Each year the World Gin Awards, presented by The Drinks Report, select the very best gins in the internationally recognised gin style categories and promote them to consumers and trade across the globe. The 2021 awards have been a triumph for Australia, with a huge number of local spirits coming out on top.
Leading the pack was Ester Spirits, which took out the award the World’s Best Navy Gin. The judges described the gin as: “Earthy and minty on the nose, with a lifted, citrusy palate. The palate develops into more spice and menthol heat before a long finish, and offers some smoothness mid-palate. Well-balanced.”
Four Pillars saw its Olive Leaf Gin named the World’s Best Signature Botanical Gin. But the accolades didn’t end there for Four Pillars.
The distiller noted: “And then we heard that Cameron McKenzie had been named runner-up in Master of Distiller of the Year at the 2021 Icons of Gin, second to the legendary Dr Anne Brock from Bombay Sapphire. Plus we were named runner-up in Brand Innovator of the Year. Oh and our long-standing creative design partners INTERWEAVE GROUP were named Advertising Agency of the Year. All in all, another super proud day for our Four Pillars Gin family, combining craft, deliciousness, creativity and design in equal measure. Cheers!”
But back to the World Gin Awards, which involve each gin being tasted in its relevant style to identify and select the style winners. Judges making up the World Gin Awards panel include international, leading journalists, specialist drinks retailers and industry experts. The style winners are then tasted against each other to identify the ‘Best’ gin in each category.
Regarding Four Pillars Olive Leaf Gin, which is made using ingredients from Cobram Estate in Victoria, the judges said: “This has an interesting aroma, with juniper, a little lemon and some green notes. The olive leaf character is much more pronounced on the palate; it is oily and pleasant and and pleasant and brings a touch of umami flavour. Very satisfying.” brings a touch of umami flavour. Very satisfying.”
Other Australia spirits declared the country’s best gins were:
Best Classic Gin: Never Never Distillery, Southern Strength Gin
Judges’ tasting note: “Resinous juniper and pine in the front, with some citrus just behind. With added water it opens up and more juniper appears on the palate. Citrusy, piney, with an everlasting finish.”
Best Contemporary Style Gin: Hellfire Bluff Summer Gin
Judges’ tasting note: “The nose is clear and balanced, and quite traditional. To taste, it’s intensely fruity and a little spicy. The flavours are warm and long-lasting, with juniper, citrus and herbal botanicals that are somewhat Christmassy. The finish is long.”
Best Flavoured Gin: Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin
Judges’ tasting note: “A warm plum aroma. On the palate there is a beautiful plum jam character with a touch of prune and some spice. It is sweet with balancing acidity.”
Best London Dry Gin: The West Winds Gin The Sabre
Judges’ tasting note: “Nice Juniper flavour, and a classic nose of coriander and orange peel, with some spicy notes among them. The mouthfeel is great with some smooth citrus presence, pepper, and some spice.”
Best Matured Gin: MY Gin Barrel Aged
Judges’ tasting note: “Juicy orange and grapefruit on the nose with hints of caramel, coconut and tobacco. The palate is full bodied, with an appealing balance of fruit and wood notes. Orange, liquorice, anise and hints of clove. A long finish with touches of vanilla and spice. Well balanced, not too sweet.”
Best Old Tom Gin: Old Kempton Distillery Embezzler Gin
Judges’ tasting note: “Juniper and coriander on both the nose and the palate. The nose has an interesting, lovely sweet sherry nose, and the flavours on the palate are bold, spicy and rich. There’s a little sharpness on the finish, and some good complexity.”
Icons of Gin 2021
The Icons of Gin awards are devoted to finding the very best people, products and places within the world of gin.
Nick Baxter from Archie Rose Distilling Co received a Highly Commended in the Brand Ambassador of the Year category, while Archie Rose’s Simon Audas received a Highly Commended for Bar Manager of the Year.
The Hospo Group, based in Queensland, won Bar Group of the Year. The boutique hospitality group has a small, carefully curated collection of bars serving a wide range of local and international gins. Since opening its first venue, Three Wolves in Cairns, in October 2016, the group has earned a reputation for its exceptional collection of gins, whiskies, rums and wines, as well as its cocktails and food offerings.
Ben Tassone (above) from Margaret River Distilling Company won Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year. Ben has been involved at Margaret River since the distillery opened five years ago. Icons of Gin noted: “He provides excellent customer service and is an exceptional team leader and mentor. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Ben helped put together care packages for casual staff not eligible for government assistance. He has also hosted community events at the venue such as charity fundraisers and local business meet-ups.”