Cousin Vera is a little bit special. A gin made by two distillers, bringing their collective wisdom and tastes to the creation of one unique product. Our first ever Distiller Series Gin.
We have what we consider to be our four ‘core’ gins (Rare Dry Gin, Barrel Aged Gin, Navy Strength Gin and Bloody Shiraz Gin). Then there's our limited edition Bartender Series Gins. And then came Cousin Vera's Gin.
The idea for this (and for the entire Distiller Series) had been two years in the dreaming, and six months in the creation – and together with Santamania Destileria Urbana we produced something very different to the rest of the Four Pillars range of gins.
It began as an occasional tweet, a flirtation in scratchy English and worse Spanish. When Vera arrived at the ‘Destileria Urbana’ in Madrid she looked so very like our Wilma they could be transcontinental twins.
Then things got a little bit more serious as Javier and our distiller Cameron started talking about a meeting in Madrid. So, in September 2015 Cameron arrived at the Santamania distillery and the dream of collaborating on a gin came to life.
We wanted some of our more exotic and unique botanicals to live happily alongside the savoury Mediterranean flavours, and the result is Cousin Vera’s Gin, a Yarra-style Spanish gin.
The aromatics were bright, savoury and clean with a slight citrus spike. Cornicabra olives, fresh rosemary and crushed coriander sit above a solid base of juniper. The savoury notes carry on to the palate and are supported by pine needles, olive leaf and a textural almond note.
"At Santamania we feel very proud of our friendship with Four Pillars and the opportunity to work together on such a unique and genuine project," Javier has said.
"We have learnt that there are others, far away from home, also obsessed with making their passion their craft, persevering and being perfectionistic and non-conformist at all times.”
“In Spain, people from Madrid are cats… and that’s the reason why on our bottle you can find a black cat together with a kangaroo. Aussies are the kangaroos!” explains Javier.
The first release of this collaborative gin in 2016 was bottled at both distilleries - the contents identical, but the gin bottled in unique packaging using each distillery’s own bottle. And the second release in 2017 was distilled at our own Yarra Valley distilery, with Javier making the trip to visit our home. It has become a favourite of Four Pillars Gin lovers who are particularly partial to a dirty Martini (or as we like to call it, a 'Dirty Vera') or a G&T with lemon and rosemary.