Orient Gin | Bass & Flinders
On the picturesque Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, you’ll find one of only three second-generation distillers in Australia; it’s a sure sign that Holly Klintworth knows what she’s doing. In 2016, Holly took over from her father to become Head Distiller and Managing Director of the incredible Bass & Flinders Distillery. Complete with a stellar team of bartenders, sales and marketing gurus, gin and brandy experts, Bass & Flinders are producing some of the most unique gins that Australia has to offer. Holly’s father, Wayne, founded Bass & Flinders back in 2009 in a tiny tin shed behind a winery. Coming from humble beginnings, this was a passion project for Wayne. He was inspired by the tradition and quality behind Europe’s grape-based products and set himself the challenge of producing brandy as fine as those found in the Charente region of France. At the time, it was rare to find anyone producing spirits from grapes in Australia. Living in a region so well known for wine production, Wayne set out to add more value to the local area by using grapes for something completely different: distilling. Every stage of the production process was important to Wayne, as was a focus on creativity and attention to detail. This combination of values led to Bass & Flinders ultimately producing their very own grape-based spirit ‘eau de vie’.
As luck would have it, they were just ahead of the gin boom. Whilst waiting for their brandy to mature in French Oak, they decided to play around with producing gin using this very same eau de vie spirit. To gauge interest in his gin, Wayne would doorknock around local businesses, but it was a challenge to convince them to stock something that the area wasn’t yet known for. Persistence certainly paid off as the last several years have seen steady growth for Bass & Flinders and a move into a purpose-built distillery of their own. Producing their own grape-based spirit is what sets Bass & Flinders apart from the rest. It is quite a rare practice in the industry as the process is costly and incredibly labour intensive - even more so when you choose to grow your own grapes! Working with a winemaker, the team at Bass & Flinders source grapes from a single vineyard in Victoria to produce their Single Vineyard Gins, making their end products truly ‘vine-to-bottle’.
Head Distiller Holly in front of the distillery
Having complete ownership over the entire process of production and knowing exactly what is in their products gives the team confidence that the finished product will be not only premium, but totally unique. With her Dad as inspiration, Holly has followed in Wayne’s footsteps with a genuine passion for craft, tradition and quality. The team do all the work by hand – from zesting the fruit for each batch of gin, to labelling and bottling the final products. They continue to use a traditional pot still and follow Charentais distillation techniques to produce their eau de vie, which is naturally used across their entire range of products. They run a hybrid still with pot and column for their gin called Trim; it was named after the explorer Matthew Flinders’ cat. Flinders and Trim sailed together on many a voyage, and legend has it that Trim was very loyal and hardworking, just like the gin still at Bass & Flinders.
For those in Victoria, you can get a glimpse of Trim and the team in action at Bass & Flinders’ Distillery Door. Located in Dromana along the scenic Mornington Peninsula, the Distillery Door is open to the public, including for extended hours over the summer months. There’s always something exciting going on; whether you’re interested in sampling limited releases, sipping cocktails and enjoying live music or blending your own gin (or brandy of course), Bass & Flinders have it all. The industrial estate surrounding the distillery door has recently emerged as a hub for artisanal producers, where within walking distance you’ll find anything from rum and craft beer to candle-making, freshly baked bread and homemade cheeses. With daylight savings having just begun, we’re dreaming of enjoying boozy evenings and delicious local produce under the summer sun…
About Orient Gin
Bass & Flinders’ Orient Gin is a uniquely Australian gin that pays homage to the East. With Chinese roots on Holly’s grandmother’s side, the gin is both a tribute to the Klintworth’s family heritage and an ode to Australia’s love affair with exotic Eastern flavours. Bass & Flinders created a gin that was approachable yet complex enough to be enjoyed neat, in a G&T, and with a broad array of cocktails and food pairings. After trialling, tasting and tweaking 33 recipes, the Bass & Flinders team finally settled on the recipe that they were happy with, and decided on the name ‘Orient Gin’. With an eclectic mix of added botanicals including Sichuan pepper, mandarin peel, goji berries, Victorian jujubes, strawberry gum and wattle seed, the team has created a diverse and well-balanced New World Gin that simultaneously encapsulates both Australian and Eastern cultures. The Orient Gin works perfectly with spicy Asian foods and is recommended as a pairing alongside Sichuan Pepper beef stir-fry, curries and cured meats.
Other Bass & Flinders Products
With a range of 12 amazing gins, Bass & Flinders is sure to cater for every tastebud. In addition to their core range, they also produce an interesting assortment of seasonal releases. These include a Truffle Gin made with locally sourced Red Hill black truffles, a Winter Gin containing apple brandy, and the ruby-red Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin, made using the Mornington Peninsula’s very own Pinot Noir. Another (very) firm favourite of ours is the incredible Cerise Gin, a smooth shiraz-based gin in their Single Vineyard Range.
Being a fine brandy distillery first and foremost, it is no surprise that Bass & Flinders have a generous collection of delicious brandies on offer too. Many have won a host of awards, and we cannot wait to pop down for a taste test as soon as we’re allowed out! With Christmas fast approaching once again, we’re also excited to hear that Bass & Flinders has a Spiced Christmas Brandy release on the cards. A tasty take on traditional brandy and inspired by Holly’s grandmother’s Christmas Pudding recipe, we think we are in for a treat!
Gin and Tonic Pairing
This month’s gin pairs with a full-flavoured tonic, we have chosen Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic.
- 30ml Orient Gin
- 90ml Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic
- A wheel of dehydrated lemon
Method: Add a heap of ice and serve in a nice big glass.
Orient Gin and Tonic
Australian New World Gin
Clear and Bright
Sweet mandarin citrus, undertones of pepper and juniper
Bright, sweet mandarin freshness, creamy rich texture from jujubes and sesame seed, peppery spices, and nuttiness from the wattleseed
Sichuan pepper, mandarin peel, Victorian grown jujubes, goji berries, sesame seeds, kaffir lime leaf, strawberry gum, wattleseed and juniper
Sichuan pepper adds subtle tongue tingling spice at the front and back palate
The Oasis Cocktail
- 30mL Orient Gin
- 90mL Fever-Tree Spiced Orange Ginger Ale
- A cinnamon quill
- Dehydrated orange slice
Fill you glass with ice, add gin, cinnamon quill, top with ginger and orange. Enjoy!