, Best Gin, with their Ambleside Distillers Small Acre Gin. Paired alongside their No.8 Botanical Gin, Ambleside also took out Best Distiller to emphasize just how good SA brewing is.
Victoria also had a strong showing winning Best Brandy and Best Small Cask Maturation with Distillers Selection Single Cask 6yo Brandy Lot 143 by Bass and Flinders Distillery. Best Vodka with White Light Vodka Original, White Light Vodka took the award for a 3rd consecutive year. Best Independent Bottler went to The Craft and Co Gypsy Hub based out of Smith St Collingwood.
Taking out the last two awards were distilleries from little ol’ Tasmania. Showing the quality and character that Australia has across the country. Sullivans Cove Distillery won Best Whisky with their sweet and delicious American Oak Tawny Single Cask and finally Best Small Batch Spirit went to Tasmanian Taylor and Smith Distilling Co for their Taylor and Smith Dry Gin.
The quality and range available for home grown Aussie spirits is astounding. Of the 255 spirits presented, the huge amount that managed to impress the judges just goes to show how much talent Australia has. Spirits from all 11 award categories including a large range of medal winners have been delivered to bars across the city, from Maybe Mae, Yiasou George, 2KW, Hellbound and many more. These will only last to the bottles last drop.
To see a full list of award winners go to tastingaustralia.com.au
Words and Images by Jonathon Tonkin