The inaugural Australian Gin Awards took place in Sydney last Thursday night (7 March), with Kangaroo Island Spirits going home with Best in Show for its KIS O’Gin.
The Gin Awards judging was chaired by Bill Lark and took place in February, and from more than 173 entries, five trophy winners were announced in addition to the overall Best in Show.
The nine judges said that KIS O’Gin “has excellent quality juniper with very good supporting contributions from citrus and spice. Perfect weight in the nose and is very elegant… is nicely balanced by sweet botanical and very discreet pepper titillation at the mid palate”.
“KIS O’Gin has always been a favourite with bars and consumers alike but until recently it wasn’t well recognised in competitions,” said owner of Kangaroo Island Spirits Sarah Lark.
“Last year KIS O’Gin won Double Gold in California at the SIP awards so winning this trophy and Best in Show says that industry is catching up with this favourite gin. Jon and I and the passionate team we work with are honoured to be recognised in the inaugural Australian Gin Awards.”
The presentation banquet was attended by 160 distillers and gin lovers, who witnessed the five Best in Class trophies awarded to distillers from all around Australia.
Best in Class – Classic Dry was awarded to Small Batch Distilling Red Hen; Best in Class – Matured went to Cedar Fox Distilling Oak Gin; Best in Class – Navy went home with Great Ocean Road Gin Split Point, while Best in Class – Flavoured was awarded to Hunnington Distillery and its Tasmanian Sloe Gin. Finally, Best in Class – Contemporary also went to Kangaroo Island Spirits KIS O’Gin.
Bottle designs were also judged, with 63 bottles vying for the title of Best Gin Bottle. Nosferatu Blood Orange Gin was named the overall winner, with special mentions extended to Manly Spirits, Archie Rose, Killara Distillery and Prohibition Liquor.
The awards kicked off a two-day festival of gin, Gin Palooza, which saw 800 consumers and over 150 members of the trade descend on Manjit’s to taste over 200 gins from 37 distilleries.
“The response from both the distillers and Sydney’s public has been overwhelming,” said Australian Gin Distillers Association CEO Judith Kennedy AM. “The Gin awards and a quality gin-focused festival are obviously overdue for Sydney.”