THE GIN EXPERIENCE: BASS AND FLINDERS DISTILLERY, RED HILL, VICTORIA

Explore the subtleties of gin in this truly unique tasting experience, where you’ll even walk away with a bottle made to your own recipe.

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Gin may be the most misunderstood drink at the bar. With an image historically related to old ladies and mythological fables about inducing tears, many people don’t even give this magnificent historic beverage a proper look.

Bob Laing and his friend Wayne Klintworth started Bass and Flinders Distillery back in 1999. Their first intention was to make the famous Italian alcoholic beverage limoncello, which involves starting with a wine-based spirit. This base spirit led Bob and Wayne to the development of a wonderful range of vodka, grappa, mistelle and gin – resulting in international awards.

And now, Bass and Flinders Distillery run an incredible Gin Experience course that’s truly unique.

Situated at the back of a pretty winery in Red Hill, Bob and Wayne have a discrete shed, which houses a beautiful 300-litre, French-designed, Alembic-style still. They use a triple-distillation method and vapour-infuse the carefully selected botanicals for their range of gins.

The ultimate objective of the Gin Experience is to develop your own unique recipe, and it should be said that the sampling and testing process is as much a joy as it is educational. Bob goes to extraordinary effort, putting out more than 10 different single-flavour, vapoured-infused gins. Basically, these are some of the more common botanicals found in gin, but produced as single flavours. You’re given samples of each in separate glasses and measure out specific quantities with a syringe to blend your own flavour combinations.

Given that you’re making a gin, the predominant flavour has to be juniper berries, with a large quantity of coriander seed to balance out the flavour. From there, you’re the chef. If you fancy a hint of citrus, you can add a small quantity of lime or orange. If you want a little warmth in the mouth, you can add some chilli or pepper berry.

Then you just experiment – and with each little adaptation to your recipe, you get a greater understanding of the impact of the different botanicals. Once you add tonic water, you can see how it stacks up against the beautiful labels that Bass and Flinders sell to the public, or even test the recipes of your fellow participants.

Once you’re happy with your mix, you give the recipe to Bob who makes a bottle to your specifications and sends it to you. Now that’s amazing.

 

It should be noted that there’s continual testing and tasting of spirits in this class, so participants need to organise transport to and from the venue. 

 

By Jonathan Green

 

Bass & Flinders Distillery
w: www.bassandflindersdistillery.com
t: 0404 093 247
 
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