5Nines Distilling: In Search of Perfection
Let us introduce you to 5Nines. Two guys, David Pearse and Steven Griguol, with one sole passion – to create the perfect spirit.
At 5Nines it's all about trying to achieve perfection. 5Nines - 99.999% perfection. With their small batch distillery located in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, 5Nines specialise in hand crafted single malt whisky, gin and other premium spirits by procuring the most unique and finest botanicals.
At The Gin Birds HQ we set out to discover what makes a gin 'perfect' and why this was the primary ethos for David and Steven.
5Nines stared about 5 years ago as a bit of a daydream when the founders David and Steven were travelling around Tasmania with their families. They took an opportunity to visit every distillery they could, and soon realised this was the career change they were looking for.
David had an interest in distilling for a number of years, and had been researching and reading a lot. So when the business plan started to form, he pulled on his knowledge. The idea was shared with Steven over a whisky one night, who immediately jumped on board. There was no way David was having all the fun without him!
With the help of their friends, David and Steven designed and build their own copper pot still. Their still has been designed specifically to give a unique one of a kind flavour profile to the whisky. They also repurposed a stainless-steel vat into a mash tun to allow us full control of the brewing process. With the best of our unique talents in engineering, design and craftsmanship from their past lives in different jobs they were able to bring the 5Nines dream to life.
Since the distillery launched in 2016, David and Steven have ever so carefully been putting away whisky to age in selected premium casks and while waiting for the long ageing process, they have been passionately working on a range of other spirits including some very distinctively flavoured gins.
We speak with David about their journey into gin.
You initially started with whisky and while the barrels are ageing you have turned to gin. How has the experience differed from making whisky?
They are both very different to make, but both take a lot of experimentation. The advantage of gin is we get immediate feedback on whether our techniques are working. With whisky we really don’t know how the flavours will develop for a number of years.
How do you go about curating a flavour profile? Do you both have your own style and preferences?
David and Steven both work on flavor profiles of gin somewhat separately, then share them when they are nearly formed. David’s palate is a bit more traditional with juniper forward gins, Stevens opts for more of the contemporary style gins.
Achieving perfection is at the heart of what you do, hence the name. Why is this the driver?
We both feel that striving for perfection is a great goal. As a small independent distillery, we think quality has to be our differentiator with mass produced spirits. We can’t compete on price due to scale, but we can definitely compete on quality! Operating on a small scale allows us to carefully monitor the quality control of every aspect of the brewing, distilling and spirit maturation process.
You have invested lots of research to find the unique South Australian botanicals featured in your gin. It has set your gin apart with many accolades and awards. How did you come to discover the uniqueness of these botanicals?
We are very proud South Australians, and wanted to ensure we found some botanicals which were grown here, but give our gins a connection to the region. We experimented with many botanicals and feel we have only scratched the surface of what South Australia has to offer. South Australia has a real contrast of climates which influence the plants and botanicals which grow, from the very arid north in the Flinders ranges, to the more temperate Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.
Where do you the remaining botanicals come from?
We source the best juniper from Macedonia, the freshest citrus from the South Australian Riverland and selected other spices from Asia. We always try to source botanicals which are from their native country.
What were your looking to create with Wild Citrus gin?
Wild Citrus gin was born out of a desire to create a bold gin which was a little less of a traditional dry style gin, and something which people could drink with mixers other than tonic, or even use as a unique cocktail base. During tasting sessions we found that many people who said they didn’t like gin, actually didn’t like tonic. Wild Citrus is delicious paired with Ginger Ale, or tonic. Especially if you add a mint leaf or two.
What makes your gin different or unique?
We try to bring a range of gins to suit every palate and every occasion. From Australian twists on traditional dry gins, to punchy contemporary gins, to sipping liqueur gins.
Do you have any products in limited release that use experimental ingredients or techniques?
We have two gins in our Distillers release limited range at the moment.
GINCELLO which is a delicious blend of a lemon forward gin, and Lemcello. This pairs nicely with Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemon tonic.
GRAPES OF EDEN gin which is a liqueur style gin made by macerating a sweet white grape in gin! It is great to sip on after dinner with cheese or chocolate. It also makes a great sweet base to a cocktail.
What is life like for an emerging craft Australian distiller?
It’s really hard work but a whole lot of fun! At the moment we both work full time, and spend weekends and nights pursuing the distillers dream. We get fantastic support everywhere we go, from people buying our products, to sharing their great feedback at tastings!
What makes Australian Gin so special?The creativity of Australian gin is simply amazing. After tasting over 100 Australian gins we are yet to find two which taste alike. All amazing in their own unique way.
How do you see Gin evolving in Australia and where do you want to take it with 5Nines?
Its quite fantastic to see locally made gins and spirits growing in popularity in Australia. At the moment of all spirits consumed in Australia, less than 2% is locally made, we hope to help with that growth by making products which our customers love.
So what's next for 5Nines? Any details or teasers for what's in store?
We are currently working on some really bold new flavours and some really unique packaging ideas which we feel will make out gins very appealing and unique.
Is there anything you would like us to share about your background, passion, vision or plans?
Both David and Steven both share a true love for creating and building things ourselves. The next phase of our journey will be to release our whisky, followed by building our cellar door in the Adelaide Hills. We cant wait to have you all around for a drink and show you what we have made!
How do you take your gin?
It depends on our moods and the weather. Usually straight or over ice is our go to, but on a hot day its hard to go past a G&T or a Wild Citrus Gin and ginger.
Finally, can you share some recipes for Wild Citrus?
Ginger Ale is a somewhat unusual mixer for gin. The heavy citrus pairs perfectly with ginger a mint, giving an excitingly refreshing and easy to make cocktail. Perfect for those who don’t like the bitterness of tonic.
The Gin Birds members should find Strangelove's Dry Ginger Ale and orange wheel in their February box to experiment with this delicious Gin & Ginger recipe. Just add fresh mint leaves.
Distiller Recipe: Gin & Ginger
30ml 5Nines Wild Citrus Gin
90ml Light Ginger Ale
Navel orange wheel
Fresh mint leaves
- Combine all ingredients into a generously iced Gin balloon or wine glass
- Garnish with a sprig of mint and a navel orange wheel.
Distiller Recipe: Breakfast G&T
A deliciously boozy start to a Sunday brunch!
30ml 5Nines Wild Citrus Gin
2 teaspoons of orange marmalade
A dash or two of lemon juice
About 6 fresh mint leaves
A slice of fresh orange for garnish
- Add the gin, orange marmalade and half of the mint leaves to a cocktail shaker, together with a few ice cubes
- Shake well for about 15 seconds
- Add some ice cubes to a Gin glass
- Strain the drink from the cocktail shaker into the glass
- Top up with elderflower tonic and garnish with the orange slice and remaining mint leaves
Your gin starts its life as a refined spirit, traditionally distilled. Then a blend of the base liquor and Adelaide Hills spring water gently infusing it with three types of fresh South Australian citrus fruits (mandarin, lime & orange) alongside various spices (coriander seed, cloves & star anise), and adding a unique blend of botanicals sourced from around the globe. We peel the three types of citrus by hand, preserving their true essence, capturing the unique characteristics and delicate flavours ensuring outstanding quality for you, the gin connoisseur. Bottled at 48.3% ABV.
Juniper — Fresh pine and resinous notes | Coriander seed — Spice with citrus hints | Mandarin — Sweet and fruity | Orange — Bright citrus lift | Lime — Citrus sharpness | Angelica — Structure and violets while allowing other aromas to linger | Cassia — Spicy and aromatic back notes | Star anise — Liquorice palate excitement | Almond — Nutty structure | Cloves — Spicy and fragrant
Written by Suzan Temizer with contributions from David Pearse. For more details, why not head over to 5Nines Distilling's website here.
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