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World Gin Day - Four Pillars Gin

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When visiting the Yarra Valley, Gin lovers can now rejoice by visiting the Four Pillars Gin Distillery, open daily to the general public. Just one hour from Melbourne, on the main street of Healesville is an inspired initiative by Four Pillars in what was an old timber merchant's shed, recently transformed to a craft gin distillery.

Inside it's an impressive space with the distillery on one side divided by a wall featuring portholes to the tasting area that you can peek through to see where the magic happens. There are plenty of tables for communal tasting, a long bar for mixing cocktails and a tasting station.

There's a few options for enjoying your experience at Four Pillars including straight gin tasting, gin tasting with mixers and cocktails at the bar.

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I opted for the serious straight gin tasting, my guide Izzy starts with a fascinating overview of the gin making process as we peer through the portholes at the shiny copper and stainless steel contraption where botanicals go in and herbaceous, citrus infused gin comes out. Each batch of gin takes around seven hours to distil.

I'm then taken through the range including discussing and smelling all the different botanicals that go into producing each gin. The two native botanicals largely used at Four Pillars are Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon myrtle, both in dry leaf form. We start with the Rare Dry Gin, which is the most common of the Four Pillars range and can be found in selected retailers across Australia. It's strong stuff, I'm not used to sipping gin straight!

Hold on to your (sailor) hats the next gin is the Navy Strength, a collaboration with Melbourne's Gin Palace at 58.5% alcohol it packs a punch with notes of ginger, turmeric, natives and finger limes from Byron Bay. You do notice it is stronger than the Rare Dry Gin at a paltry 41.8% alcohol. Interesting fact, did you know that over 55% alcohol spirits won't catch on fire?

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Next we try the Modern Australian Gin, made in association with Neil Perry to create an Asian-inspired modern Australian gin. Notes of red and green Szechuan give it a lovely warm mouthfeel, while macadamia nuts, Rose Glow apples, fresh tangelos, grapefruit peel and dry native quandong add fruit and lift.

The Spiced Negroni Gin is next in line and has been specifically made for mixing Negroni cocktails – perfect for Negroni Week! It's a highly aromatic and spicy gin with great power and intensity and features an exotic West African spice called Grains of Paradise. Who knew?

Lastly we try Cousin Vera's Gin, a collaboration with Spain's Santamania Destileria. You can just imagine how this gin came to life, with the makers hanging out in Spain for 3 days, testing and drinking gin - tough job but someone has to do it! This gin has a Tempranillo grape spirit base and a combination of Spanish and native Australian botanicals. Ziggy advises it's the perfect base for a Dirty Martini and we couldn't agree more!

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After a tasting, I feel incredibly well informed about the gin making process and a whole knew appreciation for that classic spirit gin, crafted in a thoroughly modern way by Four Pillars.

Walk-in gin tastings are available every day for $10 per person and refundable with purchase of any 700ml bottle of gin. Groups of 9 people or more are required to pre-book. You can also opt to relax and be guided through a tasting of 3 gins + tonic for $12 (non-refundable)

There's plenty of gin related gifts to buy here and it's a great setting to enjoy the perfect G&T. So on World Gin Day or any day in fact, a detour from Yarra Valley's food & wine trail to this Healesville Gin haven is a must.

Four Pillars Distillery
2a Lilydale Road, Healesville VIC 3777 ph: 03 5962 2791
Open Sunday-Thursday 10.30am-5.30pm, Friday and Saturday 10.30am-9.00pm
Check www.fourpillarsgin.com.au for more details.

Where to stay after all this gin drinking? We recently stayed at Wingspread Guesthouse and you can read the review here.

Image credit: Four Pillars, IG @alluxia

Review Yarra Valley Cottage Wingspread
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