Now, I'm not being dramatic when I say that these two international gin brands are THE best in the world. Hernö Gin, from Sweden, is the most awarded gin brand from the Northern Hemisphere. And Four Pillars, from Australia, is the most awarded gin brand from the Southern Hemisphere - and these juniper titans are doing some of the most exciting stuff around.
HernöLet's start with Hernö shall we? It was created at the end of 2012 by John Hillgren, a Swedish bartender who was living and working in London. Inspired by his love of gin, John began seriously studying gin and making technical visits to distilleries all over the world - in an effort to learn as much as he could before he began creating his own.
John eventually settled in the village of Dala in Sweden which was part of the UNESCO world heritage area called The High Coast. This area of natural beauty, with its incredible botanical selection, inspired John to create a truly organic gin made with Swedish botanicals.
Hernö Gin was released on the 1st of December 2012. During 2013 it received two Gold medals at the global gin masters.Since then it has gone on to rack up a total of 80 Master and Gold medals in the world's biggest spirit competitions, including the World's best Gin 2017 and 2018, the IWSC World's best London Dry Gin 2017, World's best Gin & Tonic 2016 and Gin Producer of the Year 2016 and 2017.
Four PillarsMeanwhile, in Melbourne's Yarra Valley, Stuart Gregor, Matt Jones & Cameron McKenzie were turning gin cogs of their own. They were looking to bring a modern Australian sensibility to the art of distilling and create a more contemporary style of London dry - so they imported a custom-built Carl still from Germany (named Wilma, after Cameron's beautiful but explosively tempered late mother - their words!) and began distilling Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin.
The gin uses rare and native botanicals like Australian lemon myrtle & Tasmanian pepperberry. The pepperberry leaf provides a warmth to the gin (rather than heat) and the lemon myrtle is a fragrant alternative to lemon peel.
Their extensive research paid off and judges and consumers alike quickly became fans of the renegade brand.
In its launch year, Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin won Double Gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition, followed by another Double Gold again two years later, Gold at the 2017 New York Wine and Spirits Competition and Master status at the Global Gin Masters... twice!
Named for the four pillars of their gin; stills, water, botanicals and love - the company is a firm believer in nose-to-tail production; gin that doesn't make the final cut is used to clean down the distillery, leftover oranges from the gin production are turned into Four Pillars marmalade and the botanicals are fed to their distillery pigs, who after eating a diet of gin-soaked botanicals, apparently develop uniquely flavoured flesh.