Lift Your Spirits At Perth’s Best Distilleries

bySally Hall
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We don’t know about you, but every time we open up a newspaper… we need a stiff drink. Luckily, our great state is home to some stand-out spirits. Here are just a few of our favourites to ease the news cycle.

Whipper Snapper Distillery

Founded with the help of a WWII vet and his backyard moonshine, Whipper Snapper have gone on to create one of Australia’s finest premium whiskeys. Crafted with 100% WA ingredients, starting with corn, barley and wheat grains for their Upshot whiskey, to Australia’s first commercially grown quinoa from Narrogin for their Project Q Quinoa Whiskey, these guys are committed to the craft. Feeling adventurous? Try the Crazy Uncle Moonshine, the first legal moonshine in Australia, or Jetpack Hard Coffee, a coffee and whiskey hybrid made with local roasters Timely.

139 Kensington Street, East Perth

Republic Of Fremantle

Republic of Fremantle are not into taking shortcuts. After its long awaited opening, the Fremantle distillery is finally up and running, and doing things their own way. Creating their own spirit using Swan Valley verdelho grapes, they currently have a vodka and two gin styles on offer. The Full Bodied Gin is classically dry with bold flavours of pink peppercorn, cranberry, cinnamon, clove, figs and rosemary, while the Aromatic has a more zesty, fresh tones of citrus, peach and honeyed ginger. When it comes to their Signature Vodka, expect a double distilled, silky smooth and clean character, with notes of citrus and melon.

3 Pakenham Street, Fremantle

Rottnest Island Gin

Most Perth-dwellers have a fond memory or two of summers on Wadjemup, taking in the salty air and the native botanicals of the island. Don’t you wish you could bottle that up? Well, the same thought occurred to Wine Thief owners Damian and Nicole, and voila! Rottnest Island Gin was born. The signature botanical note captures the spirit of Rottnest through the Rottnest Island daisy, and a portion of the profits go towards vegetation rehabilitation programs on the island.

Available at The Wine Thief, 69 McCourt Street, West Leederville

Sin Gin

A chance discovery of a distilling licence, a grandfather’s 100-year-old aquavit recipe, and a love of gin and tonics: the magic ingredients that led founders and hoteliers Kate and Mark to create Sin Gin in 2017. Starting as a nano distillery in West Perth’s Murray Hotel, their popularity has necessitated a move to larger premises in the Swan Valley. The Seven Deadly Sins series is their flagship range, created with a combination of botanicals that evoke each sin. Think coriander, stinging nettles, devils claw and skullcap forming the bold flavours of Wrath, or the truly Envy-inspiring range of Australian native botanicals: mountain pepper berries, wattle seed, aniseed myrtle, lemon myrtle, peppermint gum and quandong.

124 Lennard Street, Herne Hill

Illegal Tender Rum Co.

We’ll admit we’re stretching the boundaries of what constitutes “Perth” a little this piece, but when the distilleries as good as Illegal Tender Rum Co., who could blame us? This multi international award winning rum distillery is based up in Dongara on the Coral Coast and was founded by Master Distiller Codie Palmer. Palmer basically dropped everything to pursue a passion for distilling, and you can taste it in every mouthwatering drop. Made from ferment to bottle, you’ll truly believe man can turn rain water into rum on a tour of the distillery, otherwise pick up a bottle from any self-respecting bottle shop around WA and try it yourself.

Illegal Tender Rum Co.

35 Illyarrie Road, Springfield

The West Winds

You can hardly step foot in a Perth bar without spying a bottle of West Winds gin, and it’s no wonder: inspired by the salty, ocean breezes that are iconic to our state, West Winds’ range of gins have become some of Australia’s most highly awarded. Check out the Sabre for their take on a classic London Dry style that utilises lemon myrtle and wattle seed; an Australian twist that pairs only too well with the fresh, citrus flavours of a G&T. More of a savoury palate? The Cutlass combines cinnamon myrtle and native bush tomato for a truly unique, complex flavour.

455 North Jindong Road, North Jindong

Old Young’s

Old Young’s certainly know how to make a splash – whether it’s their audacious manifesto (“don’t be sh*t”), bevy of awards or their bold flavours. Based in the Swan Valley, the distillery has a steadfast commitment to high quality ingredients, and innovation: perhaps most effectively demonstrated via Juniper Society, their gin subscription born out of the pandemic. While each month’s flavour is a surprise, past highlights have included Lilly Pilly Old Tom, Cider, Christmas Tree and VB.

10581C West Swan Road, Henley Brook

Running with Thieves

Life’s a funny old thing, ain’t it? You have all these grand plans to launch your brand new venue, with a restaurant, brewery and distillery, and then… well, 2020. After a brief stint pivoting to producing hand sanitiser, November of 2020 saw the venue finally able to open, for real. As well as a micro-brewery, the space also contains a distillery producing both gin and vodka varieties, plus a retail outlet for you to take all those goodies home. The Vodka 001 is triple distilled, and has a crisp base with notes of soft, grainy wheat, while the distillery’s gin comes in three styles depending on your preferences – Botanical, London Dry and Citrus.

218 Marine Terrace, South Fremantle

Wandering Distillery

Itty-bitty, family-run operation Wandering Distillery may be pint-sized, but it’s nevertheless made a big impact. Initially established in the Mornington Peninsula, the family relocated back to Perth in 2019, and have been putting in the hard yakka ever since, constantly popping up at local stockists and eager to give you a taste. Our pick is the Odyssey; a gin that represents the distillery’s journey thus far, with a balance of nine botanicals that include finger lime, lemon myrtle, hemp and rosemary.

Unit 4, 50 Ladner Street, O’Connor

Great Southern Distilling Co. & Margaret River Distilling Co.

To skip over Cameron Syme’s behemoth distilling operation would be an oversight, to say the least. Establishing the state’s first legal distillery is no mean feat, and the master distiller certainly hasn’t sat on his laurels since then. With distilleries now in Margaret River, Albany and Porongorup, the combined forces of the Great Southern and Margaret River Distilling Co’s have created some heavy hitting, not to mention highly awarded, spirits that include Limeburners, Tiger Snake and Dugite whiskeys, as well as Giniversity gin. Internationally recognised as some of the best in the world, these are more than worth the drive down south.

252 Frenchman Bay Road, Albany
Cnr Carters and Bussell Hwy, Margaret River 

Header Image: Whipper Snapper in East Perth.