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Taste Test - Ester Spirits’ Strong Gin

From Marrickville, Sydney’s craft spirits heartland, Ester Spirits is distilling some of the best Aussie gins out there. Honest, juniper-forward and distinct, this is Ester’s Strong Gin.

It all started as a subsistence project. Owner-distillers Felix Clark and his partner Corinna Kovner discovered their gin-making talents from bootlegging gin for their own consumption.

But after their sixth batch, this hospo power couple decided their recipe had what it takes to go legit and so Ester Spirits was born.

About Ester Spirits

Releasing their first gins in 2020 to an mightily impressed audience, Ester immediately raked in a host of awards, not least the World’s Best Navy Gin with their Strong Gin.

Felix and Corinna’s approach of London dry style gins that are juniper forward, spicy and a little citrusy, but at the same time completely Australian at their heart clearly resonates well.

And all this during the nightmarish conditions of the Covid pandemic.

About the Bottle

With its bold and almost Bond opening credits-esque black and while label, Ester’s Strong Gin comes across as somewhat simplistic, which seems to be what Felix and Corinna are aiming for; the ‘I’d rather be a pleasant surprise than a surprising disappointment’ vibe.

Although the bottle design may look minimalistic and its presentation box anachronistically psychedelic, what’s inside is right on the money—a knock-out navy-strength gin.

Key Botanicals

The thing I always like about navy strength gins is how the high ABV—they must be up to or over 57% (114% proof)—is how the alcohol becomes a botanical all of itself.

Plus, botanicals are magnified by the power of the spirit.

Stand-out ingredients are first and foremost, juniper, then coriander, cardamom, finger lime and lemon myrtle, and for that all-important texture a healthy dose of macadamia nut.

Tasting Notes

Ester’s Strong Gin opens with bright playful citrus aromas that deepen into a subtle juniper savoury.

First sip is incredibly smooth—that oil from the macadamia has done its job, coating the mouth and tongue, and creating a luxurious taste experience.

All the juniper, coriander and cardamom (and ABV!) come together to make warm herbaceous flavours with pepperiness and spice.

There’s also a hint of eucalyptus—or is it anise?—that holds your attention while the citrus from the lemon myrtle and native finger limes get ready for the mid-palate.

The whole flavour cacophony lingers on the tastebuds for a long time while the ABV tingles the lips and gums in the most delightful way.

A few drops of water open up those herbaceous and citrus flavours more, and somehow increase the tingle.

Serving Suggestions

I love to live on the wild side of navy strength gins and a martini seems like the most logical destination for this incredible spirit. Minimal vermouth and perhaps a twist of lemon or sprig of rosemary to really let those herbal and citrus flavours speak.

Felix and Corinna are also keen for us to try their Strong Gin in a gimlet, which is an excellent idea, and in a G&T.

I love to go 50/50 with tonic and soda water in G&Ts, and I think that would work well here too. Got to let those incredibly magnified botanicals speak for themselves.

What a cracker of a gin!


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