Established in June 2010, The West Winds gin has caused a stir within the UK as it made its way around the cities earlier this year and introduce itself to the bartenders and public. Why the clamor? This is a brand that offers something a little different.
The West Winds Gins were created by four Australians; 2005 42BELOW World Cocktail Champion Jason Chan, Paul White (engineer and distiller), Jeremy Spencer (spirits industry identity) and James Clarke (wine industry expert). It’s back in Melbourne in 2010 that Jason took the guys through his vision; to create an Australian gin, two to be exact, that were both savoury in character. The result? One at 40% incorporating toasted Australian wattle seed, and one at 50% showing off the native Australian bush tomato.
2011 hit, and with it the first two expressions to hit the Australian market via Tailor Made. The Sabre at 40% abv showed off its London Dry with toasted wattle seed, whilst The Cutlass, at a higher abv of 50%, had within the kutjera (a native bush tomato). Following this, both expressions won Double Gold and Gold respectively at the prestigious 2011 San Francisco International Spirits Competition, effectively launching the name around the world whilst also becoming the first for an Australian gin producer. To cap it off, they won Double Gold again when entering in 2013!
But what makes The West Winds stand out?
The use of Margaret River rainwater, located in the southwestern corner of Australia, is said to collect some of the cleanest rainwater in the world. Once collected, its triple filtered to remove impurities, then used for the distillation and blending. It’s not just the water though, but the use of Australian botanical. Ingredients we’re not overly familiar with in regards to other gin recipes, but over 50% of The West Winds gin expressions contain ingredients sourced from the land of Australia, including lemon myrtle, cinnamon myrtle, bush tomato, wattle seed (part of the tomato family, essentially Bush Tomatoes, in which only 6 out of over 100 are actually edible), fresh coriander and both fresh lemon peel and lime peel which is sourced from farms in Gingin, Western Australia. As you would expect with these such ingredients, the harvest depends on the seasons, so The West Winds are happy to mention that there are sometimes minor differences in the flavours of their gins.
The West Winds Gins are distilled 350 bottles at a time within a copper pot still. The botanicals are macerated within Australian neutral wheat spirit, itself a gluten-free base. Each distillation takes a number of hours, as well as an extra 24 hours that allows the raw ingredients to macerated before distilling.
Once the Margaret River rainwater is added to the final bottling for its desired abv strength, it’s ready for consumption. But how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
The West Winds Sabre – 40%
Dry spice upon the nose, with hints of cardoman and bush tomato. A developing fresh spice on the palate, bold, fresh vine tomato and earthy, pine notes blend well for a long, deep finish.
The West Winds Cutlass – 50%
Dry on the nose with a thin, earthy note that offers savoury grass and white pepper. Coriander, a natural sweetness and pine are present on the palate, with a lingering well-balanced finish.
The West Winds Broadside – 58%
Soft lemon with a slight aroma of thyme on the nose. A smooth texture with slight salt coming through. Bold upon the palate, with the salt more prominent, yet offers a well-rounded, natural sweetness with a fresh finish.
Amazing expressions! And work fantastic within these –
45 ml The West Winds Sabre
45 ml Sweet vermouth
1 dash Triple Sec
1 dash Angostura bitters
Stir all ingredients down over ice and serve into a chilled cocktail glass orange zest garnish.
The Clover Club
60 ml The West Winds Sabre
20 ml Lemon juice
20 ml Sugar syrup
1 Egg white
Add all ingredients without ice to shaker and dry shake. Add ice, shake and fine strain. Garnish with 3 raspberries.
Three expressions to have within your drinks cabinet for sure, and the Sabre can make a great gin and tonic with some vine tomatoes to garnish. The gin wins awards for a reason, Australia is finally here with its own.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.