We’re not going to say that Four Pillars Gin is the best thing to come to America from Australia since Steve Irwin, but we’re also not not going to say it.
Established in 2013 in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia, Four Pillars was founded by Cameron Mackenzie, a former Olympic runner, with the intention to bring craft distilling and craft cocktails in Australia to new levels. Mackenzie and his two partners Stuart Gregor, Matt Jones—who have over fifty years combined experience in the wine and spirits industries—have been doing a damn good job so far, winning multiple medals for their flagship gins. Now, though, they’re stepping up to the international stage, unveiling their flagship expressions, Rare Dry and their Navy Strength, in markets in New York and California.
(The name, for those wondering, comes from the distillery’s philosophy—to create a gin based on four principles: magnificent stills, the best water in the world, exquisitely sourced botanicals and good old-fashioned love.)
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Rare Dry (41.8% ABV), the first gin created by Four Pillars is juniper-forward, but also includes indigenous Australian ingredients such as Tasmanian Pepperberry and Lemon Myrtle. The addition of large amounts of orange, too, help Rare Dry stand out from other dry gins on the market. For those of you still on the fence, Rare Dry was awarded a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2014, and backed that up with another double gold medal at the same competition this year. This is something that no other gin has ever done.
Navy Strength (58.8% ABV) is the second gin to be released stateside and continues the tradition of other “navy-strength” spirits. Navy Strength gin as a whole is a tradition that dates back to the 1800s Royal Navy, when gin barrels were often stored next to gunpowder kegs on ships during long sea voyages. If the gin was diluted and it happened to spill on the gunpowder, the powder wouldn’t light. The Royal Navy realized that gin about a certain alcohol (57%) would still light. Hence the big, bold gins we know today as Navy Strength. The gin itself has a different profile than Rare Dry, with Australian Finger Limes being subbed in for the oranges. Ginger and turmeric also make an appearance in Navy Strength.
These gins, basically, will have you screaming “Crikey” in no time.
Rare Dry sells for $38 and Navy Strength sells for $48.