I’m touring the new Melbourne gin distillery Brogan’s Way in Richmond, and proud dad Simon Carr has just introduced me to the new family addition.
It’s a statuesque, four-metre high still made of iridescent copper – all the way from Germany.
Simon says he broke through the language barrier and connected with the manufacturer of the still when he explained he was setting up the distillery with his daughter Brogan.
“The company has been hand crafting stills for six generations and were very happy to build for a family distillery.”
The perfect still
Finding the perfect still came at the end of a long world tour.
Simon and Brogan visited 30 gin distilleries in Europe and the US before deciding that their kind of gin came from a CARL still.
They also found there was no shortage of distilleries to visit.
There’s been an explosion in the world gin market and the Australian craft gin industry is booming, with the number of distilleries doubling in the past five years.
“Craft gins are very popular because people of all ages are willing to pay a little more for boutique taste experiences, rather than swilling back the same old drinks.”
Having seen the process, I now have a new respect for the crystal clear liquid too.
How gin is made
In short, making gin involves combining ethanol, water and juniper berries in a still, adding botanicals and heat, vaporising, cooling, condensing and collecting.
However, the long version is far more interesting: it’s part passion, part science, part creativity.
A former research scientist, Brogan has a masters degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot Watt University in Scotland, where she started developing her unique gin recipes.
The botanicals she works with include the gin staples of juniper, orris root and citrus balanced with the Australian notes of wattle seed, strawberry gum, lilli pilli and salt bush, to name just a few.
After creating three distinct flavours, Brogan invited a panel of tasters (spirit judges, coffee roasters, brewers and mixologists) to give their opinions before tweaking flavours for the final recipes.
Simon says: “Brogan has the finer palette of the two of us and that’s where the name Brogan’s Way came from”.
“She creates the recipes and she’s there at every distilling session; pouring in carefully weighed botanicals, assessing the vapours, calibrating temperatures and making sure we collect the best gin”.
Sitting in front of the bar framing the centrepiece of the still, Simon takes me through the four gins – an everyday citrus dry gin; a fruity and floral lighter style gin; a navy strength savoury aromatic gin; and a new strawberry spiced gin.
The first sip is neat to give the true flavour, the second is with garnish and the third is with tonic – each one subtly changing the taste.
I’d never really stopped to consider what I was tasting in gin before and I get a sneaking feeling I’ve been drowning it in too much tonic.
My favourite Brogan’s Way gin has to be Evening Light with flavours of mango, orange, raspberry, red rose, grapefruit and river mint.
I don’t know all the fancy tasting terms, but the first word that comes to mind is fun.
Who would have thought you could bottle it?
To join a tour, attend a masterclass or have a drink in the bar, find out more at:
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