Poltergeist Unfiltered | Shene Distillery
The history of the Shene Estate is almost as old as Tasmania itself. In 1819, only 16 years after the first British settlement in Tasmania (back when it was referred to as Van Dieman’s land), Shene Estate was established and has now become one of Australia’s oldest pastoral holdings. In the mid-19th Century, a series of convict-built structures including a Gothic revival stable, coach house, tack room, and a stunning sandstone Georgian farmhouse were built, forming the magnificent country estate.
The history of the distillery itself can be dated back to 2005 with the establishment of Mackey’s Distillery in Newtown by Damian and Madeleine Mackey. Damian’s interest in distilling was sparked during his time working as the land surveyor for Bill and Lyn Lark at Lark Distillery, one of Australia’s oldest distilleries.
Shene Estate Distillery is the result of Mackey Distillery merging with David Kernke at Shene Distillery, whose family have worked long and hard to restore this historic estate. David’s love for heritage conservation and whisky making steered the evolution of the estate into the Shene Distillery that we know and love today. According to Damien and David, the distillery was borne from the desire to produce high quality gin that their families could proudly enjoy. Although potentially more importantly for David, the formation of the distillery was a way to ensure the survival and adaptive reuse of the historic buildings at the iconic Shene Estate.
With the formation of Shene Distillery in 2014 the founders embarked on a journey to make a special and unique gin. Curating a selection of fine botanicals from Australia and the spice baskets of the world, the team at Shene spent over a year experimenting with the balance and weights of each of the botanicals.
Throughout this experimentation process, they would regularly invite a group of gin lovers for blind tasting events, obtaining their comments and feedback in order to improve the recipe. These events became more frequent as they got closer to the final recipe. There were no complaints though and seemingly many a good social evening was had by all!
Overall, the Shene distillery seems like something out of a fairy-tale. A beautiful place, steeped in history that needs to be on the must-visit list of any gin or whisky connoisseur. Luckily enough for those of us seeking this adventure, the estate has an exquisite tasting room within the 1846 sandstone building that was originally used as a granary. In 1963 it was converted to a shearing shed and in 2008 it was brought back to its original form before most recently being adapted as the Sheen Distillery tasting house. The tasting doors are wide open seven days per week from 10:00am until 4:00pm and visitors are made incredibly welcome!
Shene Distillery | Photo: Adam Gibson
Poltergeist Unfiltered | Grace Elizabeth Images
About Poltergeist Unfiltered
The first thing you will notice about Shene’s gin is its interesting name; ‘Poltergeist Gin’. The word Poltergeist incorporates the German word “Geist” meaning ghost. The definition of Poltergeist refers to a ghost or other supernatural spirits supposedly responsible for physical disturbances such as making loud noises and throwing objects about.
The selection of Poltergeist as Shene’s gin brand name reflects several factors. Firstly, as previously mentioned, Shene Estate dates back to 1819 and they believe there are most certainly spirits within the walls; unexplained, sounds, noises and feelings that cause a shiver up your spine. Secondly, what’s claimed to be the first hexafoil discovered in Australia was found in the stable complex. This ancient symbol was used to protect the inhabitants of the buildings from evil spirits; and as the distillers like to say “Shene Distillery only produces good spirits”.
Taking everything into account they really aren’t wrong! The name is highly appropriate as Poltergeist is the most awarded gin in the highly prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In 2016, Poltergeist Unfiltered was awarded a Gold Medal at its first judging, then Double Gold medals in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, Platinum Medals in 2019 and 2020 and another Gold Medal this year in 2021. Any one of these awards is highly impressive; all of them combined is simply astounding. It is safe to say you are drinking, or about to drink, one of the best gins in the world!
Gin and Tonic Pairing
This month’s gin pairs with a low sugar tonic, we have chosen Capi Dry.
- 30ml Poltergeist Unfiltered
- 90ml Capi Dry
- Slice of apple and a couple of pepperberries
Method: Pour ingredients in to a glass over ice and add a slice of apple and a couple of pepperberries
Poltergeist Gin and Tonic
Clear and Bright (cloudy when tonic is added)
Lemon myrtle and sweet mixed citrus
Spicy at the front with a creamy mouthfeel that peters out in to fresh woody, earthy tones
Pepperberry, lemon myrtle, lemon peel, coriander seed, juniper, liquorice root, star anise, cardamom, cassia bark, angelica root and orris root
Subtle citrus with a lasting smoothness
Cocktail of the Month
Shene Estate Jam Cocktail
Picture - Shene Estate Jam Cocktail
- 45ml Poltergeist Unfiltered
- 15ml Dry Cassis
- 15ml Lime Juicee
- 1tsp Strawberry Jam
Shake all ingredients except soda vigorously with ice. Strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice. Top with soda.
Garnish with a sprig of mint and rosemary.