Small batch distilling and artisan gin is more popular than ever, but Adelaide’s Rose Kentish is using her perfumery passion to take her products to entirely more sophisticated new levels.
Small batch distilling is certainly having it’s moment in the sun. In the case of gin, I don’t think we’ve seen so many artisan products since the bad old days of the 18th century, when it rightly earned the name “mother’s ruin”. Unlike the time required for aged spirits, gin and vodka can be made over the weekend, bottled, and in your glass by Monday, making it commercially very viable. Add a few distinct aromatics, and ‘shazaam’ you have a pleasing artisan tipple that has the potential to be the next big thing.
Every Australian state has a growing selection artisans into small batch distilling, who are creating imaginative and very enticing products, but I’m not sure how many of them have gone to the lengths that Adelaide’s Rose Kentish has.
One of the two founders of Sparkke at the Whitmore, Rose is an award-winning winemaker, producing premium vintages in McLaren Vale, Corsica and Provence, as well as a brewer and distiller. Much of her focus is currently on the latter, since she pivoted during the first major Covid lockdown, deciding to distill the alcohol from the vats of artisan beer and cider she had, rather than waste the products.
She has since created the finely crafted small batch range of Full Circle Spirits, which include both gins and spirits. The botanicals and fruits Rose uses in her small batch distilling are all handpicked, and a deep determination for sustainability drives her work.
Rose is intensely creative and it is her lifelong passion for flavours and scent, along with the potential for ever more subtle, sophisticated and complex aromatic profiles, that has seen her take her fascination to it’s logical extreme – and this is where she differs from probably any other distiller in Australia.
Rose is studying perfumery.
Enrolled in a real-time course streamed live from the perfume centre of the world, Grasse in France, Rose is doing class work, producing peer-reviewed and live-scored assignments into the wee small hours, while her family sleeps.
It is the skills she is honing and perfecting in these classes that sets her apart from other small batch distillers, and which put her in an exclusive and tiny group of similarly educated people in Australia.
“Scent and aroma are what get me out of bed every day, it informs all of my work”, Rose told me. It roots all of her products firmly and distinctly in a truly authentic place, making them truly genuine expressions of the botanicals and fruits she uses, and true flavours of South Australia.
I’ve been blown away by her products, especially her gins and her red Amaro bitters (which transports me instantly to Italy). If I’ve made you a little curious, you might want to experience them too, so head to Sparkke for the self-guided gin tasting experience or check out the two hour immersive experience with Rose’s gin journey, part of the Mind of the Maker event at Tasting Australia in May 2022.