Out in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, just outside the small town of Richmond sits a relatively small and non-descript set of industrial warehouses. This is certainly not a romantic location like our previous gin from Margaret River.
Earlier this year we visited Reg and Greta Papps at Ironbark Distillery at the end of a tour that encompassed most of the regional NSW distilleries. Like many small craft distilleries we’ve brought you so far this is family owned and run. Like so many they’ve only been going a few short years but in that time Ironbark has built up a premium offering across vodka, gin and moonshine. Yes, moonshine. Reg is an expert distiller of prohibition-era liquor. In fact, whilst we were visiting Reg had just finished up with a US film crew, here to document his moonshine obsession (he learnt his tradecraft in the Deep South).
Reg (or Al Chemist as he calls himself) earned his distilling stripes in the oil industry, distilling petroleum in stills 13 storeys high. Now he works on a much smaller scale having transferred from oil to alcohol.
As he says it, “Belief in dreams is an integral part of human nature and I would rather suffer the consequences of failure than die wondering, or watch the skills of long forgotten trades be relegated to the pages of history books”.
Ironbark has two gins, Dry and Wattleseed but it’s highly unlikely you’ll find them in your local liquor store. Ironbark is only seen at high end restaurants, 5-star resorts or similarly premium airlines; Emirates is a client.
You also cannot visit them without an invitation. There is no cellar door but Reg is always happy to take enthusiasts through his distilling process, a process so refined that you’ll not be surprised to learn that he uses very few botanicals. His gins are simple, clean and smooth. Enjoy!