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“Great little distillery”

Kangaroo Island Spirits
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$224.85*
and up
Kangaroo Island Gourmet Food and Wine Trail Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: South Australia's only boutique distillery, Kangaroo Island Spirits is producing award winning Gin and a number of liqueurs which utilise local and native ingredients. The cellar door offers free tastings in a rustic but personal setting.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great little distillery”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2012

Stopped in on the way out of Kingscote. Tried the affogato which was excellent. The liquors are very good and worth it. Best t-shirts on the island. They run a small place but that is the charm. The spirits speak for themselves and if you like liquor this is a must stop.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Kelly P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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249 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“thirsty work”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2012

very hospitable hosts. the gin is brilliant. a variety of spirits, many novel all refreshing. would never pick it from the front gate.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Anthony C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
55 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Great place to visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2012

We dropped by KI Spirits for some sampling and were not disappointed. The staff were knowledgeable and friendly, as well as very generous with the samples. Although they are not cheap, the spirits were different and very good quality. Would drop by again.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank leelou28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“KIS - an exploration of boutique spirits”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2012

Kangaroo Island Spirits is a boutique distillery located in Cygnet River, 10 minutes west of Kingscote. It is run by Jon & Sarah Lark, a beautiful couple with a passion for their craft.
We drove out to their distillery on the Playford Highway and seeing the Kis logo out front, we were surprised at how quickly we'd come upon it and pulled in. The car-park at the rear of the property is located next to the shed that is the distillery. It is reminiscent of a bootleggers – rust red tin, a small garden with a small unassuming glass door – rustic.
Inside the distillery is small but cosy with the service counter and a couple of tables and chairs. Sarah was behind the counter when we entered and greeted us warmly. The conversation was relaxed and natural, not forced at all like you get at some of the larger cellar doors. The variety of spirits on offer was larger than we thought it would be – 10 items.
Wild Gin, Vodka, Samphire Vodka, Chilli Vodka, Pinklily Strawberry - Strawberry and Vanilla Liqueur, Honey & Walnut Liqueur, Lime and Ginger Liqueur, Limoncello, Zenzirino - Ginger & Orange Liqueur, and Anisette.
All are distilled on site, and as many of the ingredients that can be sourced locally are such as the native Juniper berry (boobialla, Myoporum insulare) , Samphire, Wild Fennel and honey.
Each of these is individually hand-crafted by Jon & Sarah, with obvious passion. The small batch size allows for subtle variation in the final product, meaning that the complexity of flavours shifts. This is the artisan distillers way, and makes for a more delightful product. It is the same as tasting different vintages of a favoured wine, it will still be the wine you enjoy but there will be new inflections and accents to explore.

The tasting begins with the Wild Gin. It is a grape spirit gin, triple basket distilled, and combines native and Italian Juniper. A beautiful and fragrant Gin, smooth on the nose with a sweet almost citrus palate. It is by far one of the best Gin's I've had and is on par if not better, in my opinion, with Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray.
A great opening full of promise for what is to come.
Next up is KIS Vodka. Once again grape spirit and triple distilled but also employing charcoal filtering. It is a crisp and clean vodka that slides across the tongue so easily it would be criminal to add soda or any other flavours to it. Sarah tells me while I drink it that they had a group of Russian tourists pass through and taste the Vodka. Their verdict: Girl's Vodka. I take it that for Russians this Vodka is lighter, fruitier and more fragrant and lacks the bite of traditional Russian Vodkas. All I can say is, that's fine by me.
Sarah starts to tell me about the next drink, Samphire Infused Vodka. They came up with the idea after hearing of other grass infusions being created and thought they would give the local Samphire a go. Samphire is also known as Bearded Glasswort and is fleshy perennial with a high tolerance to saline and waterlogged environments. This Vodka is not very much to my liking, it is on the sour side of my palate with grass and salt coming through. Martini's spring to mind as I sip, and while I enjoy the Martini from a cultural perspective (it adds an extra layer of characterisation to James Bond), it has never been my drink. It is a unique and very interesting flavour and I recommend any spirit aficionados to sample. Who knows, it may become your favourite taste from KIS.
Sarah then offers us a brand new product that they are still developing their marketing for (It's great to hear of a producer completing the product prior to marketing it). This drink is called SLAP. Samphire, Lime, and Pepper vodka. The nose is not dissimilar to to the strait Samphire with a hint of citrus, but when that cool liquid strikes the tongue, flavour explodes. It is complex and tangy, the lime screaming it's presence, the grass of the Samphire becomes a welcome accompanier, and in the background is a bass-line laid down by pepper, perfectly balanced. It is enjoyable on say many tiers of taste and very satisfying. The after-taste is similar to an excellent Margarita mixed with an impeccable tequila. I would have gladly bought a bottle were it available.
Jon takes over our tasting as Sarah has a few errands to run, and they don't miss a beat, picking up the conversation readily.
KIS Lime & Ginger Liqueur is next up with zesty lime riding high and the ginger taking the low. An Excellent blend of flavour with both easily distinguishable, which I find a rare treat in liqueurs.
Limoncello starts with a fragrant lemon nose and fills the mouth with a robust bitter lemon, curling the tongue slightly.
The Zenzorino is beautiful. The nose is light, distracting you from the sharp ginger that flows across the tongue, and the orange vaporously filling the senses.
KIS Honey & Walnut is thick and heavy, almost gelatinous with the walnut following through and softening the palate.
When we come to the Anisette, I am quite hesitant. I do not enjoy Sambuca or liquorice and so with a pinch of salt I sip. It was surprisingly light on the aniseed and the KI Wild Fennel adds a distinct sour that overrides the Star Anise so that your mouth isn't left with a cloying taste.
Pinklily Strawberry, was very light and not at all sweet. I think the vanilla was a bit too heavy over the strawberry and as such came up lacking slightly.
To finish off, is the Chilli Vodka. I'm a big fan of chilli in Vodka having experimented with it in the early 90's and was quite looking forward to this. Would be a fire burning in the depths, or the graceful pepper that chilli can be when given the light touch. It was the latter. The chilli is fragrant, then it explodes across your mouth and is gone before you can feel the light burn.
Jon gives it a try and remarks on how light the Chilli is. It's part of the variation from small distilling and is dependant on the chilli that's in the bottle.
My experience with Kangaroo Island Spirits is one of the best I've had at a tasting. It is always a pleasure to spend time who are passionate about their craft as well as being good at it. While not all the flavours were to my taste, I can not fault the products themselves. With all tastings, every palate is different, and our experiences with other tastes of the same variety always colour our perceptions, but should never diminish the enjoyment of tasting something new.
I heartily recommend that anyone visiting Kangaroo Island take the time to drop by Cygnet River and visit with Jon and Sarah Lark. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank ChadEglinton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A must visit destination”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2012

Only a short distance from Kingscote, KIS as it's affectionately called should definitely be included in your itinerary. Gin is the speciality, though the entire range of vodkas and liqueurs are tasty and unique. Hand-crafted with flair and passion for an excellent brew, you can taste the flavours of lime, ginger, lemon, and samphire (a salt-tolerant plant).
A wonderful tasting stop and we bought several bottles to share with friends.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank OZfriend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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