Chapter 1 – Introduction:
Having come from a momentous journey that originated from Tasmania’s northwest coastal town of Wynyard it was completely unbeknownst to us that we were about to arrive at one of our favourite experiences to look back on.
So now I want to introduce you to a very unique place in Tasmania which has rarely been included in the usual itineraries offered.
Chapter 2 – The Arrival:
You would know that if you have ever been on a bus tour, it reaches a point where the feeling of constant exhaustion results in you just wanting to curl up in a ball, falling asleep and becoming completely oblivious to the world around you.
That was me today, and as the coach entered the dirt road leading to the Shene Estate, a clay target firing range to our side was in full swing. The rapid echo of gunshots resonated through the coach as we made our way down the dirt road to the estate.
Now, I don’t think an atomic bomb could have woken me up at that point but it turns out a rifle range can do just as well, if not better.
As we drove down the light slope towards the estate, my eyes were drawn across to where three large, epic sandstone structures stood, resonating in the afternoon sun. That was; The Shene Estate.
Being a gin and whiskey distillery, I think it is fair to expect our experience would begin with a tour of the distillery followed by a short tasting session before we were sent on our way. Our preconceived ideas were quickly squashed because yes, we all thought the same and we were completely wrong. After our welcoming we were invited into the northern wing of the stables. As we entered through the door we were seated on rustic timber tables standing on top of a historic stone foundations.
On top, adorable tea settings were ready to go. Each seat had it’s own personalised paper box that had been individually hand tied and when opened, contained three homemade desserts.
After an indulgent afternoon tea, we stood and turn towards the back wall. Behind us, a narrow, steep and questionable timber staircase ran up the back wall leading to the second level of the stables. As we climbed up, we were sent back in time 150 years and immersed in the estates history. Secret doors, winding stone staircase ran up to the look outs, and incredible bi-fold windows swung out to remind us where we were in the world.
It was everything you could ask for, rustic, mysterious, powerful and seemingly beautiful.
Behind another door we saw a huge collection of whiskey barrels that appeared to have remained untouched for decades. I wish I had asked whether or not they were full, because surely the ceiling below would have been at breaking point!
Chapter 3 – The Tasting.
If you look in the top photo, you will see a two large barn doors inside of the far building. I don’t remember walking in, but I do remember that it ticked all the boxes in what an entertaining area should be, and if I had the option of hosting a formal event anywhere in Tasmania, it would be there.
A double length timber bar looked at home underneath piles of hay bales on the level above. The timber floors appeared to be stained with history, stories and celebrations that had come and gone throughout time.
After being introduced to the building, we were given the opportunity to engage in a tasting experience which was impossible for even the non-drinkers to resist.
Unfiltered and Filtered are the two options in the Poltergeist Gin. With the unfiltered showing a slightly more cloudy texture but arguably more rich in flavour. I can’t fully remember the specifics or exact details as to what differentiated them.
Fair to say, some people had their preferences, but I loved them both.
A traditional tasting session, starting with the filtered gin straight, on the rocks, and finally with tonic water. The same followed with the unfiltered, and optionally one more to follow again.
In the moments after the tasting, an announcement was made. That morning they had just won gold in the world gin awards for 2017 and they over the moon. It was in no way deniable either, their gin was exceptional. Whether or not it’s because the water is Tasmania is more pure, maybe because the air is some of the cleanest in the world, or because so much passion and love goes into the making of their gin it was an award they so well deserved.
Chapter 4 – Meeting the Whiskey Distillers
Feeling slightly more relaxed, better looking and social, we stepped into the adjacent shed to learn about their distillery and the process they use to create their Whiskey.
The workers inside were talkative, and came over to answer any questions we had, no matter how ridiculous or simple.
I don’t know whether it was the lack of windows, but for me, the air inside the distillery smelt amazingly warm and sweet, with hints of spices and tang lingering amongst it. It was no different to how an outdoor barbecue can be inadvertently draw in your neighbours to enjoy the festivities. I didn’t want to return to the clean air of the valley.
Chapter 5 – Farewell.
Our overwhelming love that we quickly developed for The Shene Estate was emphatic amongst everyone. It was as if the building carried the entire weight of the world on their shoulders, and opened it arms to us like distant family members that you rarely get to see.
The sunset felt symbolic of our experience, leaving with our bags of gin we felt a richness inside of ourselves and our minds were at ease.
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