BERT SHUGG OF TASMANIA: THE RETIRING GIN
The Retiring Gin is made from 100 percent raw ingredients. Each part of Dr. Bert Shugg's recipe speaks to one part of his story.
Bert ferments medical-quality dextrose and distills it to create one of the smoothest, roundest, most delicious base spirits we've come across. This makes his product so special. He then combines around 12 different botanicals (those that are in season) into four different batches and re-distills his spirit in tiny quantities. The vapour of his base spirit gathers the essential aromas, flavours and textural qualities of the botanical ingredients without over-extracting any bitter compounds.
Bert carefully supplements his organic juniper, coriander and black and green cardamon with carefully selected medicinal Chinese herbs. Mandarin, orris root, angelica, licorice and bitter almond give spicy and earthy character to the spirit, and provide a solid base from which the more vibrant aromas can express themselves. In addition, Bert harvests from his own garden, the fresh and floral botanical ingredients lemon verbena, bergamot flower and lime. Put all of these together and all of a sudden you start to get the picture of a richly-flavoured yet enticingly fresh spirit.
The Retiring Gin is left unfiltered, so you're in for one huge bash of mouthfeel in your martini. Recommended. With a gin this good, there's no need for fanciful ideas, just the best ingredients with a healthy dose of care and passion.
MEET THE MAKER: BERT SHUGG
Here at Spirit People, we've been extremely reluctant to get on board the gin craze because, while we love a Negroni as much as the next guy, what's missing for us in the story of most gin distillers is the why. Then we met Dr. A.W. Shugg.
A recently retired pediatrician, Bert Shugg has long wished to join the other members of his generous Tasmanian family in the production of great food and drink. A lifelong lover of gin, Bert had a pretty good idea of how he was going to spend his retirement, all he really needed was a distillery and perhaps some sound advice from cousin Peter Bignell of Belgrove Distillery. Well, he found one.
John and Ruth Cole live on an apple orchard with a self-built distillery attached. Realising that these farmers and distillers shared a similar discerning eye for quality, Bert quickly struck up a great friendship with John and Ruth and, after a certain amount of tinkering and negotiating with all of the ingredients, The Retiring Gin was born. The number one reason we love Bert is his dedication to the craft, that is, he actually makes his gin with no outsourcing. Everything happens on-site, including the fermentation and distillation of his base spirit. What many people don't realise is how important this first step is. It's crucial for a gin distiller to understand the essential nature of his spirit before he starts adding flavour to it.
"If you’re going to make a consistent product that is representative of your passion, can you do that whilst going into the space of larger prodcution? I’m not going into that space." - Bert Shugg
This brings us back to the why we think The Retiring Gin is worth talking about. Consider a retired paediatrician with an honest love of food, drink and great company. Notice how he befriends a farmhouse distiller, uses exclusively medical-quality and organic ingredients, does everything by hand, retains complete control, and refuses to outsource, placing passion over economy, service over gain, and quality over compromise.
Thanks Bert, for truly encompassing what we're trying to do here, and for being a wonderful ambassador for all of the SPIRIT PEOPLE.