The Gin Bandits
McHENRY DISTILLERY- FEDERATION GIN
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
The views in this review are our own, we have not been sponsored by the fine people at McHenry Distillery.
Back in September, we were lucky enough to travel out to Hamburg for the much anticipated German leg of Junipalooza. To those of you who don't know, Junipalooza is basically a mecca for all gin fans. It's a place you can go and sample as much gin as you like without being judged or frowned upon. It's also a fantastic opportunity to meet the makers of some of your favourite gin and also discover a new found love for gin which you had never heard about. If you haven't checked them out here, definitely do so and you can thank us later.
Armed with only a carry on case each for 2 nights stay in Hamburg, Mrs Bandit and I had to carefully pick which gins we wanted to take home. After not being able to get some of the brands we wanted on the London leg, we had already over done it. We turned up at Hamburg Junipalooza with a list, a list of gins we were definitely buying this time round, but once we got to the event and met some distillers, the list completely changed (We actually only came home with one bottle from our original list). We had already purchased 5 bottles and knew that we could possibly squeeze one more bottle into our tiny suitcase and check it in (praying nothing would break!).
As we scoped out the room, during the last 40 minutes of the festival we came across a friendly looking guy at the McHenry Distillery stand, so we headed over for a chat and a taste of what they had on offer. That guy turned out to be the founder of Tasmanian based McHenry Distillery, Bill McHenry. On the day, he was there showcasing four or five different versions of their gin which included their Classic Dry Gin, Navy Strength Gin, Christmas Gin (we nearly bought this, it was infused with Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold) and the final bottle was their Federation Gin. We ended up speaking to Bill until the final bell (end of the festival) where he told us how he got into the drinks industry and even invited us to stay in his lodge at their distillery if we were ever in Tasmania. If we're honest, Australia wasn't on our list of places to visit due to the flight time (and the mini bandits), but over the London and Hamburg legs of Junipalooza, we met some amazing Ozzies who happen to make some really great gin. Who knows, but now the Melbourne leg of Junipalooza is definitely on our future wish list.
After many years in the Pharmaceutical industry, Bill had pondered his next career move. It was a friend who had jokingly suggested with a surname like McHenry, maybe he should get into Whiskey making. That comment seemed to spark an interest which resulted in years of research and Bill’s continuous nagging of the wife until one day he was finally given the green light to give it a shot. Whilst production of his Whiskey was at the resting point, Bill decided to create something for the non-whiskey drinkers visiting his distillery and created a gin. After numerous attempts working on the recipe over a few months, McHenry Distillery had created their first Classic Dry Gin. After receiving rave reviews, McHenry had the privilege to be asked by National Parliament in Canberra to create a gin using a botanical from each Australian state and territory. The final recipe uses Kakadu Plum (Northern Territory), Lemon Myrtle (Queensland), Strawberry Gum (New South Wales), Mountain Pepper (Australian Capital Territory) Cinnamon Myrtle (Victoria) Celery Top Pine (Tasmania), Wattle seed (South Australia) and Quandong (Western Australia).
When drank neat you can taste juniper, but also a unique flavour which we’ve never come across before, this must come from their selective botanical range, it’s quite dry and earthy, but really good. We mixed ours with Franklin & Sons Pink Grapefruit with Bergamot Tonic and garnished with a dehydrated orange wheel which worked well, but I can imagine it would also work well with a sharp tonic such as Fentimans Premium Indian Tonic Water. I feel we have been lucky to have this rare bottle in our collection and really enjoyed speaking with Bill about how he took his dream from idea to reality. If you ever get the opportunity, give it a go, also definitely check out their Christmas Gin, we wish we had room for this in our suitcase that day.
As usual, let us know your thoughts on McHenry's Federation Gin and you can follow them on social media here
The Gin Bandits.