Move over tequila, Australian distiller Feels Botanical is betting on eau de vie being the next big thing in spirits in Australia.
Eau de vie is a French term that translates as “water of life” – it’s a style of European brandy that is un-aged and distilled from any orchard fruit.
According to creators Blake Vanderfield-Kramer and Steve Pillemer (below), Feels BASK drinks like tequila – only much smoother and made from grapes rather than agave. While it sounds like a left-field creation, Vanderfield says the style has a lot of synergies with Australia.
“There were very little to no Australian brands doing Eau de Vie at the time we decided to create the brand and it amazed us as to why such a quality and versatile spirit wasn’t being utilised more,” he explains. “There is also an abundance of high-quality grape producers within the Australian market, so utilising what the Australian agricultural industry has to offer was always a key benefit.
“We wanted our base spirit to deliver a sensorial experience to the product and for consumers, and Eau de Vie adds a velvety, creamy mouthfeel with beautiful fruit and aromatic characteristics to it.
The founders also chose to infuse their spirit with native ingredients such as Quandong and Kakadu Plum.
“Similar to why we wanted to use Australian grapes, there is an abundance of high-quality produce that is native to Australia,” Vanderfield-Kramer notes. “It adds a unique flavour characteristic to the spirit and there is a sustainability element to it.”
As Eau de vie is a new concept to many Australians, Vanderfield-Kramer says education has been key in both the on premise and with consumers.
“Part of our communication strategy is heavily focused on education,” he reveals. “What is Eau de Vie, why Eau de Vie is unique and how to consume it. There is also a big focus on working with venues and retailers on how to best utilise the Eau de Vie, as well as education for their clientele on it.
“Eau de Vie is an extremely versatile spirit that can be enjoyed straight up, with a mixer or in classic cocktails.”
He suggests serving it over ice and top with Mediterranean tonic water and a lemon wedge. His personal favourite Eau De Vie cocktail is a twist on a Tommy’s Margarita, which using Feels Bask instead of tequila. He says it has a smooth, creamy and fruit characteristic to it that he loves.
“We distil a combination of three botanicals into the grape spirit – hemp, Quandong and Kakadu Plum,” he explains. “These botanicals work in harmony with the Eau de Vie, while also adding complexity to the flavour profile. A Tommy’s Margarita with Feels Bask is a beautiful combination of sweet and sour with crisp apples and herbal notes.
At $78 (500ml) and $36 (200ml), Feels BASK is on sale directly from the Feels Botanical website, stockists, and key cocktail bars such as The Herring Room, Bert’s by Merivale, Bar Elvina, Dulcie’s Kings Cross, Hotel Palisade, Roxy’s, Rocker bar Bondi, Harvest, Maybe Mae to name a few.
The first batch includes:
● Feels Botanical Bask, 43% abv 500ml, with Hemp, Quandong & Kakadu Plum
● Feels Botanical Vivify, 43% abv 500ml, with Turmeric, Coconut & ginger
● Feels Botanical Rouse, 33% abv 500ml, with Rose, Horny Goat Weed & Davidson Plum
● Feels Botanical Revel, 33% abv 500ml, with Ginseng, Coffee & Illawarra Plum