Blackmans Bay Distillery | Botanical Gin

Written by Rebecca Wellwood



The Tasmanian wilderness, with its rugged landscapes and untouched beauty, a climate perfect for citrus, native pepperberries, and pristine mountain water, makes an enviable home and the perfect place to discover an utterly unique Aussie spirit. 

This month’s featured gin comes from  the hills surrounding the coastal landscape just south of Hobart, known as ‘The Bluff’. Three years ago, husband-and-wife team and co-creators Stuart and Danika Bumford, started Blackmans Bay Distillery. Along with their daughters Amber and Casey, this family-owned micro distillery is not about churning out bottles of spirits; it’s a labour of love that is reflected in each hand-bottled creation. They encapsulate craftsmanship, dedicate themselves to featuring local botanicals, and showcase their deep-rooted connection to their home in the wild and wonderful landscape of Tasmania. 

Inspiration struck Stuart after visiting a friend’s distillery on Bruny Island, where the scent of ageing whisky barrels instantly captured him. He soon began experimenting with his own base spirit, small batch gins and rums. His hobby quickly became much bigger than anticipated, and along with the help of wife Danika, Blackmans Bay Distillery was born. Within six months of starting their small business, their newly minted range of products were not just selling, but receiving plenty of recognition. It didn’t take long at all for them to receive a awards for their Botanical and Smoky Gins. Life was busy! 

The talented duo has continued to juggle careers alongside their distilling ventures. Stuart first qualified as a chef in the early ‘90s, before spending time in the Royal Australian Navy as a Clearance Diver working offshore in oil and gas, before then serving as a police officer with Tasmania Police. Quite the impressive resume! Stuart currently works part-time at the Hyperbaric Diving Medical Unit in Hobart, and the rest of his time is spent as the Head Distiller of their boutique gins. 

Danika also spent several years in the Royal Australian Navy as an Underwater Medic and Ships Diver. Since 2001, she has been a Paramedic with Ambulance Tasmania. If that wasn’t enough, Danika is an avid bushwalker and trail runner, who takes beautiful photos of their gins in and amongst the breathtaking Tasmanian landscape. We’re delighted to be able to share just a few of her gorgeous photos with you this month! 

In her spare time, Danika keeps the social media flowing, processes orders in the distillery, and is in contact regularly with local stockists. 

As a 100% Tasmanian owned small business, the hard-working couple embody the spirit of their homeland in every bottle. Blackmans Bay is home and where the couple’s journey began, so it made sense to them to name their business after this beautiful part of the world. 


The distillery distinguishes itself by producing super small batches – no more than 270 bottles per run! This ensures that every bottle is a truly artisanal creation. At the heart of their identity is making their own base spirit for the foundation for their gins, which Stuart passionately reckons has been lost in the craft distilling industry today. Organic Australian sugar is fermented to make the spirit, and it provides a unique, smooth complexity and a delicious sweetness. The pair then curate their range of gins using botanicals that complement their signature base spirit, before cutting the gin to strength with pure mountain water. They produce what they call an ‘Infinity’ gin – every new batch of gin is added to the remainder of the previous, building a unique flavour profile over time and ensuring that absolutely nothing goes to waste. 

Stuart and Danika produce everything in house, which means it’s them bottling, labelling and sealing each bottle by hand. As they look to the future, the couple is determined to stay true to their ethos; which means remaining ‘small batch’ but giving themselves a little room to grow. A new addition in the form of a 330L still will go a long way to do just that. Both copper stills were commissioned from Hilton at HHH Distill in Perth. Neither still has a name just yet, but the Blackmans duo are open to suggestions! 

In response to popular demand, Stuart and Danika have outgrown their original distillery space and are expanding into a newly-purchased small warehouse nearby. While we can’t all drop in for a visit just yet, they are hoping to be up and running towards the end of 2023. Once opened, Blackmans Bay Distillery will host special tasting events and small functions. We’ve been told to expect an industrial look and feel, with the use of Tasmanian timbers to soften the space. The couple are excited for the opportunity to display their processes and showcase the work that goes into running their small batch micro distillery. 

About Botanical Gin

Our featured gin this month has been a long time coming since it wowed our tasting panel at Garden Street over 12 months ago. The exclusive edition of Blackmans Bay Distillery’s Botanical Gin you’re currently enjoying has a slightly higher ABV of 45% compared to its usual 43%; resulting in an incredible depth of flavour. 

Botanical Gin was the second gin Stuart and Danika developed after their Smoky Gin. With an abundance of cumquat trees in the area, a citrus showcase was just waiting to happen. Amongst their select handful of botanicals, they’ve also chosen to use the peel of locally sourced lemons and oranges. Staying true to the signature sweet and viscous base spirit, their ‘less is more’ approach lets every ingredient shine. The three citrus fruits are the heroes in the Botanical Gin, giving the gin a fresh, crisp, fragrant flavour. A touch of lavender from a local beach-side garden makes an appearance, and vanilla pod comes through smoothly in the mid-palate. Finally, a slight warmth and numbing effect from the Tasmanian pepperberry remains. Savour the taste of the Tasmanian coast with every sip! 

To bring out the very best of the Botanical Gin, we love to champion the citrus flavours and let the gin shine with quite a dry tonic. As well as the blood orange we’ve chosen for you, experiment with lemon, orange or mandarin garnish – cumquats are fantastic if you have them to hand! It makes for perfect sipping outside as spring warms up, or of an afternoon out by the pool. 

One of the first things we noticed about Blackmans Bay Botanical Gin was the incredible artwork on the label. The couple approached much-loved artist Mandy Renard to ask her if she would design a uniquely Tasmanian and deeply personal image for their gin label and brand. The result is a beautiful depiction of a Tasmanian Colonial woman that adorns each gin, titled ‘Inspirited Desire’. She’s crowned with select botanicals, along with the native Tasmanian Waratah. Her necklace has symbolic shells from their coastline, along with citrus and an almond from their gins. If you look closely enough, the pattern on her blouse represents the tonic bubbles in a G&T. Graphic designer Tom Baxter was then tasked to put the final touches on the labels and branding. 

Other Products in the Range

Stuart and Danika aren’t too proud to deny which gin is their heart and soul – it’s absolutely the Smoky Gin. Hungry to create a truly unique spirit, and huge fans of smoky flavours, this gin was the first recipe they perfected. The couple feel that they have achieved the ideal level of smoke that brings out the best in the organic Australian almonds. The almonds are then infused into the gin, giving a distinctive smoky flavour at the back of the palate. Cherries help to soften the spirit and add a slight sweetness for balance.

Also in the lineup is their Harvest Gin. Featuring a cherry-forward flavour, seasonal botanicals and African pepperberry are combined with red and white locally-grown cherries (some of which come straight from the backyard), to create a complex, strong dry gin. 

Last but definitely not least is the Sloe Harvest Gin, which features their Harvest Gin as the base. Locally foraged sloe berries are then steeped for up to five months, producing this tart gin that is slightly sweetened with honey from Stuart and Danika’s own beehive. 

A peek behind the scenes in their distillery will also reveal maturing rum barrels (which we may hope to see come to fruition around Christmas this year). And then there’s the elephant in the room given Stuart and Danika’s backgrounds… the pair feel obliged to one day release a Navy Strength gin! If rum and Navy Strength gin aren’t exciting enough, then we’re sure you’ll be as buzzed as us to hear about their love affair with coffee, because they are keen to brew up a strong coffee liqueur, too. 

From the heart of the rugged Tasmanian landscape, and at its heart embodying the spirit of Tasmania’s untamed beauty in its botanical ingredients, Blackmans Bay Distillery are one we are deliriously keen to visit in due course. Hopefully we’ll even see you there! 

Gin type – Contemporary

Appearance – Clear, bright

Botanicals – Juniper, coriander seed, organic Australian almond, cumquat, orange peel, lemon peel, fresh lavender, vanilla, Tasmanian pepperberry

Aroma – Fresh, vibrant citrus holds its own alongside piney juniper, with undertones of freshly squeezed orange

Palate – Rich, oily notes of cumquat and orange peel coat the palate, lavender and vanilla round out the chorus

Finish – Lingering, smooth, and dry with a slight warmth and numbing from the pepperberry

Our perfect G&T
• 30ml Blackmans Bay Botanical Gin
• 90ml Long Rays Original Tonic
• Dehydrated blood orange

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This gin is a nod to you, our members. We’ve tasted hundreds of delicious Australian gins over the years and every year our tasting panel has the (really terrible) job of choosing their 12 favourite gins to share with you. It’s tough competition and they’re a very picky bunch!

Twelve months ago, we floated the idea of making something exclusively for our members; something one off and never to be repeated. It needed to be something for the collectors to add to their gin shelves and moreover, we had to make a product we were proud to share, and one delicious enough to get past our tasting panel!