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Gin Reviews

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin


I've been wanting to try the Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin for a while now. While many people mistakenly assume its Four Pillar's own sloe gin variation due to its similarly raspberry purple colouring, but it's actually slightly different. To my knowledge, the Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin is the first of its kind. 

Typically, to make sloe gin, gin is steeped a jar together with sloes (which are a type of blackthorn plant) and sugar. The process of making the Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin differs in two ways. Firstly, the Four Pillars' classic Rare Dry Gin, distilled straight out of their stills at 93% ABV, is steeped in local Shiraz grapes from nearby wineries, rather than in sloe berries. Secondly, no extra sugar is added.


A very evocative and sensorially taken photo of Shiraz Grape... (Image source: Four Pillars)

The process of transforming the Rare Dry Gin into the Bloody Shiraz Gin is pretty straightforward if you think about it. But the gin nonetheless evolves to take on a deep-hued purple colour and a natural sweetness, letting the natural flavours of the ripe Shiraz grapes work its magic over the six to eight weeks in which each batch of gin sits.
  
In a previous interview with Drinks Adventure, Four Pillars Distillery's co-founder Cam MacKenzie actually spoke about fielding demand for Four Pillars to make their own version of sloe gin. Yet MacKenzie had his reservations, citing the fact that the creation of a sloe gin necessitated the addition of copious amounts of sugar to balance the acidity of sloe berries, which he was not in favour of.
     
MacKenzie later did confess: "Truthfully, we did make [a sloe gin], we never released it. It was as revolting as I thought it would be." Yet, with the Bloody Shiraz Gin, it seems that Four Pillars managed to strike gold and eschew the sloe gin category altogether - with equally (if not more?) delicious results.


Four Pillars Distillery (Image source: Four Pillars)

All this takes place in the Four Pillars Distillery in Melbourne's Yarra Valley, which is home to four different types of copper stills, affectionately called "Wilma", "Jude", "Beth" and"Coral" dubbed as "sisters" by the brand. (There's also a fifth "sister", "Eileen", who sits in their Sydney Laboratory.)

As mentioned above, the base gin is the OG Rare Dry Gin from the brand, which is a neutral grain spirit distilled with the "Wilma" copper pot still together with nine signature botanicals - including Juniper, Orange, Lemon Myrtle, Coriander, Green Cardamom, Cassia, Star Anise, Lavender, Angelica and Pepperberry. 
 

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin - Tasting Notes:

 

Colour: Violet purple. Reminds me of Ribena - the blackcurrant-cordial drink that's popular in Southeast Asia.

Nose: A strong aroma of poached sour plums, accompanied with a light dashings of cinnamon and peppery spice. Think poached berries mixed with masala chai and christmas spice - probably the cardamom at work! 

Palate: The sour plum note grows in strength on the palate, accompanied by the flavour of stewed raspberry jam. There's a slight bitterness. I also get spicy complements of nutmeg, cardamon, cinnamon that adds complexity.

I must say though, this has quite a bit of similarities to your typical sloe gin, but its a lot smoother with a lighter body.

Finish: The finish was honestly the most interesting and unexpected for me! There's a smokiness and bitterness that grows on the finish, giving a slight savoury tilt to the honeyed sweetness that you get on the palate. The earthy notes of cloves and star anise linger on the palate. 

    


My Rating:

🧣

A warm scarf on a cool evening. This Bloody Shiraz Gin boasts robust berry flavours and warming spices that I found super comforting.

The brand recommends pairing this with lime juice or grapefruit, but honestly, I think I enjoyed this just fine when drank neat. It steers clear of taking on the one-dimensional sweetness that one sometimes gets with sloe gin, saved by the added complexity of the smokiness and earthy spiciness on the finish. Definitely worth a try for any gin lover! 

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If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can pick it up at the major online retailer Master of Malt (ships internationally).

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@lotusroot518