Distillery Botanica's Philip Moore has revealed how his uniquely Aussie approach to creating spirits sets the brands apart.
Based on the NSW Central Coast, Moore is inspired by the botanicals hand-picked from his distillery garden, which sits on a property renowned for more than 50 years as The Fragrant Garden centre.
“The garden has been our muse – we see what is growing and take inspiration from that,” Moore told The Cultivator.
After 20 years as founding manager of leading Australian wholesale herb nursery Renaissance Herbs, which grew close to one million plants a year, the “analytical and hedonistic consumer of all things alcohol” said creating his own range of top-quality drinks held strong appeal.
He purchased a tiny still in 2007 and taught himself the ancient art and science of distilling, guided by two books and the internet.
Distillery Botanica is now home to an array of award-winning tipples, including Roots and Leaves Dry Gin, Lemon Myrtle Liqueur, and the best-selling Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur.
“Our Moore’s Roots and Leaves Gin (with a little wombat on the label) boasts eight out of the nine plants from our garden - and the Lemon Myrtle Liqueur is made entirely of the leaves of the lemon myrtles which grow very, very well in what would be challenging soil for most plants,” said Moore.
“Another gin we make has the flowers of murraya, rose and chamomile, as well as the leaves of berggarten sage also from our garden.”
When not distilling, Moore can be found tending to the property’s gardens, planting the fresh herbs, fragrant botanicals and flowering plants that feature in the Distillery Botanica range.
“One of our guiding principles is that all Distillery Botanica drinks are made from plants. So if climatic limitations mean they can’t be grown in our garden, they are made from the highest quality botanicals sourced preferably from Australian growers,” he said.
Another of Distillery Botanica’s policies is to use nothing artificial.
“We often hear at our cellar door, ‘it tastes like raspberries’ to the pleasant surprise of our distillery guests on tasting our raspberry liqueur,” said Moore.
“This indicates how consumers have grown accustomed to tasting artificially flavoured and coloured drinks that bear no resemblance to the real thing.”
Moore noted that it was crucial that the base spirit be pristinely clean.
“In these types of more elegant and refined drinks, if the base spirit has an off-flavour, it is immediately obvious to even the layperson," he explained.
“To guarantee the success of gin products, it is essential that there is a totally reliable Australian manufacturer of quality spirits – and Manildra Group has been fulfilling this role marvellously well for the past decade for Distillery Botanica.”
Manildra Group Head of Ethanol Debbie Forster said Distillery Botanica was one of Manildra Group’s founding grain-neutral spirit clients, with domestic distilling having expanded significantly in the past two decades.
“It’s been exciting to watch Distillery Botanica’s growth, to produce globally acclaimed spirits that highlight our dynamic and distinctive Australian botanicals,” said Forster.
The Cultivator is a gorgeous quarterly publication from Manildra, an Associate Member of the Drinks Association.
Click here to view the magazine.