Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MarchApril 2015 Contents alive who's ever seen one," he says. "There's no
guidebook to run through approving a distillery, so
it's all for the first time."
With nine months spent on the DA approval
and seven months on the initial licensing, Edwards
was prepared for the worst when it came to
the ATO federal excise licence. Instead, all his
organisation paid off -- the stack of paperwork he
submitted weighed close to a kilo.
"I've heard horror stories about people being
there for years," he says. "For us, our licence took
35 days. But to do that, it took about a year of
calling, working with, speaking to the ATO."
DISTILLING THE ESSENTIALS
With all the pieces in place, all that was left to do
was distil the spirits. Well, almost.
"Joe actually moved up to Sydney, packed up
his whole life, on September 8, and the distillery
didn't even exist," says Edwards. "We grabbed a
coffee, and walked through. The roof's half torn
off, there's no slab, there's no gear here. And he
was saying, 'Oh, this is going to be really good,
you know, we've got a bit of work to do'. I just
imagine him thinking, 'What have I done? Who is
However, Dinsmoor had arrived prepared,
having been working on the gin recipe for his new
distillery for about a year -- before there was even
a solid job offer on the table. Edwards had himself
created a list of 60 potential botanicals. That
was quickly culled by Dinsmoor and between the
two of them they began to seriously investigate
between 25-30 botanicals.
"Joe was reading essential oil books from
the early 1900s, trying to figure out how certain
botanicals and the oils within them would translate
into a botanical distillate on their way through
the still," he says. "We had 15 botanical distillates,
and a huge pad of paper. Joe would then add
each distillate into a beaker of wheat spirit, and
we would then taste, write some notes, have a
discussion, and then make the next change. And
the next change. And the next change, because
you can only change one variable at a time, I
mean, you're literally putting .05 of a mL of lemon
myrtle distillate in, and then seeing what it's like.
Those sessions went over about five full days."
The process used to create the gin is unique
in that Dinsmoor is distilling each botanical
separately then blending each distillate into the
final product. This allows the important volatiles to
be controlled, and expressed in the final spirit to
their best advantage. According to Dinsmoor his
favourite additions are the weirder ones -- like the
"I was looking sort of through these really,
really basic websites," he says. "They were some
pretty classic 90s looking things, like Windows
98 specials. I was reading about river mint, and I
was like, okay, yeah, cool. This is something kind
of different, it's native, it's not really been done
before, and so I thought, we'll give that a crack. If
it turns out wrong, then we've just got some really
good Listerine for a while."
The distillery is also producing a vodka,
and although Edwards wasn't keen on the
spirit to begin with, he's very pleased with the
"There was that challenge of, we're going to
make a vodka and we're going to make a vodka
that we like," he says. "And so we were really
surprised, there were little notes of the sort of
apple and the mint, and the sort of citrusy taste.
Instead of just having a sip and going, 'Oh, it's
vodka,' we sort of had a sip and went, 'Hang on
a second,' and had another sip and went, 'That's
actually pretty good.'"
BREAKING WITH TRADITION
For Edwards and the team, the traditions of
distilling are important, but so is creating an
original and unique product.
"We don't want to be hemmed in by them,"
says Edwards. "We've created quite a traditional
dry gin. An old school balanced gin. But we sub
out the traditional ingredients, and replace them
with Australian natives. So that's why the citrus
is gone, and lemon myrtle and blood limes are in.
And herbal notes are sort of stripped down. So
it still ends up with quite an old school dry gin
flavour profile, but with a few things where you
just go, that's not quite what I was expecting."
Continuing the healthy disregard for
convention, they settled on malted rye as the
base for the White Rye that is the third offering in
the current portfolio. Unfortunately, this set quite
the challenge for their supplier -- Bintani, which
has been doggedly chasing a reliable source
Likewise in the whisky production, Dinsmoor
has been experimenting with wild yeasts and
German smoked malts. While the latter won't
feature in his core single malts, Dinsmoor is keen
to continue experimenting with malts from local
suppliers who smoke grains on a very small scale.
"The first four brews of single malt used
Beechwood smoked malt," says Dinsmoor. "It was
either that or cherry wood, but the cherry wood
was not a super consistent supply."
Dinsmoor says he only used it for 10-15 percent
of the mash bill, but the smoky flavours coming off
the brew were intense and a little overpowering;
thankfully the end result had mellowed.
"When it came through the still, I was like, 'oh,
it's so good'," he says. "We'll probably end up
getting some more in, but I'd like to try the cherry
wood, even just for shits and giggles."
Conversely, the signature single malt uses a
brewer's barley, with distiller's barley to "refine"
the fuller flavour of the former, and a combination
of three different yeasts. As for the wild yeast,
Dinsmoor has been popping the tops off the
fermentation vats -- each one is named after
a rapper like Kendrick Lamar or 2 Chainz -- to
introduce some local organisms.
"Not only are we sort of introducing wild yeast
-- because there's not a heap in the area, but what
we're doing that for is to introduce lactobacillus
bacteria," he says. "It's going to provide us later
on in the run with a rich mouthfeel, it will also hold
some really nice floral notes, that's a technique I
picked up at Lark."
THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
As for when the whisky will be out of the barrels,
Dinsmoor is not making any promises.
"I'm aiming for 4:38pm, January 15th, 2019," he
says. "I'd say, my best estimation would be, for the
single malt, probably four years. For the aged rye,
And while Edwards says that he has a "crazy
long list" of spirits he wants to make, Dinsmoor
is a little cagier about his plans -- beyond
making Archie Rose the forefront of local
"Some of the things that we're going to be
offering in the future, I think will be unique to us.
I don't know if I can tell you," he says. "It's super
special. We're working with NASA on it. I call up
Barack sometimes, like, 'Yo, Barry, do me a favour,'
and he's like, 'No worries, dude.'"
Certainly, the next step is conquering Australia,
followed by the US -- the market-specific bottles
are all ready to go -- then the UK and Europe.
"Spain loves their gins," says Edwards. "The
plan is to take it global. Aside from just the
geographic expansion, what we're really trying
to do is, first and foremost, make amazing spirits.
That's what we do, that's what we're about." b&c
WILL EDWARDS (CENTRE LEFT)
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