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Four for Naught - 4 winning Aussie gins from Melbourne’s Naught Distillery

If ever there was an example of how different one gin can be from the others, it’s what Naught Distillery has created: four different gins, each with its own dynamic voice and style.

Beginning life in 2020—a year more famous for its disasters than its successes, Naught Distillery has shown its strength and resilience by not just surviving the horrors this decade started with but thriving.

Owner-distiller Chris Cameron started out with his hero gin an Australian Dry. But by July 2021, he and his wife Abbi were proud parents of three other gins and a stunning cocktail bar in Chris’ childhood suburb of Eltham in northern Melbourne.

But it hasn’t always been a journey of gin for Chris.

Coming from a career as a professional basketball player, Chris began distilling on a small test still in 2016.

It took over 300 distillations and around five years of R&D for Chris to conclude his Aussie Dry recipe.

But the Camerons’ bar and cellar door in Eltham, which serves superbly crafted cocktails from its sleek and moody speakeasy-style haunt, is worth travelling for.

Each of the four gins is similarly packaged in 700ml bottles, but each one has a different colour label and lid. And each has a mysterious beetle hidden on the foliage of the design too.

The gins are all made with a pure wheat base spirit, distilled in Naught’s gleaming German copper still named Abigail.

Chris’ starting point is by no means a beginner’s gin. This Australian Dry is made with orange, cassia, toasted wattle seed, star anise and macadamia oil, which must be a horror to clean out of the still.

The result is a refined citrus, juniper and nuttiness on the nose, and a savoury cinnamon, rounded citrus and warm peppermint to taste. The macadamia oil has done its job though and provides a beautiful creamy texture.

This gin is recommended with a classic clover club cocktail, which combines raspberry syrup, gin, dry vermouth and lemon juice with egg white for a foam top.

I’d love to try this as a martini too, and in a short gin and tonic. Make sure you garnish your G&T with an orange slice and a sprig of rosemary though, or Chris will be on you like a shot—and I warn you, he’s a big’n!

It’s always interesting to try navy strength spirits. I believe it gives a clearer insight into the distiller’s purpose and skills. Plus the high ABV is fun!

This OP gin is at 57.4%ABV, but you wouldn’t know it. That’s how smooth this gin is.

Juniper, pink lady apples, pink grapefruit, lime, cardamom and cassia work together to create a gin that’s absolutely packed with flavour.

On the nose is juniper and—interestingly—matchsticks, while lime, grapefruit and a rich mouthfeel bring on a long aftertaste. There’s also a back-of-palate bitterness that suggests a sweeter cocktail was in mind when Chris was creating this gin.

Served in an aviation, Naught’s OP gin would really sing, though I’d love to roll this out in a corpse reviver #2.

Made in collaboration with a local Yarra Valley winery, this Sangiovese Gin is not only striking, sporting a deep red almost purple colour, but it’s also the one that surprised me most.

Aromas of rich grape skin, cooked cherries and blackcurrants are followed by incredible smoothness, flavours of decadent liquorice, berries and a bit of cheeky spice. This is all propped up by the low citrus notes and juniper from Chris’ Australian Dry Gin base.

It’s a bit like sloe gin, but a more savoury, juicy version.

Perfect for a sumptuous turn on a negroni, Naught’s Sangiovese Gin would also make a beautiful summer G&T.

Because this gin is based on different grape vintages, each seasonal batch will be slightly different.

This is also a limited release, so get to our shop here quick before this year's sells out!

The latest gin in the Camerons’ repertoire, this take on a London Dry is the consummate all-rounder.

Juniper forward, Naught’s Classic Dry is a clean, light, bright gin. Coriander seed and citrus work perfectly together to harness the flavours of the other four botanicals, creating a gin where no flavour out-does another—apart from the juniper of course.

Ideal for a martini with a twist, this clean-as-a-whistle gin would also do all the work in most gin cocktails—gimlets, gin fizzes and south sides especially.

I, for one, am so pleased Chris Cameron ditched basketball for gin-making.

It’s not just the 6’11’’ distiller that stands head and shoulders above most; his gins certainly do that too.


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