On tasting: Watkins Whisky Co Single Malt Whisky, Corra Linn Single Malt Whisky (barrel 61), Killara Single Malt Whisky (KD05), Newcastle Distilling Co Victor Hingston Single Malt Whisky, Bellwether Single Malt Whisky 10th Anniversary Release
We often forget how vast this country is. For instance, to visit most of the whisky distilleries scattered across the continent, you’d have to chalk up a ridiculous amount of km’s (trust me, I’ve tried).
That distance has worked wonders for isolating the pandemic. But it’s long been working wonders to create different styles of Australian malt whisky, too.
Head up to Mt Uncle Distillery in far north Queensland, where Watkins Whisky hails from, and the place has created some brilliantly tropical whiskies and rums that are developing serious complexity.
We’re familiar with Tasmania’s malt whisky scene. But even on that ‘small’ island (about the size of Scotland), there are new concepts emerging, and the likes of Kristy Booth-Lark and Killara (reviewed below) will play an influential role in the evolution of the industry. The north of the state is now home to a number of up-and-coming distillers as well, and Corra Linn’s malt whiskies are at the forefront (see one of their first releases below).
And for movement, look no further than Newcastle Distilling Co. The Victor Hingston malt reviewed here started its life in Cooma, spent some time maturing in the ACT, and then finally ended up in its present home in Newcastle before being launched into the world.
Bellwether single malt has also been on the move. While the 10th anniversary bottling we’ve tasted hails from Myalup, just over an hour south of Perth, Steve Ryan, the owner and distiller, has recently shifted to a new shared site in Fremantle (Union Brewery & Distillery) to bring his beers and single malts closer to the action.
I can’t tell you how cathartic it was reviewing these whiskies over the last few days, stuck in cold, locked-down Melbourne. Who knows what the next few weeks will hold. But the flavours, the ideas, the people, the places… while we’re cut off down here, there are still ways to travel.