Manly Spirits Co. out of Sydney, Australia takes their inspiration from the “marine environment of the New South Wales Coastline.” Situated in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, founder David and Vanessa sought training from a nearby distillery before opening in 2017. Now, they make their Australian Dry Gin from a foraged marine botanicals, other Australian native ingredients, and bases it on a spirit distilled from Australian wheat.
The Botanist is in…
Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin features an unusual algae among its botanicals. Sea Lettuce grows around the world in shallow coastal ocean waters. It’s perhaps better known by the name Green Nori. Aquarium keepers may also be familiar with it as a widely available tank plant.
Its flat leaves resembles— well lettuce. Additionally, sea lettuce is so hardy that among some coastal regions its considered an invasive species or weed. It easily absorbs toxins from the water and sand, meaning that while it has potential as a bio-remediative species, untrained foragers should be careful.
Juniper on the nose. Manly Spirits’ Australian Dry Gin has some traditional touches. Clean, slightly peppery with a hint of citrus and green.
Piney, with a resinous juniper edge, fans of gin will immediately get the juniper here. But the pepper notes are quite interesting. I get the delicate, fruity and almost vanilla kissed notes of pink peppercorn or Peruvian pepperberry. There’s a citrus strain in here for sure, but it’s a bit tough to place. Slightly lime with a general citrus perspective, it’s a big tough to tease apart.
Furthermore, Australian Dry Gin has a green, slightly vegetal note mixed with the lower notes. Suggestions of seaweed certainly abound from the evocative beach and foraged marine branding— it reminds me a bit more of cucumber peels and brackish pond. Complex, but intriguing.
A peppery palate— while there’s some vegetal hints of eucalyptus, menthol that calls to mind comparisons to other Australian Gins— notes of juniper and coriander dominate.
It’s very peppery to me on the first taste. Sweet black pepper, a hint of grains of paradise and a fruity sweetness. Mid-palate though, the traditional bouquet of Australian botanicals take over. Many of them suggest the camphoraceous overtones of eucalyptus, but there’s also a gentle anise note in here that becomes more pronounced one the finish.
But don’t let yourself think that juniper has gone away. It’s here in Australian Dry Gin from early mid-palate to end. It’s only as the palate simplifies that the juniper and cool menthol notes come through most clearly.
Long finish with an impressive hold. The minty eucalyptus notes linger for a longtime, becoming more spicy and slightly more bitter as it progresses. The eucalyptus transforms becoming savory with notes of kelp and cucumber.
Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin is an intriguing proposition neat with a long complex palate.
The peppery and juniper sides work well in a Gin and Tonic, but I find that Manly Spirits’ Gin mixes nicely in a wide range of cocktails— even adding a distinctively Australian touch.
Try Australian Dry Gin in an Aviation or Tom Collins. It works well with classic gin notes, but some of those Australian botanicals are transformative and interesting.
Australian Dry Gin— like many other Australian Gins— embodies a story about the place it comes from. Using Australian takes on native European botanicals, flavors like Anise Myrtle come to the fore suggesting that it may be the mot important botanical in Australian Gin.
But I digress— Australian Dry Gin is a solid, well made gin that combines place with tradition. I think fans of both classic and contemporary gin will dig Manly Spirits Co.’s offering.