Taste Test is our series guiding you through the best Australian craft spirits. Sip-sized reviews and talking points that show the incredible depth and importance of this wonderful industry.
About the brand
In the northern reaches of Melbourne, husband-and-wife distillers Mick and Mel Sheard of Imbue Distillery create gins and gin liqueurs that are balanced, subtle and sophisticated.
Mick and Mel have sought out unique botanicals like apples, fennel, dandelion and sunflower seeds, bringing a refreshing edge to their gins.
They also locally forage unusual native herbs and fruit to pair carefully with the must-have juniper, which makes Imbue an essential part of the Australian craft spirit landscape.
About the bottle
The Journey’s bold, square shoulders and thick base give the bottle quite a masculine feel, but the glass stopper and the bottle’s label soften its appeal.
On the label, the artwork tells a lot about the gin. As a rule, I loath experiential descriptions of flavours, but ‘a bike-ride through an apple orchard on a summer’s day’ kind of sums up this tipple.
It’s a fresh, wholesome gin, like a lungful of country air.
Mick and Mel have listed juniper, apple and muntries - also known as emu apple and native cranberry - as their main ingredients for The Journey, but there’s certainly a lot more going on behind the scenes.
The muntries are an Aussie native fruit that Mick and Mel have foraged locally, which is an important element to all their gins.
This is a juniper-forward gin - something that is abundantly clear from the first sniff. Beneath the juniper you can smell the apple notes and a subtle sweetness.
To taste, the muntries, which even look a bit like tiny red-green apples, are the bridging component in this gin. They have a spicy apple and juniper flavour profile, and connect the fresh apples and core juniper elements very smartly.
There’s a hint of liquorice and a warmth from the grape spirit base, which also keeps everything light, and a savoury flavour, possibly from coriander or angelica. This is a beautifully structured gin.
Chilling the gin seems to mask some of the more delicate flavours, so tasting The Journey when it’s a little warmer will give you more.
Of course, no one wants a warm martini, so chill away. Served as a gibson with a touch more vermouth than you might normally use is the way to go.
The Journey also makes for a sensational negroni. If you're not sure how that one goes, here are the basics on this classic cocktail.
Visit Imbue's new cellar door
Mick and Mel also have a cellar door where you can come and try their amazing gins, and also learn more about this brilliant little distillery.
So head over to their new spot in Ivanhoe in Melbourne's northeast to try a tasting paddle or a beautiful gin cocktail they even do a mean picnic platter to keep you going while you gin.