First gin made with Australian-grown juniper launches

by Owen Bellwood

Drinks manufacturer Kangaroo Island Spirits has unveiled a new expression that claims to be the first gin distilled with Australian juniper.

Kangaroo Island Spirits has created 900 bottles of Koala 48 gin, which is made with 48 botanicals sourced from the distillery’s garden. The distillery’s director, Jon Lark, said: “To date it’s the first Australian estate-grown juniper to go into a gin and we put it into Koala 48 with 47 other botanicals from our block. “It’s created this very quirky and complex gin with lots of layers that start off with a nose of green coriander and finishes with pineapple, bitter lemon and a whole range of cottage garden things going on. “There’s also a really wonderful expression of fresh juniper in there.” Established in 2002, Kangaroo Island Spirits planted its first juniper trees five years ago, the distillery now has 150 trees from four different varieties. Bottled at 48% abv, the new expression was inspired by an encounter with a koala at the distillery. He said: “Kangaroo Island is known for its kangaroos but the island has also got a significant koala population and about six months ago an adolescent male koala walked through the back door of our distillery, which we’d never seen before. “We were standing around wondering how to tell this story in a bottle of gin and we had been thinking about Monkey 47 for a while. So, being Australian, we thought ‘bugger this we’ll do 48’.” Kangaroo Island Koala 48 Gin is available in select specialist retailers in Australia, carrying a recommended retail price of AU$95 (US$68) per 500ml bottle.