All our gins are true London Dry gins, meaning we don’t add any flavours or syrups at the end. They’re all hand made in small batches right here on our small farm in regional New South Wales. We blend, bottle and label everything by hand and, if you order something online, there’s a good chance we’ll have driven it to the post office too.
Each of our gins starts as an idea in Gavin’s head and then slowly takes shape in our little 2 litre research still, Eve. Once we’re happy with the mix of botanicals and the balance of flavours, we then scale up the botanicals and do a trial distillation in our 10 litre still, Charlie. It’s only when we think we’ve finally nailed the recipe on Charlie, that we take the leap of faith and fire up our 100 litre still, Jill.
Jill, Charlie and Eve are all traditional copper alembic stills. Handmade in Portugal, they’re not only stunning to look at, they represent a very traditional way of making alcohol that dates back over a thousand years.
So why do we choose to use such an old technology? Part of it is that the stills just look so damn good. But there’s also a practical reason. While other metals are thermally efficient and good conductors of heat, copper has the added benefit of purifying the spirit. In simple terms, the still itself captures any sulphur that might be in the base spirit resulting in a cleaner and smoother final distillate. Distillers for centuries have understood this benefit of using copper in the distillation process. While we now understand some of the chemistry behind those ancient choices, other secrets held by these lost alchemists have still to be unlocked…
labour of love
Each of our gin runs on Jill take between 14 and 16 hours. The still itself is sealed with rye flour and then watched constantly throughout the run with Gavin testing it continually for taste and alcohol content. Just like in the days of the original artisans, nothing is automated. Everything is done by taste. Knowing when to make the cuts — the Heads, the Heart and the Tails - is what we like to think of as the art of distillation.
Every bottle of North of Eden gin is an homage to those ancient alchemists and distillers. There are certainly quicker and easier ways to make gin, but we like to think our way of doing it honours the essence of those artisanal traditions. We believe that’s the North of Eden spirit. And we believe that’s what makes North of Eden gins special.
It’s in that tradition of transformation and discovery that we practise our own brand of alchemy. We start with a neutral grain spirit, which we clean up even further using a hydroselective distillation process. This addition of water at the very start of the process is in addition to the magic worked by the still itself in removing any traces of sulphur.
Botanicals are then individually weighed out, before being layered in muslin and suspended in a basket over the alcohol. Once the alcohol and water in the pot of the still get up to 78 degrees Celsius, that’s when the alchemy starts to happen.
Vapours from the liquid in the pot of the still rise up to the basket of botanicals, capturing flavours through a gentle refluxing process, before finally travelling through the lyne arm and condenser to emerge drop by drop into a brand new substance – gin!