TIME TO READ: 3m 30s
In a picturesque garden on the central coast of NSW, the Distillery Botanica have been conjuring up a deliciously fragrant product that will have your taste buds sing.
By growing and handpicking a selection of fresh botanicals, Master Distiller Philip Moore extracts the purest perfumes to flavour one of the most loved alcohols, gin. Trained as a horticulturist and herbalist, Phillip is a skilled distiller who knows how to balance the delicate botanical flavours to create a distinctive product known as Garden Grown Gin.
We’ve had the opportunity to chat to the talented craftsman himself about his love for distillery and what’s behind making the perfect gin.
In a few sentences, can you tell us what is Distillery Botanica?
Our entire range of natural spirits and liqueurs is made from the highest quality plants. We let the plants do the talking 100%. There is absolutely no trickery with hidden flavour enhancers.
Who makes up the team at Distillery Botanic?
As owner and distiller, I do all the drink design, development and distilling. We have a bottling team of five people and a marketing team working in Sydney.
What lead you to begin distilling?
After twenty years as the owner of Renaissance Herbs – Australia’s largest herb nursery – I felt it was time for a change. Instead of putting herbs in pots, I decided to put them in bottles. Distillation seemed to be the perfect way to capture the whole authentic character of herbs.
Can you tell us a little about your training as a horticulturist and herbalist?
As the owner of a perpetually inquisitive mind, I did hundreds of trials on growing herbs and perennials – very stimulating and satisfying indeed. I also delved into the pleasures to be had from usual combinations of herbs in food and teas.
Gin is an alcohol people tend to love or hate. Have you always had a love for gin?
My appreciation for gin began in 2009 when I started searching for the holy grail; the perfect gin. After seven years I have honed and tweaked my gin to the point where it is fit to be served in a holy grail.
What’s your favourite part about distilling?
My favourite endeavour in the distillery is developing new drinks. This can take up to a year and involve hundreds of blends.
And the least favourite?
Tell us about a day in the distillery. What does that involve?
The major part of my day is spent making our spirits and liqueurs. Planning and paperwork is squeezed in at the end of the day.
Now, we don’t want you to disclose all your secrets, but what are the key steps in producing the Distillery Botanica gin?
To make our gin, we use a variety of techniques, maceration, potstill distillation, vapour infusion distillation and enfleurage borrowed from the French perfume industry.
What makes Distillery Botanica so special and stand out from the crowd?
Our decision to make the purest and most authentic drinks using only the best quality botanicals with a minimum of artifice and no additives.
What would surprise us about Distillery Botanica?
The volume of drinks we produce from such a small shed.
And how about a surprising thing about you?
From a standing start with no training and no prior experience, I have made drinks which are judged in international competitions to be the equal of the best in the world.
Distillery Botanica has received recognition by international spirit competitions of the superb flavours in their drinks. So far, they’ve been awarded five golds and six silver medals.
For gin enthusiasts or amateurs, what’s your number one ‘gin drinking’ tips?
To make a superb martini, you should be able to enjoy the gin neat. If not, keep searching.
A martini should be stirred and not shaken and go easy on the vermouth. Winston Churchill said a dry martini was one where you looked in the direction of France where vermouth is made and then you drank the gin.
What’s next for Distillery Botanica?
The guiding concept for the distillery in the past and also into the future is the Japanese idea of kaizen. Essentially, many small improvements over a long period of time.
Is your mouth watering yet?
To taste the flavours of Distillery Botanica yourself, here’s a list of stockists.
Alternatively, buy it from the source direct here. And for those in Erina, you can visit the distillery to witness the craftsmanship first-hand from Wednesdays to Sundays.