I’ve already reviewed and raved about two gins made by Four Pillars from Australia, its bloody good Bloody Shiraz, and its extra-strong Navy Strength Gin, a gin that packs a deliciously powerful 58.8% wallop.
But what, I’ve been wondering, is the distillery’s basic gin like, which they call their Rare Dry Gin and comes in at 41.8% ABV? (What is it about that .8% they like?) You can’t cook a good meal with bad ingredients, and Bloody Shiraz takes the company’s regular gin and merely blends it with shiraz grapes. The Navy Strength uses a slightly different process from the regular gin, but starts with the same base spirit.
So… what’s it like? When I opened the bottle my immediate thought was how fresh and light it smelled. On the nose in the glass there’s more of a juniper scent than with the Navy Strength, but with a zesty orange freshness too, and a hint of mint. There’s no mint in there but there is lavender, and that comes across for a floral flourish.
On the palate the citrus recedes a little and the spicy notes step forward, especially the pepper from the Tasmanian pepperberry, which I’d never heard of till now but love the sound of. With cinnamon and cardamom in the mix too, it’s not surprising there’s more than a touch of Oriental spiciness. It’s one of those gins that you can sip slowly, savouring every mouthful as different combinations of flavour seem to chase themselves round your mouth.
Gins like this are expensive, and yes, you can buy good gins for half the price of something like this Rare Dry Gin. But the Rare Dry will reward you for longer as you sip it slowly, neat or perhaps on the rocks, rather than simply mix it with tonic.
Four Pillars Gin Cocktails
For cocktail suggestions for the Rare Dry Gin check out the recipes section on the Four Pillars website.
What are the Four Pillars?
I’d been wondering what the ‘four pillars’ were, so I checked. The distillers regard the four pillars as the four pillars on which their spirit production is based – the still, the water, the botanicals, and love. I’d never argue with that last one, except to say you could also call it passion, which is what I like about many of these craft distillers. They’re not about gimmicks but about producing something they really believe in.
The botanicals in this Rare Dry Gin are coriander, juniper, cardamom, star anise, lemon myrtle, Tasmanian mountain pepper, lavender, cinnamon and angelica, with the addition of organic oranges. Another of the four pillars, the water, comes locally from the Yarra Valley where the distillery is based, and is triple-filtered.
The Rare Dry Gin has been well received and handed a host of awards, including a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2016 and 2014, Gold at the Global Gin Masters 2016 and Gold at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition 2014.
To find out more about Four Pillars Gin go, not surprisingly, to the Four Pillars Gin website.
Buying Rare Dry Gin from Four Pillars
You can buy Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin from Master of Malt, who will ship worldwide. What I like about Master of Malt is that before you commit to a bottle they will send you a tasting sample in a 3cl bottle. You pay a bit of a premium for it, but it does enable you to try something – or several somethings – you might be interested in trying if you’re placing another order anyway.
If you live in the UK you can also buy it on Amazon: