I first came across the name of Four Pillars on social media, as you do these days, and when I read they were making a Bloody Shiraz Gin – gin soaked in shiraz grapes – I knew I had to try it. They also make, amongst other things, a Spiced Negroni Gin, a Barrel Aged Gin, a Navy Strength Gin and their regular Rare Dry Gin. Here are some people having serious fun with their gin-making, I thought.
I was lucky and got hold of a small tasting sample of the Bloody Shiraz Gin. It’s a beautifully rich purple-red colour, like a port, and their website says it turns bright pink when mixed with tonic or soda. I’m afraid my sample was much too small to waste on such experiments, and I wanted to enjoy it neat to get the full effect.
Four Pillars takes Yarra Valley shiraz grapes and steep them in gin for eight weeks.
Smelling it there was, of course, the distinctive juniper scent, though not overpoweringly so. It blends in with the citrus notes, which seemed to me to be slightly more orangey than anything else. I also thought there were hints of the peppery-spicy scent you might expect from shiraz grapes. All in all it was a pleasing balance of juniper, citrus and spice. It’s also 37.8% ABV, by the way, so not the lighter alcohol content that something like sloe gin tends to have, and you can tell that on the nose. I think the colour also lets you know this is not going to be a light drink.
So, to tasting it. Hmm, wow, yes, this is as different as I thought it was going to be, from the name alone. The juniper’s even less prominent, and what comes through are those peppery and spicy shiraz flavours, with a punch of red fruit. It’s interesting that the juniper is definitely there on the nose, edges back on the palate, but reappears for a warming gin finish that definitely has you wanting another.
Unfortunately I couldn’t as I didn’t have any more. That was the end of my tasting sample… but the good news was that I did have some more of the other gins from Four Pillars, who are based in Healesville in Victoria, Australia, and I’ll be trying those ASAP. If you want to visit, check the website for their opening hours and tasting hours.
Unlike normal gin, which will usually keep indefinitely even when it’s been opened (though not in our house), Four Pillars recommends consuming its Bloody Shiraz Gin within two years. After that time the fruit elements in the gin will continue to affect the flavour, and not necessarily in a good way.
Buying Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin
The bad news is that the distillery has sold out its stock of Bloody Shiraz Gin and there won’t be any more made till summer 2017. The good news is that there is still some available from the wonderful people at Master of Malt, who will deliver all over the world.
To find out more about Bloody Shiraz Gin go to the Four Pillars Gin website.