Taste Test: Four Pillars’ Olive Leaf Gin
Without a doubt the best-known Aussie craft gin distiller—both here and overseas—Four Pillars breaks ground with every new release they create. And their Olive Leaf Gin is no exception.
About Four Pillars Distillery
You’d have to be just out from under your rock—or perhaps recently woken up from the olive grove—not to know about Four Pillars Distillery these days.
Since 2013, this Aussie gin powerhouse has been turning out beautifully balanced, citrus-forward gins, but as we learnt when we first met the team, that wasn’t their first idea.
Head distiller Cameron McKenzie’s first thought was to make tonics!
Thankfully, Cam has used his powers for good—though I often wonder what that tonic would be like.
About the Bottle
Right on par with all of their products, Four Pillars’ Olive Leaf Gin is beautifully packaged and reflects the contents to a tee.
Their original Rare Dry Gin, with its coppery orange lettering tells of how they use around a dozen whole oranges in every batch to create that unique citrus-forward spirit.
Consequently, the Olive Leaf Gin’s deep dusty green tells the story of this savoury, olive and rosemary spirit perfectly.
From the off, it’s clear that Four Pillars are keen to set things straight with those who have wanted a savoury gin from them from the start, as well as the many citrus-forward iterations they’ve created over the years.
It’s typical of Four Pillars not to do things by halves. Just like their original gin, which uses whole fruit to create that juicy orange note, you wouldn’t expect this gin to be simple either.
Obviously olive leaves go into the still, but first they make a tea with the leaves to really get the infusion going as well as cold-press extra virgin olive oil, and not one but three different varieties of olive. This is all sourced from Cobram Estate olive growers.
Also in the mix is fresh lemon, bay leaf, rosemary, Australian macadamia nuts and lemon myrtle. And juniper of course.
On the nose, you find savoury notes, olive (obviously) and slightly floral pungency of rosemary. This is still a juniper forward gin, but matched for pace with these other aromas.
To taste, there’s a lovely rich, silky texture and that gentle floral note following from the nose.
There’s a salinity, but not as olive-led as its aroma is. Juniper adds spice and allows more savoury notes and umami to come through. There’s no hint of anise and very restrained citrus or sweetness.
Things finish dry and briny with a great length and smooth from beginning to end.
This gin is made for a martini. Literally. It even says it on the label. Any martini. Classic, dry, wet, dirty, perfect… but Four Pillars recommends a Gibson with their Olive Leaf Gin most of all.
We prefer it dirty with a couple of oily Sicilian olives to really dial up the hyperdrive on those savoury flavours.
By the way, if you’re not sure of best practice for ordering a martini or what the different types of martini are, check out our story here.