30 July 2021

All steam ahead as North of Eden picks up bronze for The Commissioning Gin

| Albert McKnight
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Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie

North of Eden’s Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie worked with HMAS Supply II to craft their new The Commissioning Gin. Photo: David Rogers.

A popular Sapphire Coast distillery has another award to add to its list of achievements, this time for a gin crafted using oyster shells and made in collaboration with the navy.

North of Eden was awarded a bronze medal at the 2021 International Wine and Spirits Competition for its bespoke The Commissioning Gin.

It’s another outstanding achievement for the micro-distillery owned by Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie, which started operating commercially in 2019 and already has bronze and silver awards to its name.

“It’s very satisfying that every gin we’ve made has been a medallist,” Mr Hughes said.

“It sort of says we are doing something right and we are making a very high-quality product. We are really pleased we are consistently ranking the best in the world.”

READ ALSO International accolades for North of Eden’s micro-distillery gin

He said The Commissioning Gin is about touting the Sapphire Coast which is also known as an oyster coast.

Its two key ingredients are, perhaps surprisingly, oyster shells and native saltbush.

Mr Hughes said he only knows of one other gin in the world that uses oyster shells – from Japan – but there may be others.

The Commissioning Gin

North of Eden’s The Commissioning Gin. Photo: David Rogers.

“It is something quite new and quite novel, but it makes a cracking gin,” Mr Hughes said.

“The oyster shells make a large difference to the feel of the gin.”

He said the distillery was approached by HMAS Supply II, which calls the NSW South Coast town of Eden its ceremonial port, to craft the gin for them.

READ ALSO Initiative uniting quality food and wine on Far South Coast given $315k boost

They worked with the ship’s crew to develop it, including holding tastings on the ship where they were overwhelmed by votes in favour of using the oyster shells.

“It was really great to work with the crew from the HMAS Supply – they were really lovely people,” Mr Hughes said.

As part of the process for The Commissioning Gin they also raised money for charities including the Eden Whale Festival.

Mr Hughes said his distillery plans to release the gin to the public under its own label in the next month, but will call it the Oyster Shell Gin.

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