EVOKE – A unique hand-crafted spirit featuring native Tasmanian sassafras
At the Bakehouse Distillery in the Far South of Tasmania, we’re proud to have created the world’s first sassafras inspired spirit: Evoke. This small batch botanical spirit is hand-crafted using native Tasmanian sassafras, complemented by other locally grown botanicals and the purest and healthiest rainwater in the world.
Southern Sassafras has its roots in the rainforests of Gondwana and has continued to evolve from its ancient ancestors over the 55 million years since Tasmania separated from Antarctica. Evoke is inspired by the fragrances and flavours of this remote and windswept region, with its wild oceans and rivers, its raw and ancient wilderness.
To experience Evoke in its natural habitat, make the trek down south to visit us at Bakehouse Distillery in Dover, Tasmania. We’d love to show you our still and explain our distillation process. (Check our opening times or contact us first). No time for a road trip? Visit our online store.
The distillation process
Distiller Martin Wohlgemuth embarked on a labour of love when he set out to see if he could capture the essence of this untamed island in a 700ml bottle. Inspired by a life-time association with and respect for Tasmania and its Far South, he was compelled to source and experiment with the very best the area had to offer.
“The sassafras leaves we use in our distilling process are sourced by selectively pruning trees by the side of bush tracks. We have also initiated a propagation and planting programme for the species in the garden surrounding our distillery.”
The leaves of the sassafras tree are vapour-distilled to extract the flavours using our handsome copper Alquitar still. Finally, thoughtfully selected local botanicals and the purest rainwater are added to create a truly unique and local taste: Far South Tasmania distilled.
In keeping with our respect for the land, we ensure that sustainable practices are central to the way our distillery interacts with this remote corner of the earth.
Used by the Moors and probably of ancient Chinese origins, Alquitar stills continue to be used frequently on the Iberian Peninsula.
Southern Sassafras – our star performer
Southern Sassafras or Blackheart Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) is a conical shaped evergreen tree native to the cool temperate rainforests of Australia. With Gondwanan origins, it’s distributional epicentre is Tasmania. Growing up to 45 metres tall with a diameter of 1 metre, it can grow to be 200 years old. Its trunk and branches are often covered in lichen and its leaves have distinctly coarse-toothed edges. Flowers form in winter, facing down to avoid rain and snow. The fruit capsules mature, opening around January to release feathery, windblown seeds.
Southern Sassafras has been an essential plant of the human story for many thousands of years. In more recent times it was used to bitter the first ales made by Tasmania’s newly arrived colonists. Over 60 years ago several experiments were conducted to establish the toxicity of a compound known as Safrole, thought to exist in all Sassafras species. The results from these experiments led to an almost total global ban on the use of Sassafras in all victuals. Given the evocative flavoured scent of the tree, we set out to see if we could extract the oils from the leaves. This endeavour produced positive results with no traces of Safrole present. And Evoke was born.