Here's some notes from an upcoming publication I'm working on. Might give some of you an idea what's going on downunder.
1998 Smith's Single Malt Whisky Aged 8 Years
Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia.
Very pale straw colour with water like hue. Delicate nose - passionfruit, citrus fruits above a malty background. Subtle spice end note. Medium bodied malty palate. Pristinely clean and soft delivering ample fresh ripe fruit above a layer of dry biscuit/bread. Excellent balance. Very clean, soft finish. Long passionfruit and grapefruit aftertaste. A terrific interpretation of a clean 'Highland' style. At peak. French, American, & Sherry casks employed. Outstanding value 40.0% Alc./Vol.
1997 Smith's Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky Aged 12 Years
Angaston, Barossa Valley, South Australia.
Straw colour with water like hue. At natural strength: Restrained malty top note above a of hint mandarin and grapefruit, exotic spice end note. The palate is assertive, the prickle is acceptable, lovely warm oily texture. Generous, mouth filling spicy, dried fruit flavours initially before the whisky grips and takes on a much drier savoury tone. Firm dry finish, long bready aftertaste. The addition of water indicates that chill filtration has not been employed. Restrained aromas of banana bread, dried fruits and spice dominant, a hint of pumpernickel. Luscious ripe fruits flow freely from front to back, the spice providing an interesting sideshow. Warm spicy finish. Dryish ripe fruit aftertaste. Certainly improves with water. While very appealing, the oak and fruit characteristics seem to be at odds with each other. 325 bottles produced. 53.6% Alc./Vol.
Tasmania Distillery Sullivan's Cove Rare Australian Double Cask Single Malt Whisky
As required, Distiller, Patrick Maguire selects a single cask of ex-Bourbon and ex-Port matured whisky, aged a minimum of seven years, for vatting and bottling as 'Double Cask.' This process lends itself to some variation between batches. Frustratingly, batch numbers are not recorded on the bottle. Very pale straw colour with water like hue. Vanilla, cocoa, toffee and spice top note, subtle hint of liquorice and pepper. Supple entry, delivering chocolate, vanilla and honey flavours over a delicate background of spicy plum pudding. The Port matured compontent contributing the latter, along with a firmish mouthfeel. Very nicely structured whisky. Perfect balance. Soft vanilla driven finish. Ample aftertaste of vanilla, cocoa and honey. An excellent product produced by sound cask selection and excellent distillation practises. 40.0% Alc./Vol.
Great Southern Distilling Company Limeburner's Single Malt Whisky Barrel M15
Albany, Western Australia
Dull gold colour with water like hue. Expressive, fresh florals, mixed peel, and toffee above characteristics above a distinctive exotic spicy background. The palate reflects the nose to perfection. Almost voluptuous in texture, delivering, vibrant, fresh citrus and apricot backed by pepperberry, treacle, and cinnamon. Gentle prickle. Very well balanced. Terrific oak & fruit integration. Ripe fruits continue into the long aftertaste. 43.0% Alc./Vol. Past bottling.
Great Southern Distilling Company Limeburner's Single Malt Whisky Barrel M6
Albany, Western Australia
Straw colour with very pale straw hue. At room temperature, the nose is very disappointing, particularly considering the quality of previous releases. It shows simple floral and spice characteristics. The palate is very straightforward, slightly sweet and spicy. Otherwise uninspiring. Particularly disappointing given the recent price rise. Whisky can appear to be muted and dull, infrequently, but often enough to recognise it and attempt to find a remedy. This sometimes happens through the addition of water, covering the glass and letting the whisky sit, or through warmth. Warmth can be applied a number of ways. The most obvious method is to use body warmth, hold the bowl of the glass and the whisky more often than not will gently unfold. The less obvious, but more extreme method is to run the outside of the glass under some hot water, while the whisky is inside. M6 after such treatment, whilst the whisky is warm, the nose offers an astonishing, perfumed array of fresh spices, which charge through the palate, offering a booming finish and dominating the exceptionally long aftertaste. Once the whisky cools back down to room temperature, the show is over. Much more astute cask selection is required to justify this price point, and to capture the market's attention. We know this distillery is capable of much better outcomes and look forward to future releases. 43.0% Alc./Vol.
Hellyer's Road Original Single Malt Whisky
Very pale straw colour with water like hue. An enticing nose. Primarily fresh, ripe fruits -Peach and cantaloupe above citrus, vanilla shortbread and honey. The palate is stunning. A rich, creamy texture delivers wave upon wave of ripe fruits above vanilla and spice. Texture, delivery, balance all superb. Drink up! Outstanding value for money. 46.2% Alc./Vol.
Hellyer's Road Slightly Peated Single Malt Whisky
Very pale straw colour with water like hue. The malty nose shows notes of grapefruit, prune and raisin toast above honey and vanilla. Rich chewy entry, very malty, grapefruit, prune and camphor above savoury biscuit background. Excellent balance, texture and delivery. A touch of salt and smoke emerges on the back palate and plays second fiddle during the aftertaste, complementing the spicy raisin toast notes. Australia's answer to Highland Park. 46.2% Alc./Vol.
Hellyer's Road Peated Single Malt Whisky
Produced from imported peated malt. Pale straw colour with water like hue. The nose is very similar to those of Islay. Fresh peat smoke, salt, kelp, liquorice, honey, vanilla buttermenthol. A drop of water reveals a layer of fresh apples, very 'Ardbeggian.' The palate is again, very rich and plush. Smoky, salty flavours hover above a subtle layer of apple and cinnamon, the sweetness from the peat very evident. Long smoky apple and spice aftertaste. An astonishingly good tribute to Islay. 46.2% Alc./Vol.
Hellyer's Road Original Single Malt Whisky Pinot Noir Finish
Straw colour with water like hue. Floral top note above raisins, chocolate and barley sugar. The palate is a driven by cherry chocolate and dry cocoa, vanilla and honey in the background. Very generously textured and pristinely balanced. Very long cherry chocolate, vanilla and spice aftertaste. An unusual whisky, yet immensely appealing. 46.2% Alc./Vol.
Timboon Distillery Single Malt Whisky - Pre release sample. 25 ltr port barrel - Tasted Sept 2009
Deep gold colour with pale gold hue. Lifted notes of marzipan, pepper, spice and talc on the nose. The palate is rich, bold and flavoursome even at natural strength the whisky is remarkably well balanced, despite the anaesthetising effects of the extremely high alcohol. Definitely one for the spittoon! The addition of water to around 45-50% alcohol exposes chocolate and honeycomb, exotic spice, a touch of mint, cedar, marzipan and raisin. The palate is rich and robust, delivering huge chocolate and raisin toast, marzipan, manuka honey and spice flavours with a gentle prickle. Very long raisin and spice aftertaste. The influence of the 25 litre barrel is really felt, despite the whisky being very young, small cask port maturation tends to happen very quickly. This whisky is rapidly reaching it's peak. An outstanding debut. Watch this space! 69.9% Alc./Vol.
The Lark Distillery Single Cask Single Malt Whisky LD 88 Future Release
Pale straw colour with water like hue. Distinctive orange rind top note above toffee and lark's trademark exotic spice. Chocolate and orange drive the palate with a creamy texture and background of exotic spice. A hint of mint emerges towards the finish, and persists into the long spicy dried fruit aftertaste. Exceptional balance. 43.0% Alc./Vol.
The Lark Distillery Single Cask Single Malt Whisky LD 39
Golden colour with pale straw hue. A delightful, exotic nose, that requires some gentle coaxing to really blossom. Gentle agitation in the glass, warm it up in your hands, or, add a drop of water, whatever your preference. Some may like to do all three, regardless, the effort well and truly justifies the rewards. Top notes of heavily malted hot chocolate, mandarine, then faint hints of liquorice and spicy plum pudding hover above a distinct spicy layer of anise, fenugreek, turmeric and pepper. The palate delivers a big, richly textured, almost oily mouthfeel. Intense, yet balanced. Flavours take time to wake up, then build into a rich, deep, heavily fruited 'malt bomb', delivering strong port cask influenced flavours of spicy plum pudding, raisins and mixed peel, before giving way to the liquorice and spice lurking underneath. Long spicy plum aftertaste. 43.0% Alc./Vol.
The Lark Distillery Single Cask Single Malt Whisky LD 93 Future Release.
Deep straw colour with pale straw hue. The nose is quite restrained and simple without water. However, adding a few drops of water reveals lifted spicy marmalade and liquorice top notes, Indian spices and a delicate hint of marzipan. The palate is enormous. A big assertive whisky, the malt roars through the palate, spice, spice and more spice, the fruits struggle to get a look in. Very long dry finish. Spicy plum and marmalade aftertaste. A heroic whisky, thrills and spills from start to finish. 58% Alc/Vol.
The Lark Distillery Single Cask Single Malt Whisky LD 75
Gold colour with pale straw hue. An intense sniff! Assertive notes of salty nuts, plum jam, vanilla, liquorice, manuka honey, orange and grapefruit, above fenugreek, tumeric, pepper and anise. The palate is enormous with a rich, almost oily texture, this time contrasted by tannin from barrel, providing an interesting sideshow to the astonishing array of exotic spices that roar through the palate. The fruits and nuts promised by the nose fight for recognition, and for brief moments, succeed, only to again succumb to the tidal wave of spice. An essay in balance, thrillseekers can safely imbibe without the addition of water. Exceptionally long aftertaste, which again features fruits and nuts early, before being bowled over by the spice. 58.0% Alc./Vol.