SMALL ACRE GIN | AMBLESIDE

WRITTEN BY BRITNEY KIDD

ABOUT THE DISTILLERY

The Adelaide Hills in South Australia is renowned globally for its ‘clean and green’ reputation and Ambleside Distillers provide no exception. Located on a scenic family property on Ambleside Road in the picturesque town of Hahndorf, the distillery is owned and operated by Matt Dickson and his parents, Trudy and Steve. 

Steve, Trudy, Bella and Matt

A number of years ago, Matt did what many young Aussies do and took off to the UK on the trip of a lifetime. He spent time working as a bartender in local pubs and was heavily immersed in the world of international spirits. When he returned to Adelaide, he brought home not only his experience and a newly found passion for craft spirits, but a vision to create something of his very own. After sharing his idea with Trudy and Steve, together they began planning the build of the distillery and Ambleside brand. Matt’s carpentry and site management experience in the construction industry came in very handy during this phase! Matt is now Head Distiller, though Trudy and Steve are both still very much involved.

The Dickson family have a green thumb and enjoy growing their own herbs, fruits and vegetables. When the distillery was eventually built in the backyard of their family home, they wanted to incorporate their horticultural interests into the business. Since then, it’s grown from a hobby to a genuine dedication towards achieving complete self-sufficiency.  

In the four short years since Ambleside Distillers opened, they’ve drastically increased their spirit production and have expanded their venue to more than double its original size. Initially they used a 280L still (fondly named Doug after their Great Uncle who used to soothe his ‘toothache’ with a G&T) and have recently introduced a 970L copper gin still. Ambleside strive to support local wherever possible, and each still is proudly Australian made.  

With the expansion came a mammoth effort to reduce their carbon footprint. This included installing a whopping 90 solar panels to help offset power used during the distillation process, as well as a new compost patch to help reduce their landfill contribution. They’ve also tripled the distillery’s botanical gardens so that ingredients for distilling and the tasting bar can be sourced directly from their very own backyard. Utilising produce from their own garden not only means less emissions from transport required to source products from elsewhere, but it also means that their drinks are a perfect testament to the soil and the climate of the Adelaide Hills area.  

Visitors can explore botanical gardens in the front yard as they stroll down the path to Ambleside’s very industrial-looking distillery. Complete with exposed brick walls and a 9-metre-long burnished concrete bar, the distillery features large windows allowing plenty of natural light to cascade in. Guests can sit and enjoy tastings of Ambleside’s incredible range, or even test their own skills in a gin blending masterclass, all while feeling immersed in the gardens and the surrounding hills.  

Ambleside Small Acre Gin

ABOUT THE GIN  

If you haven’t had had a spare moment to crack open this month’s bottle yet, you’re in for a treat! Steve is the mastermind behind Ambleside’s Small Acre Gin; it’s a lovely tribute to his grandmother’s famous Apple and Rhubarb pie and he has, of course, managed to incorporate his favourite botanicals from their distillery garden.  
By distilling botanicals such as pear, home-grown rhubarb, apple, pepperberry, coriander seed, bay leaf and juniper, Steve has created a wonderfully complex gin that is a testament to the fresh botanicals taken directly from their garden. The homegrown rhubarb gives this gin a soft sweetness at the front of the palate followed by a slight bite from the pear and apple. Pepperberries and bay leaves provide deep earthy notes and round off this herbaceous gin that can be enjoyed anytime, from anywhere.

If you’ve come across Ambleside’s products before, you may notice that they’ve had a facelift! Although the team loved their old labels, they were ready for something fresh and new that resonates so much more – we’re incredibly excited to be sharing the new branding with you for the first time! The new logo has several meaningful elements to it; the family members are represented with three arrows, also reminiscent of the rolling hills and valleys that surround the distillery. Having the arrows pointing up also represents vapour running up Doug, their trusty column still. Naturally, this inspiration flows into the gorgeous new labels on their bottles too. Matt and the team were very set on changing their bottles to something a little lighter, which is much more unique to them. The new shape is perfect for bartenders – both professionals and those of us who fancy ourselves talented in the home setup. You’ll notice the base of the bottle is very light, with the neck and shoulders making it very easy to pour from… as though this gin wasn’t already dangerous enough! 

TASTING NOTES

Gin type – Contemporary

Appearance – Clear, bright

Botanicals – Juniper, coriander seed, apple, pear, home grown rhubarb, bay leaf, cloves, pink pepperberry

Aroma – Piney juniper up front, subtle rhubarb sweetness with a bouquet of savoury herbs 

Palate – A soft sweetness at the front palate provided by rhubarb, apple and pear, followed by a herbaceous and earthy body

Finish – Lingering, deep, earthy notes of bay leaf and a subtle pepperberry spice tingle on the tongue

Our perfect G&T

• 30ml Ambleside Small Acre Gin
• 90ml Strangelove Coastal Tonic
• Dehydrated Pear
• Fresh Basil leaves

FEATURED IN THE GIN CLUB

Ambleside's Small Acre Gin is currently featured in April's Gin Subscription! Sign up to the club today for a complete curated distillery experience at home.

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