Earlier this year a storm swept through the UK and Europe, it left destruction and sore heads wherever it went.
The storm originated in Australia (although the wind apparently came from the west….) and in its eye stood Jeremy ‘Jez’ Spencer and Jason ‘Jackie’ Chan. Around them chaos, the West Winds Gin boys were on tour.
In the past gin has been seen as a little serious/dull/boring and many brands have, in recent years, been changing the way the world see’s the category, West Winds have taken that and turned it up to….. well Australian. We even saw one red faced, suited gentleman walking away from their stand at Imbibe shaking his head and muttering under his breath. Mission accomplished.
Throughout their European tour Jez and Jason knocked out drinks, caused mayhem and left scores of bartenders wondering what the hell had happened to them. However there needs to be more to a gin brand than two larger than life owners and thankfully for those that know the boys West Winds ticks that box as well.
Jez and Jason are well known in the Australian bar scene with Jason having previously taken out the win at the 42 Below Vodka Cocktail World Cup in 2005 and Jez having worked in various sites as well as for Appleton and Jack Daniels.
In 2011 the first two West Winds Gins were launched into the Australian market. These two, along with other brand extensions are the brain child of Jason and contain distinctly Australian botanicals and Margaret River water to ensure they stand out from the pack.
There are three gins in the range, let’s have look at how the boys themselves describe them (minus the swearing and shouting):
The Sabre(40% ABV)
The Sabre is our doff of the cap to the gin houses of old. Unashamedly classic, it is our Australian expression of a traditional gin, incorporating a strong undercurrent of citrus weaving through twelve spices and botanicals including juniper, lemon myrtle, lime peel and wattle seed.
The Cutlass(50% ABV)
Australia’s most awarded gin, The Cutlass is a beautifully aromatic gin with a unique Australian character. The Cutlass combines traditional juniper alongside some uniquely Australian elements, including cinnamon myrtle, lemon myrtle and Australian bush tomato.
The Broadside Navy Strength(58% ABV)
The Broadside Navy Strength, at 58% ABV, joins The Sabre and The Cutlass as a staple of our distillery. As for drinks ideas, we say keep it simple…sip it straight up on a cold winters evening, appreciate its “full-on” flavour in a dry Martini with a grapefruit twist or treat yourself to an explosive G&T with a slice of lemon.
In summary (and stealing some of Jez’s lines) The Sabre is the missionary position, traditional gin. The Cutlass is a fuck you to those who said it was impossible to put tomato in a gin and The Broadside Navy Strength is, balls out on Bondi Beach in a glass.
We have been lucky enough to try them on more than one occasion and we have a personal favourite in the form of the Broadside. It has an amazing salty note to it, unlike anything we have tried before in the world of gin that just had us going back for more. No more salty nuts accompanying our beers, side order of Broadside for us.
In general they are some of the most interesting gins we have tried in a long time. On this occasion ‘interesting’ isn’t our polite way of saying fucking awful, they are great products and the Aussie botanicals produce some unusual flavours that will be great fun to play around with. Importantly the juniper is not lost amongst all of this and stands bold in all the expressions.
So if you are after a gin with a bit of personality get your Aussie on and get some West Winds down your throats. If you hear the West Winds coming your way anytime soon, book the next day off work, load up the cupboards with some staples and enjoy the ride.