Winemakers Brendan and Laura Carter set up the Applewood Distillery in 2012, at their Gumeracha winery in the Adelaide Hills. The pair are inspired by the history and culture of Australia’s landscape, and have a purist, natural approach. They believe terroir is not just about the elements, it is also about the people – the community of growers and winemakers that surrounds the grapes. Up to 25 native botanicals – including desert lime, wattle seed and peppermint gum leaf – used in Applewood Australian Gin are steeped in high-grade grape spirit, the floral qualities of which balance the astringency of the botanicals.
The grapes are often sourced from growers who cannot sell them elsewhere. Of course, our panel was tasting blind and therefore unswayed by the magic of the story behind the gin. They judged purely on the end result, a gin they praised for its intense eucalypt palate, its uniquely Australian presence and its impressive (locally grown) juniper finish.