Juniper Freak 2019 Released
Never Never Distilling Co. have released their 2019 Juniper Freak vintage, a gin that focuses on capturing the flavour of the annual European juniper harvest.
The Juniper Freak is known for its intense juniper-forward character and bold strength of flavour. At 58% ABV the ‘Freak’ is one of Australia’s most sought after navy gins and also one of the most awarded. “We’re all wishing we could go back to 2019 at this stage,” says Never Never Brand Director Sean Baxter, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “This year’s Juniper Freak release will allow you to do just that.”
Harvested in September of 2019, the very first batch of juniper for the season was air-freighted from the Republic of North Macedonia to Adelaide to be immediately distilled by the Never Never production team.
The bright, pine-drenched flavours of that very first harvest are captured through a three stage distillation process before being blended with Never Never’s other eight botanicals to create their signature over-proof style.
When I first got a whiff of this year’s release, I thought I was walking through a pine forest,” says Baxter. “It’s absolutely phenomenal and is exactly the type of gin that gets our juniper fans really excited.”
The juniper harvested was brighter and more fragrant than previous seasons, due to the berries having a wide range of ripening stages. This is a result of the increase in demand for juniper more and more juniper is being harvested each year, putting stress not only on supply, but the juniper trees as well.
“The Balkans had excellent weather leading up to harvest, during and beyond,” says Baxter. “Our earlier picking time this year creates a green, fresh eucalyptus note to the gin.”
This year, Never Never Distilling Co. are offering a unique gift with purchase. The first one hundred subscribers to purchase online will receive a limited-edition dropper bottle of pure juniper distillate at 58% abv.
“The bottle contains the exact specifications of this year's juniper harvest, from when it was picked, to the location, the moisture content at picking, all the way through to the drying time,” Baxter says. “These are specifically for nerds like us who want to build their own harvest library,”
The 2018 vintage which sold out at the start of this year was one of Never Never’s most awarded variants. It won the only Masters medal awarded at the recent Asian Gin Masters and also Best Australian Navy Gin in both 2018 and 2019 at the World Gin Awards, along with gold medals at the San Francisco and Singapore World Spirits Competitions.
“The 2019 release has some pretty big boots to fill,” says Baxter, “but if our first taste it anything to go by, I’m confident that people will love this release just as much.”
This year’s release is a bright moment in an otherwise challenging period for the Never Never Distilling Co. Their distillery door, along with many others around the country, have closed amid the pandemic crisis. They are currently riding things out using online sales as their main driver of revenue, with bars and pubs around the country closing their doors for the foreseeable future.
Releases such as this offer a lifeline to the brand, with new products generating all important bursts of activity. “Our subscribers and followers are incredible during times like this,” says Baxter.
“We are blown away by the support we have received from local and global gin lovers, it gives us the drive to continue to get up each day and make great gin,” he says.
The 2019 Juniper Freak will launch in stockists around the country from April 20 and will be available to Never Never’s online subscribers in the coming days.