Four Pillars labour of love: the single barrel series

May 10, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Four Pillars have produced its Single Barrel Series. This gin was aged for three and a half years in Barrel S31, a 30-year-old Sherry (and Apera) cask made by Tonnellerie Dargaud et Jaegle and sourced from McWilliam’s – a hogshead cask, it was filled in July 2016.

Four Pillars’ founder and head distiller, Cameron McKenzie is passionate about it. He says:

“The first barrel aged gin we ever tasted was Ransom Old Tom from Portland, Oregon. The second we tasted it we wanted to make one. It was intense, complex and delicious.

“The idea (for us) is to allow the botanical oils to develop and gently oxidise while resting in barrel. They build a complexity of flavour that can be really deep and rich. The barrel adds colour (which I couldn’t care less about) along with some residual character from the previous contents and a degree of sweetness from the oak itself. The main thing is to make sure the gin remains at the front otherwise it can become bourbon-like.  

“We found our Rare Dry Gin sits nicely in barrel. The juniper becomes more intense and resiny and the spices build and build and build.  Cardamon develops a ginger-like aroma and the citrus becomes more rounded with the softness of the oak.

“Every barrel seems to develop slightly differently so we tend to blend across a solera system. But there are 6 or 7 barrels like S31 that, to me, are just the complete drink.”

The Single Barrel Series has picked up a swag of medals including Master at the Asian Gin Masters 2020 and Gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirit Competition. Gerry Olino of The Daily Tot in Hong Kong and judge at the Asian Gin Masters said this: “This gin is very complex, and the addition of barrel ageing is well executed – it feels like sipping an enjoyable whisky. I can also imagine using this gin to make an inspiring Penicillin cocktail.”

Bottled at cask strength this aged gin is intense, complex and delicious. Strong resinny pine needle aromas are balanced by dried fruit, cashew, chocolate and spice. The palate is rich and warming, layered with spice and toasted nuts.

The resulting gin tastes of concentrated juniper, dried fruits, cashew, chocolate and spice. 

Four Pillars Single Barrel Release S31. ABV 56.8%. 500mL is available in extremely limited release from and Four Pillars’ Gin Shops in Surry Hills and Healesville.

RRP $150.00 AUD.

Other releases include Chardonnay Barrel Gin – Release 9 and Sherry Cask Gin – Release 3.

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