If something’s bloody good, it’s probably worth bloody well saying so on the bloody label. And in our humble opinions, Four Pillars’ wildly popular Bloody Shiraz Gin fits that criteria to a T. Technically, this is one of the Healesville-based distillery’s special edition varieties, but such is the fandom that exists around these crimson bottles of juniper genius that the Bloody Shiraz Gin could easily be considered one of Four Pillars’ most quintessential offerings.
What does ring true about the “special edition” classification is that the production of this gin is seasonal, and therefore only a finite amount can be bottled each year. Usually, this takes place in June, but in 2020 – because, well, it’s 2020 – that process was delayed till July. That’s right: break out the fancy tumblers and refill the ice tray, because Bloody Shiraz Gin is back on the shelves right now.
“2020 will go down as one of the strangest vintages on record,” says distillery manager Cameron Mackenzie. “While half the country was on fire and experiencing extreme heat, the Yarra was quite the opposite.” Gin aficionados will be familiar with sloe varieties, which have a deep red colour courtesy of the sloe berries that the gin is infused with. The Bloody Shiraz is a different animal altogether. It gets its hemoglobin hue by being steeped in rich Shiraz grapes, picked in Victoria’s principal wine regions, including from vineyards in the Macedon Ranges and Yea Valley.
“Overall, we had very mild conditions and high rainfall, so the region stayed green for most of the summer,” Mackenzie says. “Low fruit set and small bunch weights intensified the fruit flavours but the cool conditions (yes, a very cool summer) has allowed great spice, red berry and natural acidity. Straight away you get pine forest notes, white pepper and spices. The gin is beautifully balanced with a delicious sweetness and nice tannins to finish.”
Since its debut in 2015, the Bloody Shiraz has been so coveted that the Four Pillars team has gradually increased the number of bottles available each year. That said, they are still all but guaranteed to sell out. Fortunately, a fair few bottles are still available at Four Pillars' newly opened Surry Hills outlet, as well as from the Four Pillars online store and at select bottle shops across the city. Bottoms up Sydney.