Four Pillars is a small distillery in the Yarra Valley. The ambition of the founders Cameron MacKenzie (formerly of Innocent Bystander and Giant Steps) and Stuart Gregor is to make the best craft gin in Australia. They started distilling in the Yarra Valley in late 2013 and produced a striking dry gin that is ‘modern Australian’ in style.
It is made in a 450 litre CARL still (only 40 of which are made a year) as all the best spirits they tasted on a ‘research trip’ to the States were made in these stills. Cameron, who is the distiller, uses an Australian wheat spirit as the base and preserves purity by closing all the plates during the distillation. He enhances the base spirit by the addition of coriander, juniper, cardamom, star anise, lemon myrtle, Tasmanian mountain pepper, lavender, cinnamon and angelica. Fresh organic oranges are added to the botanical pot. Cameron feels that the spices from Southeast Asia, the Australian ingredients and the oranges combine to give the gin a distinctly individual character. This character and quality was recognised by the judges at the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where they won two Gold Medals in a class of 92 of the world’s finest gins.
It is certainly a strikingly pure gin, so pure in fact that it can be drunk chilled on its own. The orange used in the botanical pot ensures it makes a superb negroni, while they recommend a twist of orange rather than lemon in a Four Pillars gin & tonic. As a gin, Four Pillars is as exciting as the many stunning wines coming out of Australia at the moment.