Are you ready for this Saturday? Don’t know what it is? Oh, dear…we need to fix that.
This Saturday, May 18th, is World Whisky Day. A day that celebrates all things malt, grain and tasty. Where whisky lovers and newbies alike are invited to celebrate not just the drink but the history of the culture it has created.
While Scotland and Ireland will always be the ancestral home of whisky, this liquid alchemy has been going global since the people who drink the stuff have been travelling the world, and thanks to Tassie’s increasing popularity, Australia is starting to find its place on the whisky map. With Scotland and Ireland’s roots running deep in Australia, it’s no surprise we have a connection to whisky culture. Even though Australian distillers have been producing high-quality whiskies since the laws restricting craft distilling were fixed in 1992 (thanks to the great efforts of Bill Lark), it is only recently that we’ve been gaining some serious whisky cred. What better time to explore this local flavour than on World Whisky Day?
So let’s get you started with three of our Victorian favourites. We’ve picked this trio to showcase the past, present and flavours of local whisky culture. We’ll tell you a bit about each whisky, where it’s made, how long the distillery has been around and why it is special, however, the tasting notes, we’ll leave to you. Nobody should tell you what to think, let alone taste.
Starward’s Two Fold
The local Melbournian distiller has been around for over ten years and has become the central hub of local craft booze culture since relocating to Port Melbourne a few years ago. They are all about collaboration and supporting other craft producers of all kinds. Their ethos from day one was to make a quality product that is both approachable and affordable, and we have to say, they’re nailing it.
The latest addition to their core range is the Two Fold, Australia’s first malt and grain whisky. This expression is crafted with all the same attention to detail as their other expressions but with the addition of wheat to the mash bill, it’s a lot lighter on the tongue than their barley-based single malts. It’s round and mellow enough to be sipped neat and is also priced and built for exquisite cocktails.
You can find Two Fold at most good bars around Melbourne or even better… go and visit them in Port Melbourne!
Get in touch and tell us about your first experience with Starward’s Two Fold.
Oldest Distiller in Victoria:
Bakery Hill – Double Wood
When we visited Scotland back in 2015, we heard many stories about David Baker’s highland jaunts. He made quite an impression on Scottish whisky makers, which is saying a lot! David started his whisky career back in 1999, making him the longest operating whisky maker in modern Victoria. He’s also a food scientist and chemistry teacher, so that seems like a pretty good foundation. He has produced amazing expressions as part of a family business that has been going for twenty years. The Baker family has always favoured craftsmanship over flare and marketing, and it certainly shows in their whisky.
If you can only try one expression, our choice would be the Double Wood, which really showcases the Bakery Hill attention to detail. It’s actually quite challenging to make whiskies as old as they do, averaging up to eight years in cask (even if it doesn’t say it on the bottle). When you take that into account, their bottles are actually very affordably priced compared to similarly made expressions from our neighbors in the south. The balance of the American and French oak casks combine to make an extremely well-rounded single malt. We won’t say anything else about the taste, that’s all up to you.
Let us know what you think of your first taste of Bakery Hill Double Wood when you try it.
Regional Distillery in Victoria:
Timboon – Christie’s Cut
Nestled in the hinterland off the far side of the Great Ocean Road, Timboon Distillery was built in an old railway shed. Coming from a farming background, distilling was a logical progression for the Walker family. They’ve been distilling since 2007 and slowly gaining a cult following in the past few years for their bold, sweet and smokey single malts.
The expression we chose for this list is their second ever release, named after an infamous inspector who hunted down illicit distillers in the area in the late 19th century. Leave it to Aussie distillers to be cheeky like that. They know who they are and the history of where the traditions came from.
If you find yourself driving down towards the Twelve Apostles one weekend, we highly suggest you take some time out to visit their scenic little operation. Just don’t plan on driving too soon after tasting. Most of their expressions are best tasted at cask strength! (Over 50% ABV)
Newest Distiller in Victoria:
Chiefs Son’s – 900 Standard
The new kid on the Austrlian whisky block, Chief Sons may have only just released their first expressions seven weeks ago however they have been quietly perfecting their craft for many generations now. This family owned and run distillery are passionate about their Scottish heritage. So passionate in fact that they managed to win themselves a trip to Scotland in a 25 words or less competition (proving that people can actually win those things), a trip that would kick start their whisky making career. Even the 900 in our recommended whisky’s name pays homage to their family heritage as it represents the number of years since their name, McIntosh, was established.
This passion flows through to their whisky making. They have taken an all-natural, handcrafted approach utilising artisan ingredients and a small batch, manual process.
Chiefs Sons distillery is near Rye in the Mornington Peninsula and they’re open Friday to Sunday, and Wednesday and Thursday by appointment. Let us know what you think!
If you want to get involved with World Whisky Day, check out our event. Tickets are nearly sold out so get in quick for our World Whisky Day VIP Tasting.