FRIDAY WIND DOWN: ‘Tis the season for Christmas Gin FRIDAY WIND DOWN: ‘Tis the season for Christmas Gin

FRIDAY WIND DOWN: ‘Tis the season for Christmas Gin


As a boy, Cam Mackenzie remembers it as the smell of Christmas. There was the rich sweetness of raisins and dates pepped up with cinnamon and infused with the deep tang of brandy. That was the smell that would fill Cam’s family home every Derby Day – the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup – when his late mum, Wilma, would make Christmas puddings for the festivities ahead.

These days, Cam is the co-founder and head distiller of Four Pillars, the Victorian company that’s gone from a small-batch gin distillery to being named the world’s leading gin producer in the space of seven years.  But scent, emotion and memory are powerfully interwined and can sometimes trigger a potent form of inspiration. Remembering that festive aroma from his childhood,  Cam decided to make a special festive gin dedicated to the four things he loves: Australia, Christmas, gin and his late mum.

Each year on Derby Day, Cam’s family now makes Christmas puddings to Wilma’s same recipe drawn from a 1968 copy of the Australian Women’s Weekly. Then he distils them with a base of juniper, cinnamon, star anise, coriander seed and angelica over the top. The Christmas Gin is aged for a year in 100-year-old Muscat barrels, before Cam adds some Rutherglen Muscat to bring an extra touch of richness.

The T+T team – most of the Australian contingent at least – was introduced to this extraordinary gin by Cam during our Christmas party at the Four Pillars distillery in Healesville. To be fair, we were introduced to a boat-load of excellent gins (their Olive Leaf one, for example, has instantly become my martini gin of choice). But with its heady blend of spices, caramel and orange ignited by the fiery punch of alcohol – the Christmas Gin is special. And a lot of other people think so, too.

In fact, Four Pillars’ Christmas Gin has become a regular part of many families’ yuletide celebrations and is now in high demand. One year, Cam told us, he got a plaintive email from a desperate family. The mother of the clan had terminal cancer and the family couldn’t get hold of any Christmas Gin as stocks had sold out. The ailing woman wanted to toast her last ever Christmas with her festive tipple of choice. Naturally, Cam dispatched a bottle forthwith. As I said, it’s a special gin.

In Australia, most of our Christmas rituals have been imported from the northern hemisphere. From Santa whizzing through the snow to a heavy turkey roast, such things make sense in the chill of mid-winter, but translate awkwardly to the Australian summer, where we’re as likely to celebrate Christmas day with some backyard cricket and an ocean swim. And that’s another thing I love about Four Pillars Christmas Gin. For a growing number, raising a glass of it has become a contemporary Christmas tradition, but one with a distinctly Aussie twang.  Plus, it sure beats the hell out of eggnog.

Happy holidays!

Luke, Zach, and the Time+Tide team

Watch meme of the week: About Effing Time and Chill


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With the holiday break incoming, now is the time to not only have some quality family time, but also quality #watchfam time as well. So brew a coffee or grab a beer and take in the best horology that YouTube has to offer. My biased pick: definitely make sure you are keeping up with About Effing Time. Season 2 has a lot of fun in store. And, of course, you should definitely check out our Time+Tide channel as well.

Wrist shot of the week: A perfect pocket shot

In a visual watch-geek dictionary for the term “pocket shot”, no written explanation would be necessary. Simply display the above shot, it is worth more than a 1000 words of description. That crystal haze, strap combo, lighting, focus and framing – perfection. In their caption, @watchstudies ponders whether or not the “pocket shot” is dying out. If it is, here is a superb example of why we should not let it.

Time+Tide Shop select of the week: Nivada Grenchen x seconde/seconde/ x Time+Tide Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver ‘ChaosMaster’ ‘Save Us’ Koala Edition

Joining us in the mission to save the koala are our two collaborators in creativity – Nivada Grenchen and seconde/seconde. This watch continues the theme of the main release of the ChaosMaster Editions – which were inspired by the chaos of the modern world. The base for this creative collision is the function-packed Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver. It was originally released in 1963 with a form nearly identical to what we see from its re-release. But while the original sported a variety of movements, including Valjoux, Landeron and Venus, the modern interpretation is powered by the excellent, hand-wound Sellita SW500.

This final ChaosMaster model, called the Save Us Koala Edition makes the concept even more literal, by planting a Koala on the seconds / chronograph hand, and having them cling on for dear life when it is activated. In highlighted letters in the text on the dial, you can read ‘SAVE US’. This is not a limited edition, but a limited production model – we will be taking orders through until December 31, then we’ll be done. Delivery is expected March, 2023.

Price: US$2,195 (incl. taxes). You can purchase the watch right here in the Time+Tide Shop.

Brand Nivada Grenchen x seconde/seconde/ x Time+Tide
Model Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver ‘ChaosMaster’ ‘Save Us’ Koala Edition
Case Dimensions 38mm x 46.60mm x 13.75mm
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal
Dial Black dial
Strap Tropic-style rubber strap
Movement Sellita SW510 M BH b
Price A$3,295 / US$2,195 (incl. taxes)


Our favourite Time+Tide coverage of the week:

How the Meistersinger Singularis Enamel Edition finally won me over

Although Fergus is a self-confessed lover of weird things, they could never really put their finger on why they hadn’t fallen for Meistersinger. They have always enjoyed the single-handed quirk and charm of the watches, and they have definitely recommended them to people who are looking for something different in the past. But, it wasn’t until the new Meistersinger Singularis Enamel Limited Edition that one of their releases really clicked in their mind. For this exclusive release of only 20 pieces, Meistersinger have fully leaned into the look of an antique instrument. Head here for a full introduction.

VIDEO: The Norqain Wild One collection ushers in the next era of the brand



Norqain has always strived to present great value well under CHF 10,000. With this in mind, the fact Norqain that worked and invested in creating an entirely new material is insane. Sure, they could have gone down an easier route, shaping an existing material to their needs. But Ben, Jean-Claude and, Norqain as a whole, are committed to innovate and that led them to undertake such risk. The fruit of their gamble is the all-new material “NORTEQ”, and this proprietary carbon composite material is the star of the show that shapes the new Norqain Wild One collection. Read or watch our full review here.

The Louis Vuitton Tambour book is like an in-depth biography of the brand’s favourite model

Louis Vuitton’s single most well-known watch design is surely the Tambour with its distinctive drum-shaped case that has arguably become the brand’s most established watch. Now to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the range, they’ve published a beautiful hardback book that is simply called, Louis Vuitton Tambour. Learn more about the new book here.

One to watch: “Making Time” documentary now available to stream in time for the holiday break



Making Time, executive produced by Ian Skelleren (co-founder of Quill & Pad) and Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi (Director General of Dubai Watch Week), not only delivers a documentary that die-hard horology lovers will find thrilling, but also makes it accessible for those totally foreign to the watch world. Rather than simply delve into the horology, Making Time digs into the humans behind the art form – peering behind the curtain of their work and into their life stories as well. Click here to learn more about the film and where you can stream it.