Noble Bootleggers | Australian Contemporary Gin


The Noble Bootleggers and dynamic duo, Daniel and Kristin Lemura, first crossed paths in 2002 while bartending at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Their connection was instant, and from there, they embarked on a rollercoaster journey that has since spanned over 25 years in the hospitality industry. After having steered some of Melbourne's most prestigious establishments, they took an entrepreneurial leap and established The Noble Experiment, a venture that blended semi-fine dining with experimental cocktails. After some curious customers planted the seed of producing their cocktails, Dan and Kristin decided to shift focus to full time distilling while also dedicating themselves to their family. 

Dan now works full time at the distillery, while Kristin spends her day working as a Hospitality Lecturer at William Angliss, teaching the next generation of hospitality superstars about sustainable practices and menu design. By night, and during every other spare second it seems, Kris is busy helping Dan out at the distillery. Their hard work and talent for creativity shines through in their products, and this month we are so excited to be sharing their journey alongside their incredible Australian Contemporary Gin with you.

Dan and Kristin Lemura

Tell us about your journey!
Our path to distilling stemmed from our time at The Noble Experiment. With the cocktails we were doing back then, we were constantly trying to push the boundaries and offer new and innovative experiences for our guests. It wasn't until a regular customer asked if they could get our products outside of the venue that we decided to explore the possibility, which ultimately led us down the path of starting our own distillery.

At the time, Kristin was heavily pregnant and we still had the bar, so the idea of renting a space to see whether the idea was viable did not appeal; owning a bar is akin to digging a hole, throwing a lot of money in, and setting it on fire! So, we had the garage of our house in Manor Lakes bonded. It didn’t take us long to realise that if we wanted to do things properly, we would need to find a larger location. We set off on a hunt to find the perfect regional location.

After much searching, in December 2019, we finally found our forever home in Longlea, Victoria, which is approximately 15 minutes outside of Bendigo. We affectionately refer to our property as “Whisky Hill Farm” - with 23 acres, we have plenty of room to grow our own produce and ample opportunity to regenerate the land. We have since outgrown our 12x6m shed (which is a mansion in comparison to where we were!), so the goal for us in 2024 is to build a larger site on the property where we can host visitors and enjoy sufficient space to put everything!

How did Noble Bootleggers get started?
The inception of ‘The Noble Bootleggers’ can be traced back to our bar days. When conceptualizing the initial branding for The Noble Experiment establishment, our designer’s original logo concepts referred to us as "The Noble Bootleggers presenting The Noble Experiment." Given that the venue was a New York-inspired speakeasy prohibition bar, this branding resonated well and we were keen to keep this alive when we started the distillery.

To be honest, we never set about to make gin when we first started the distillery - we were all about making cocktails and putting down whisky. Along the way, we were looking at how we could make elements within the cocktails ourselves and gin is a major ingredient in the ever-popular Negroni. Someone we worked with at the time said that we didn’t know the first thing about making gin and couldn’t possibly make it. This statement was like lighting a fire underneath Dan - he set about trying to find out as much as he possibly could to prove them wrong. The rest, as they say, is history.

Also, moving to regional Victoria, not knowing a thing about farming, many thought that we were crazy for taking on this project. Nevertheless, we love a challenge, and we learn by doing and experimenting. Our list of projects to do to regenerate the land is not getting shorter, but this is our forever home, and we want to leave it in better condition than when it came to us.

What does the distillery look like now?
Well, it’s certainly quite a lot bigger than the garage at Manor Lakes! We have a dedicated production space featuring our two stills – one is a 100L still that is named after our daughter Liv and serves as our inspiration for where we are today. Our second still is Sadie, a 500L still named after Kristin’s great Aunt from Scotland. We also have a dedicated lab where we test new projects, but we do spend a lot of time shuffling things about in order to make the products. It’s much like playing a game of Tetris!

Do you have plans to open a tasting room in the future? If so, what is your vision for how this will come together?
Yes, we do! We are very hopeful that we will be able to have a cellar door at the distillery. We envision 8 acres of botanical gardens surrounding the distillery (of which construction will hopefully commence this year). Additionally, it will give us an opportunity to talk about the regenerative practices we employ and how our journey through the process has evolved over time. Kristin is starting her PhD with a focus on sustainable regional development this year, and aims for the site to be an exemplar for sustainable practices. We think it would also be nice for guests to be able to have picnics on the grounds enjoying the surroundings.

Tell us all about your Australian Contemporary Gin and the inspiration behind it.
Well, this is a long story! When we set out to create gins back in 2018, we wanted to explore different flavour profiles and combinations, as at the time, traditional London Dry style gins were still very prominent. With our background running the cocktail bar, we were interested in making a gin that would work in a lemon vanilla martini.

It took us quite some time get the recipe of our Australian Contemporary Gin right – the original recipe trialled on our lab still was version 11.5. However, when it came time to scaling it up to suit our bigger still, we made a few adjustments to the recipe, and these were not written down (if they were, it was on a scrap of paper which vanished many moons ago…).

After moving to Longlea in 2019, and having everything set up again, we set about making the next batch, but much to our disappointment, could not replicate the first iteration. Rather than continuing to sell the product we pulled it off the market so we could work on getting back to what we produced back in 2018. Sixty-five iterations later, and after a reformulation of the ingredients, we are now very close to our original vision for this product. We re-released it in March 2022, and rest assured, the recipe in its entirety has been written down (much to Kristin’s relief!).

Why Vanilla?
In our Contemporary gin, we embrace the use of vanilla for its ability to impart a delightful silkiness, rendering the gin very enjoyable on the rocks without the need for a mixer. Our collaboration with the seasoned team at luxury food suppliers, Friend and Burrell, has been longstanding, dating back to the days of The Noble Experiment. This dedicated team engages directly with vanilla farmers, notably the Sepik PNG Farmers Collective in Papua New Guinea.

The Friend & Burrell team employ a steadfast and sustainable approach, ensuring that enduring and equitable relationships are fostered and maintained. Growers receive fair compensation, ensuring a dependable and consistent supply of carefully graded, high-quality vanilla.

What other products are in your range?
On our gin shelves we have Cherry Gin, Christmas Pudding Gin, Barrel Aged Christmas Pudding Gin (a limited release each year often available through Garden Street), Citrus Gin, and our experimental trial release ‘The Pink Native Project’. With Dan’s Italian heritage we also have a range of Amaros, including Terroso Amaro and Amarena (black cherry) Amaro with a few more to be released this year. Finally, we do a lot of small batch whisky releases - most of what has been released to date has been our tinkering projects in the garage at Manor Lakes. We choose to only work in 50L – 100L casks and focus on interesting cask finishes.

What’s next for the Noble Bootleggers team?
Building the cellar door is our next major project, but we do have a few new Amaros, bottled cocktails and bitters that will be getting released sometime in 2024. We are also working on some interesting flavour combos in some new gin projects, watch this space…

Gin type – Contemporary

Appearance – Clear, bright

Botanicals – Juniper, coriander seed, lemon leaf, lemon aspen, lemon peel, white kunzea, strawberry gum and vanilla

Aroma –  Notes of bright citrus with hints of vanilla

Palate – Creamy entry with juniper and citrus

Finish – Herbal tea and citrus peel flavours lingering in a tangy, warming finish

Our perfect G&T
• 30ml Australian Contemporary Gin
• 90ml Bickford & Sons Dry Tonic
• Juniper berry garnish



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