On tasting: The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey, Archie Rose Sandigo Heritage Rye Whisky
I received a phone call from a senior whisky industry figure the other day. It was a worried, fearful phone call – feelings we’re all pretty familiar with right now. It was about Australian whisky, how some distilleries are struggling, how cash flow is a problem. Large debt’s a problem. It’s hard to sell whisky once the first few releases are out the door – that’s becoming a problem.
There’s too much overpriced whisky, there’s no scalability, the caller said. I rarely see Australian whisky in normal bars, he told me, or even getting poured in dedicated whisky bars.
Add the COVID-19 crisis, and this senior industry figure was wondering if a number of Australian whisky producers might go under.
I listened intently, told him I know these issues need to be worked out, and that there’s some seriously difficult times ahead, but that ultimately, I’m still incredibly positive about the future of the industry. Whiskies like the two reviewed here drive that belief.
For quality, consistency and value for money, some of the Australian rye and mixed grain whiskies released in the last 12 months have blazed a new trail. The philosophy and methodology behind their approach is not particularly complicated, either.
What The Gospel Distillers, Archie Rose, and many others, have done, is create affordable, approachable Australian whisky. It’s consistently available, displays distinct distillery character, has a sense of place, talks up the grains it’s made from, and achieves impeccable balance between spirit and oak. It tastes bloody good, too.
It’s whisky you’re happy to pour freely for friends and family, have on hand as a regular go to, and heaven forbid, mix in cocktails!
It’s whisky that gets back to what whisky is about – sharing. And in our current climate, we could definitely use more of that. Less hoarding, less fear-mongering. More sharing, more understanding, more enjoyment. So let’s keep calm, support those in need, grab a local whisky or two, and let’s share it around (the whisky and the hope, I mean, not the virus).