The West Winds Sabre was one of the first Australian gins I tried, and it was love at first bite. It’s not surprising it was my first Australian gin, it was one of the very earliest of the high quality gins to be made in Australian. But it used to be hard to find and I loved the stuff so much I’ve never quite managed to contain myself to my reviewing standards of sobriety (they are quite strict). Recently a local bottle shop started stocking it at a reasonable price so it’s becoming more of a staple in the gin cupboard.
Back in 2009 four guys in WA set up The Tailor Made Spirits Company to distill contemporary Australian spirits in Margaret River. Their first project was The West Winds Gin. The regular range features the Sabre and the higher proof Cutlass. In 2012 they created a one off batch of 99 called Dirty Harry, which was the Sabre, but cut to 44% ABV and sold in a 1.5L magnum. This year they released a navy strength called Broadside. I managed a sneaky taste of it, but it’s not widely available at the moment. If you see it, snap it up!
The Sabre is made in a German copper pot still. The neutral spirit is flavoured with juniper along with native and imported botanicals. The Sabre is made to be a nod to a traditional London dry gin with nothing added after distillation except triple filtered Margaret River rainwater to 40% ABV.
They don’t list all the botanicals, but this lot are in there:
The scent is rich with juniper, herbal notes and citrus. In the mouth there is a lot of alcohol heat, with a big juniper flavour in the aftertaste. The heat of the alcohol knocks out a lot of the subtlety out when drinking it straight, but don’t worry, you can get it back!
In a dirty martini the saltiness and the ice neutralise the heat of the alcohol and bring back the delicacy of the botanicals and citrus. In a gin and tonic the flavour is full but light with a delicious creaminess from the wattleseed. With a good tonic water like Quina Fina or Fevertree and twist of lemon peel to garnish it is an absolutely excellent drink. The Sabre is such a good all-purpose gin, it’s terrific in cocktails (like a Negroni, right), makes a great martini and truly excellent in a gin and tonic. At a price point only slightly higher than Tanqueray and Beefeater I would strongly suggest you consider this as your ‘house pour’ gin.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
The Gin Queen
WHERE TO BUY
Nick’s Wine Merchant
And Broadway Cellars on Glebe Point Rd if you live in my neighbourhood!