The Importance of Our Harvest Range
Our Harvest series aims to capture Australian produce in its purest form, and as for the lemon-scented gum gin, this whisky is no different. In this particular paddock, the rye is dry grown without irrigation in red ochre earth, under big blue sky and surrounded by eucalypts. It’s an inherently Australian site we looked to capture in the bottle by starting the fermentation process naturally, using wild microbes from the field of rye malt. The fermentation was finished using a saison yeast strain to deliver a big impact on flavour - lending lifted aromatics of wildflowers, mandarin, yuzu and berries to the finished product, characteristics inherent to this particular paddock, year and climate.
On 6 April two new and wildly different Harvest spirits are launching at Archie Rose. One a gin, the other a whisky, a Harvest series first. The gin’s inspired by, and infused with, the leaves of the towering lemon-scented gum eucalyptus trees of Victoria’s Bunyip Hollow, while the whisky is borne from the red earth rye paddocks of Barellan, NSW. But hold up, before we get into the nitty gritty of these, let’s take a look at the Harvest series predecessors.
Poorman’s Orange Gin, 2019 First cab off the rank was Poorman’s Orange Gin, released in 2019. The oranges themselves were the catalyst for the whole project, really. Archie Rose founder Will Edwards and Head Distiller Dave Withers got to talking about the fruit after they’d read an article in Gourmet Traveller WINE mentioning them. Having been aware that exceptional citrus grower Peter Dryden of Wombat Bottoms was a leader in the citrus-growing space, they knew his produce would be the ultimate fruit to work with. Peter’s dedication to craft, friendly professionalism and quality of produce entirely encapsulated the premise of the Harvest series and the Archie Rose ethos. For us it wasn’t just about taking the fruit and distilling it, it was, and still is, about supporting the producer and helping in any way we can, particularly the journey of growing a botanical to a scale not traversed before. This was precisely one of the small hurdles we overcame when creating this first iteration: supply. The year we were distilling Poorman’s Orange Gin was the same year Jock Zonfrillo’s South Australian restaurant Orana staged a pop-up in Sydney requiring 700kg of Poorman’s orange. We ultimately got the supply we needed, and plenty of it, and were able to craft a gin so indicative of a moment in time, a specific harvest, a gin of 2019.
Sunrise Lime Harvest Gin 2020 Iteration two of our Harvest series was the Sunrise Lime Harvest Gin, made in collaboration with Vickie and Mark of Marvick Farm. The sunrise lime is a very special citrus. Grower Vickie Shina puts it simply, ”I can’t pick a sunrise lime and not eat it.” Following the overwhelming success of the previous year’s Poorman’s orange, we knew pursuing another underrated, underutilised, extremely delicious citrus was a sure-fire move. When we first approached Vickie and Mark the first question asked back was “well, which lime?” not all limes are created equal and there are very many native limes. “Each variety of finger lime has its own unique profile. We sent Dave and the team about seven samples for the team to taste and we landed on the Desert,” Vickie recalls. The flavours of Sunrise Lime are potent and the aromas are a distinct combination of herbaceous lime with overtones of yuzu — a pretty good combo with gin, we thought, and perfect straight up over ice, Mark reckons. When we ask Vickie and Mark how they feel about the Harvest series and collaborating they had this to say: “we love to work in collaboration with people like Archie Rose because we feel part of their product. We can contribute to it with our knowledge and vice-versa.” This is the essence of the Harvest Series and we are beyond proud to have created this gin with them in 2020.
Lemon Scented Gum Harvest 2021 Next up and soon to hit your bar cart? Edition three of our Harvest Vintage series: Lemon Scented Gum Gin 2021. This gin was distilled with incredibly special lemon-scented gum leaves grown at Victoria’s Bunyip Hollow by Cyan and Martin Von Gija. What might surprise you is that Cyan didn’t think it would work. “What I’ve noticed,” Cyan says, “is that a strong honey eucalyptus can produce that Pine O Cleen quality when it ferments. The sweetness is gone and it turns into not really the most enticing thing to drink. We sent Archie Rose a bunch of samples we thought would work amazingly and they didn’t. The alchemy of the process.” The alchemy indeed. Us here at Archie Rose HQ are really shooting for the upper echelon of gin, the really, really good stuff in a market already teeming with great gin. It is collaborations and projects like Harvest that are able to elevate distillers a notch above by actively seeking out special ingredients, taking something good, to great. It was nothing short of an honour to work with Cyan and the team of Bunyip Hollow once more (we first clinked glasses back in 2019 for the Sydney Opera House Outside and Inside Gins) to highlight the bounty of last year’s harvest and have the honour of capturing the best of 2021 in a bottle.
Single Paddock Whisky Harvest 2018 We now welcome our Harvest Series’ very first whisky — Single Paddock Whisky Harvest 2018. Why 2018? Because the heritage rye we used to distil was harvested in 2018 and the liquid amber has been ageing ever since. “I remember having Dave and Will out on my family farm five or six years ago now,” Stu Whytcross from Voyager Malts recalls. “I distinctly remember sitting on the header with them at sunset on a scorching 40 degree day. It was quite surreal, watching this heirloom variety of rye fill into the box behind us as we harvested it, knowing the unique journey it was set to take over the next few weeks, months and years.” Our first Harvest whisky pays tribute to the determination, temperament and soil makeup of a single paddock of heritage rye, dry grown in challenging 2018 drought conditions by the Whytcross family in Barellan, NSW. Just as terroir is captured in wine or cheese making, this whisky reflects the season in which it was grown and according to Head Distiller Dave Withers, is “the whisky equivalent to natural wine”. “Having people that cared enough about the raw ingredients they were using to not only come and help harvest it, but really try and capture the provenance through culturing yeast from the paddock as well was something that was really inspiring,” says grower Stu. The rye was harvested, semi-wild fermented and malted three ways and offers mandarin, milk chocolate and Anzac biscuit notes. Though excellent in a sour, drink it neat, pull it apart and allow its character to reveal itself.
Our 2019-established vintage series, Harvest, celebrates provenance, sustainability and the bounty and diversity of the annual Australian harvest. On April 6th 2022, Lemon Scented Gum Gin and Single Paddock Whisky Harvest will be released and will be available to purchase at the Archie Rose Bar and Cellar Door and www.archierose.com.au.