From the rugged region of the Perth Hills, WA, the mysterious 'Old Macdonald' is crafting a range of dry and flavoured gins in his humble still.
We learnt a bit more about this enigmatic distiller and had a taste of his flavourful OMG Wildflower Honey, Lime and Lemongrass Gin.
About OMG Distillery
Hidden away on an olive farm in a shed that almost burnt down in the Gidgegannup bushfire of 2021, Old Macdonald Gin (OMG) Distillery is run by ‘Old’ John Macdonald and his wife Nadine.
They craft gins that embody their ethos of fun and authenticity, while still maintaining an innate sophistication that comes with high-quality spirits.
Flavours in their gins are amped up with up to double the volume of botanicals, and the above-average ABV of their gins—between 44% and 65%—enhance flavours and let them linger longer on the palate.
While they do make a ‘regular’ gin—the OMG Australian Rare Dry Gin—Old Macdonald and his wife love to play with flavours that feature less common botanicals in their gins.
OMG’s Berry Bliss Gin bright purply-pink from butterfly pea flowers, and boasts strawberry, raspberry and blueberry notes.
The OMG Citrus Twist Gin delivers on expectations of lifted lime, lemon and mandarin, and of course the Wildflower Honey, Lime and Lemongrass Gin, which won silver at the Australian Gin Award, completes their core range.
Hailing from Scotland, ‘Old’ John Macdonald has a long-standing passion for spirits (not least for single malt) but his wife Nadine has only recently come to appreciate gin.
It’s her fresh perspective that has pushed OMG Distillery in new, unique directions, and it’s Nadine’s influence that’s brought their Wildflower Honey, Lime and Lemongrass Gin to where it is now.
“I told John he couldn’t give up until he had perfected it,” she explains. “It took six months, but it worked.”
As you’d expect, this gin uses real honey, lime and lemongrass as botanicals, but the delicious is in the details.
The honey is harvested after the bees have come back from visiting the Southern Beekeeper’s Nature Reserve near the beautiful coast of Cervantes north of Perth. The famed wildflowers growing here bring a wonderful aromatic to the honey.
The lime referenced in this gin’s name is in fact makrut lime, which is zestier and more aromatic than regular limes, and hidden in the mix are Javanese cubeb berries, elderflowers, wattle seed, coriander seed and of course lemongrass.
Most botanicals John and Nadine cultivate themselves on their farm or are locally sourced wherever possible. The wattle seed is sold to them through an Aboriginal collective in the Pilbara.
The water they use is fresh from the skies above Gidgegannup.
First, let’s talk about the colour. Unlike ‘traditional’ bright crystal clear gins, this one has a slight cloudiness and a golden tinge—I’m guessing from the honey—that suggests this botanical is added post-distilling.
This ensures the flavour stays true, and it certainly makes sense when you taste this moreish spirit.
On the nose, there’s plenty of juniper and a little spice that settles into that warming sweetness of honey.
But the taste! Honey by the bucket, followed by gentle floral notes, soft citrus and a wonderful savoury spice that leads to a lovely long finish full of juniper, florals and citrus.
The wheat-spirit base OMG uses is so clean; it really lets the botanicals do their job with little to no alcohol aftertaste or burn whatsoever.
This is a well-balanced easy-drinking flavoured gin that has a lot of potential for different cocktails.
The boldness of flavour and slightly elevated ABV means this gin is made for tall, refreshing drinks.
Even something as simple as a squeeze of fresh lime and topped up with soda will work well, or adding a little fresh chilli, lime and ginger ale to make a spiced honey mule would be excellent.
Mediterranean tonic and a slice of lime will bring out flavours of this gin well too, but poured neat over a large ice cube turns the OMG Wildflower Honey, Lime and Lemongrass Gin into the perfect aperitif.