It is no secret that I love gin. I like to think that I loved gin way before it became fashionable to love gin. Gin was always my go-to drink; G&T. #yesplease
I am not sure what it is about gin that I love so much, but I suspect that it has something to do with its divine aroma, rather than the flavour. Faced with a new gin, I spend a large amount of time pondering over its scent and trying to determine what fragrances and flavours have come into play.
Gin is essentially flavoured vodka, its predominant flavour profile being that of the juniper berry (not actually a berry). This is also the determining factor of whether or not a gin is actually a gin.
There are other ingredients that come into play; coriander, angelica root, dill, orange, pepper, cassia and any number of combination and compilation of botanicals; but always juniper berries.
As I have mentioned many times in previous posts, I have often daydreamed about becoming a master distiller… well, actually, in the past I always daydreamed about becoming a moonshiner, but I recently decided to step up a bit and now I daydream about becoming a master distiller… of gin.
Australia has seen a recent surge in popularity of gin, but even more so, it has seen a surge in Australian boutique gin distillers, and the Australian industry most certainly has my attention. If there is a gin distillery on the map close to where I am visiting, I am most definitely going to drop by for a visit.
And so came about my recent visit to Bass & Flinders Distillery, on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.
I was already acquainted with Bass & Flinders’ spirits, with their beautifully hued limited edition Cerise, a very pretty gin with rosella, raspberries and cherries as its prime botanicals, already amongst my gin collection.
Planning a quick visit on a recent trip to the Peninsula, I discovered that Bass & Flinders also run a 2 hour Gin Masterclass… and well, it just so happened that I had 2 hours to spare…
Bass and Flinders are located in Red Hill, which is not really assessable by public transport… so plan ahead. And if you really want to enjoy the experience, I would suggest a designated driver – it is hard to master a class if you need to keep an eye on your intake.
And so the class begins.
Bass & Flinders was initially a journey of discovery and passion project for friends, Wayne Klintworth and Bob Laing. The plan was to make a French aperitif, Pineau des Charentes, which is a fortified wine made with grape juice to which a Cognac eau de vie is added and then matured… sounds a bit special 🙂
As it happens, waiting 5 years for the Pineau des Charentes to mature is a bit of a boring process, so with more than a little time on their hands, and in the quest for something a little more instantaneous, the magical process of creating gins was born.
Holly Klintworth, Wayne’s daughter, entered the picture after the sudden passing of Bob in 2014 to continue the legacy, and add her own magical touch.
Holly was no stranger to the industry, having spent many years abroad, working in the wine industry. Holly adds a beautiful peaceful presence to the equation, magnified by her own passion and desire to continue expanding the Bass & Flinders dynasty sustainably and ethically.
The Bass & Flinders’ point of difference is that the gin’s base spirit is made out of the grapes that are grown in the region.
And we are talking enough grapes to produce 20,000 litres. All of which is put through the distillery’s 300lt pot still. As you would expect, this tak