The winners of the 2023 Australian Gin Awards were announced last week at Sydney’s Hickson House, with the results reflecting the thriving craft gin scene in Australia.
The Best in Show and Best in Class: Overproof Gin was awarded to Jones & Smith Distillery Epoch Navy Strength Gin.
Australian Gin Awards chairman Mikey Enright said the decision for this year’s Best in Show was close.
“All entries were assessed, marked and the best in category was chosen. Once this process is completed we have a round table discussion with all judges and a tasting of the best in categories to determine the ‘Best in Show’. This is tough decision time because the gins are such high quality at this stage of elimination.
“There can only be one ‘Best in Show’ and it was so close this year between the final two. However a Navy Strength gin was voted the winner by a majority after several tastings,” said Enright.
Jones & Smith is based in Central West NSW and was co-founded by husband-and-wife duo Tony and Dot Jones. The judging panel described the Epoch Navy Strength Gin as “full flavoured, very smooth and a most impressive gin”.
Tony Jones is proud of the distillery’s achievements.
“We made our first gin at the end of 2019 and around Christmas time we started selling it. We’ve got the [Best in Class] trophy award the last three years and we’ve gone even better this year,” he said.
Sydney’s Lily Fields Distilling Co. took home the award of Best in Class: Classic Dry with its Juniper Dry Gin. Only in its ninth month of operation, this marks the distillery’s 11th award.
“We only launched Lily Fields Distilling Co in November last year and I never imagined that we would be receiving awards like this so early on. We have always strived for perfection and this Juniper Dry Gin is a result of hundreds of different variations to come up with what we thought was perfect – the Australian Gin Awards trophy is affirmation of this and we are absolutely delighted,” said co-founder Jen Hunt.
Hunt attributes the brand’s early success to her science background and her and her husband’s shared love of food.
“Lily Fields Distilling Co was launched after about two years of research, planning, licensing, and extensive product development, all whilst working full-time. Previously I had a successful career as a drug development chemist for a pharmaceutical company and I, along with my husband who brought over a creative skill set along with an incredible palate, decided to trust ourselves and our ability and take the plunge to open a distillery,” Hunt added.
Other Best In Class awards were:
- Contemporary Style: Vicar’s Son Gin The Good Place – Cocoa & Mandarin
- Matured Gin: Threefold Distilling Australian Whisky Cask Barrel Aged Aromatic Gin
- Old Tom Gin: Sunset Gin Golden Tommy
- Traditional Gin Liqueur: Western Tiers Distillery Quamby Bluff Sloe Gin
- Flavoured Gin: Hickson House Distilling Co. Hickson Rd. Summer Cup