While the Swan Valley and Margaret River are the obvious go-to places for a gin trail, there’s now a gin trail that’s a lot more unusual.
It’s a 1200km drive leaving from Perth that takes in many of WA’s locations which include the word “gin”.
The brainchild of Greg Garnish at Wise Wine in Dunsborough, Greg travelled to each of the towns to discover their unique plant life to use those botanicals as the base for a gin to celebrate each of the towns.
Seven WA outback towns now have their own gin, featuring botanicals from their area.
Wise already markets its range of Gin Gin gins and will extend the branding through the gin towns of Narrogin, Wagin, Corrigin, Muntadgin, Dangin, Badgingarra and of course Gingin.
Distiller Greg Garnish said being the first in WA to make a Gin Gin gin, it seemed logical to travel to the outback gin towns, discover some of their unique botanicals and make a gin from each of them.
Each unique gin will only be available from independent retailers in each town and from Wise Wines.
For the hardy traveller that makes tasting them all in their local habitat quite a challenge.
From Perth the trail heads north up the Brand Highway to Gingin where lies the origins of the first Gin gin.
Gingin features the grevillea, Gin Gin Gem and blueberries to add a floral note.
Next stop is the northernmost point of the circuit, Badgingarra which features Vertis grandis and a bottlebrush, Beaufortia, found in high concentrations on one farm and which give the gin earthy, bright floral notes.
Heading south-east, the longest haul of the trail heads four-and-a-half hours through Moora, New Norcia, Meckering and Kellerberin before hitting the little settlement of Muntagin where Australian sandalwood is the highlighted botanical with its sweet spice notes.
Head south-west through Bruce Rock to Corrigin where a species of feather flower and teatree Melaleuca are used as the base botanicals which gives it a spicy blend of citrus and herbal notes.
A short trek to the north west is Dangin, which takes its name from Danjin, the Aboriginal name for the needle bush, a species of Hakea, which is widespread in the area and which imparts earthy, savoury spice notes into the gin.
Then it’s an hour-or-so south through Pingelly to Narrogin which features Manna Wattle, an acacia shrub that has yellow flowers from March to August, giving the gin herbal and citrus notes.
A little farther south is Wagin, last stop on the trek, which uses Melaleuca accuminata as its key ingredient. Commonly known as mallee honey myrtle the shrub is generally found in mallee woodland and imparts bright floral and citrus notes.
From here it’s a leisurely two-and-three-quarter hour drive back to Perth.
The towns on this gin trail are not WA’s best known tourist attractions, but Greg Garnish says they are well worth exploring and you’ll also meet someincredible characters.
“Don and Joy Williams are Badgingarra farmers who have a patch of remnant bush that has some of the rarest flora in the universe.
“Doug Sawkins from Narrogin is a former Department of Environment Worker who has dedicated his life to Foxes Lair, protecting the natural bush to the north of Narrogin.
“Natalie from Muchea Tree Farm is instrumental in the future of our growing and protecting the native species of rare botanicals.
“The ladies from the Narrogin Community Garden played us a concert, as did the Badgingarra Roadhouse, and the owners of the Quairading Hotel.
“Bullet from Dangin was amazing – we played a game of cricket on the 100-year-old cricket pitch.
“The character and the people of each of these towns were something you wouldn’t come across in the big smoke,” Greg says.
Along their travels they gathered samples of 50 botanicals from the seven towns and trialled them all in the still at Margaret River to craft gin.
For those looking to build up a collection on their travels, each 700ml bottle of gin costs $85 and each outback gin has its own label, part of a theme based on the separate personalities of each town.
Each set is limited to 1,000 bottles, and available at the Wise distillery and tasting room, online at www.wisewine.com.au and liquor outlets from each town.