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To say there is an air of excitement at the distillery at the moment would be an understatement of monumental proportion.
The cause of this excitement is the pending release of a product that is complex, intriguing and exclusive to Nonesuch.
The product is Sloe Malt.
You will not find Sloe Malt anywhere else. It is has been developed by our distillery and, while others may seek to imitate, there is only one genuine Sloe Malt.
The making of Sloe Malt begins in the Tasmanian autumn when the frosts begin. At that time we start picking the astringent fruit of the Tree Of Secrets, the Blackthorn. These trees were introduced to Tasmania by early settlers. The tiny blueish/black fruit needs to be carefully handpicked from the thorny trees.
Picking the sloes is an arduous task as they are protected by long nail-hard thorns all along the branches.
Once sorted and rinsed, the fruits are then added to an exceptional Tasmanian unaged malt spirit. This is the same spirit that would in other circumstances be barrel aged and become a malt whisky.
We do not age the malt spirit because we want to preserve the specific malt flavour. Whisky producers want to achieve colour and flavour from the barrel they age their spirit in and they choose barrels that have previously held wine, sherry port or bourbon.
We do not want those flavours or even the oak notes of the barrel. To us it is all about the unadulterated flavour and aroma of the malt spirit and the fruit.
Batch #1 of our Sloe Malt is the result of a process that commenced in Nov 2014 and consists of only 280 bottles.
The colour is a rich, ruby red. The nose is slightly fruity with subtle notes reminiscent of cherry and raspberry along with plenty of malt. So much is happening on the palate. The fruit, while full and flavoursome carries a slight astringency that simply "works" with the malt and lingers on the palate.
Something unique, using Tasmanian malt spirit and a fruit that only grows in any quantity in Tasmania and no other State, produced in very small batches of premium quality. Is it any wonder we are excited?
(Sloe Malt is a Registered Trade Mark of Stillworks Tas Pty Ltd)