Taste Test: Forty Spotted’s Classic Tassie Gin
From the Island State, this Classic Tassie Gin from Forty Spotted is so eye-catching—but will it pass our Taste Test?
About Forty Spotted
It seems appropriate that this distillery takes its name from the forty-spotted pardalote—one of Australia’s rarest birds, and one that’s now only found in Tasmania. After all, the man who started it is Tasmanian too and also takes his name from one of our avian friends.
Bill Lark—the godfather of Australian craft distilling—released Forty Spotted’s first gins in 2015.
As it’s part of the Lark empire, you’d expect Forty Spotted to carry the same elements that Bill’s whisky distillery does. Luxury, quality, balance and a savvy that sets it apart from other gins in the country.
The good news is your expectations are set to remain intact.
About the bottle
After a pretty major rebrand a couple of years ago, the whole Forty Spotted range has been literally turned on its head.
The inverted bottle is something you’d only find with those old spirits bottles built for the optics at the back of pubs. By no means high-end.
Forty Spotted, however, is all about the luxe. Every detail of these bottles has been addressed. From the cap, which doubles as the base and has the words “from the bottom of the world” raised on the top, to the punt at the other end, which sports a little map of Tas embossed in it, this bottle’s a looker.
The beautiful metallic copper label, which reads correctly whichever way it’s positioned, sits perfectly amidst the ripple effect of the glass.
We wondered about these ripple effects.
Are they topographic markings? Perhaps they’re of Mount Wellington, which looms over Hobart and the Lark Distillery. Or maybe they’re waves. A reference to the rough waters of the Bass Strait that separates Tassie from the mainland?
Either way, the impact and the fact this sits on your bar upside down makes you want to pick the bottle up, open it and start mixing martinis.
Apart from mysterious hints to “herbs and spices” and the assumption of juniper, they’re not giving too much away with the Classic Tassie Gin.
But native Tasmanian pepper berry, fresh makrut lime leaves and lemon peel are the most prominent botanicals for this gin.
On the nose, there’s a lovely initial strawberry sweetness that develops into the spicy pepperiness no doubt from the pepper berries. There’s also a rich herbal note from the makrut leaves and a light menthol eucalyptus freshness.
The savoury aroma follows the first sip along with a pleasant spiciness and dryness, though the texture is enjoyably oily.
The finish is long and ends with a final pop of that menthol freshness we first found in the aroma.
Apart from its sculpture-like presence on your bar, this gin does well in a martini, really showing off its complex flavours.
The Classic Tassie Gin also shines in a martinez, battling those sweet notes with its savoury base, but it would work wonders in a gin fizz.