Drinks Digest Whisky Editor David Fuller had a lot of fun attending a preview tasting of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Australian series this week.
The line-up of eight new expressions is the brand’s first full range of whiskies from Australia. It’s also the first series release from a single country since shifting strategy to a quarterly focus last year.
The tasting was an enjoyable and entertaining tour of both the established and emerging Australian whisky scene. The whiskies in the series are all young (2-5 years old), which in itself is very interesting. Imagine being able to taste the early stage of Scotland’s whisky industry?
The virtual event was hosted by Dave Worthington (below, right), the company’s knowledgeable and very entertaining brand ambassador.
Our first whisky was from Belgrove Distillery in Kempton, Tasmania, owned by Peter Bignell. Australia’s first rye distillery, Belgrove grew out of Bignell producing rye for stockfeed and because it made a good windbreak! But now it creates a 100% rye whisky described as spicy and adventurous. And Drinks Digest agrees!
The second whisky was Killara 2 year old batch 1 at 49%. Killara Distillery is owned and operated by Kristy Booth-Lark and is one of the few distilleries worldwide to be owned and operated by a female. It is also the only second generation distillery in Australia (her dad runs Lark distillery). I love the tasting notes by one of the other participants “Silky white sugar turning to warm caramel like profile. A big of mingled custard and black tea maybe. Big rich weight.”
Our third whisky was a Fleurieu 3 year old (49.5%) from Fleurieu Distillery, located in the river port of Goolwa. The Head Distiller – G.R, Andrews – says it is the unique combination of environmental elements that allows his whisky to develops expressive maple and vanilla oak overtones mixed with spicy sea-air aromas. Andrews has a background in brewing and runs an eight-day fermentation with brewers rather than distiller’s yeast.
Our fourth tasting was Starward’s 3 year old at 56%. Drinks Digest first met Starward’s founder David Vitale at a special launch a few years ago on QEII and enjoyed his passion and drive. The distiller had strapped a cask of its whisky on the deck of QEII for a year and compared it to one left in Melbourne. It was one of my favourites on the night, with great caramel, rum and raisin notes.
Situated in Mendooran, 45 mins from Dubbo in Central West NSW, Black Gate Distillery is a small husband and wife operation established in 2009. The pair claim to enjoy a rural setting and a climate conducive to aggressive spirit maturation! We tasted a Black gate 3 year old (46%) matured in sherry casks and enjoyed the wonderful nose with a bold, punchy well balanced texture, the sherry coming through with Christmas pudding-like notes.
Tin Shed Distilling Company Pty Ltd is based out of Welland in South Australia and is a new producer on the Australian Whisky scene made up of a partnership of like-minded and experienced distillers who share a dream of producing quality whisky from local South Australian ingredients. Operated by Ian Schmidt and Victor Orlow, they commenced distilling in the middle of 2013. The Tin Shed 3 year old (48%) was big flavoursome whisky with a nutty nose, almost oily on the palate with bright sugars in the front and elements of thick, toasted malt and cherries.
Founded in 2015, Riverbourne Distillery is a boutique distillery based in Jingera, New South Wales (Snowy Monaro Region, northeast of Bredbo. Head Distiller Martin Pye runs a two-person show, mashing, fermenting, distilling and ageing his range of boutique whiskies and rums with the utmost attention to detail, while his wife Eileen does the bottling, labelling, paperwork and distribution. Tasting notes for this Riverboure 3 year old single malt included flavours of stewed fruits, rhubarband chocolate rum and raisin. “Whisky monsoon in a glass” said one reviewer!
Bakery Hill Distillery was established 1999/2000 to prove a point – that great single malt whiskies could be made outside of Scotland, and specifically in Australia. Based in North Bayswater, over the next three or four years the distillery perfected its processes and crafted three unique single malt whiskies acclaimed both within Australia and around the whisky world.
We tasted a Bakery Hill 5 year old peated single malt (50%) matured in an ex bourbon barrel. A fellow reviewer commented “… great balance, clear, clear, bright, fruity and delicate all at once. A great whisky to finish on!” Several people commented that this could almost be Ardmore like. A great result!
The Australian series will be available globally from April 23, 2021 and next week in Australia to the trade via Proof & Company as well as online and in store through The Oak Barrel, Old Barrel House, Nicks Wine Merchants and other independent retailers.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Australia Series line-up (with RRP) includes:
Black Gate 3YO Single Malt – $255
Belgrove 4YO Rye – $299
Tin Shed 3YO Single Malt – $215
Fleurieu 3YO Single Malt – $190 (exclusive in Australia to The Oak Barrel)
Killara 2YO Single Malt – $375
Riverbourne 3YO Single Malt – $239
Starward 3YO Single Malt – $179
Bakery Hill 5YO Single Malt – $299
Categories: New releases