We are taking you on the journey of release ND28.
If you have been following us for a while you will be aware that we mature our whisky in small casks. This maturation method, although more costly, delivers amazing whisky. This is due to our quality new make spirit having a greater ratio of wood to interact with. However, each small cask will deliver different characters to the whisky.
Casks can be released as either Single Cask expressions or casks can be combined. The later is the case where we identify different but complimentary characters in casks that together enhance the qualities of each other.
Which brings us to Cask 28 and Cask 31.
Both were American Oak ex bourbon casks. The same types of casks are favoured by Scottish distilleries and over 90% of Scotch whisky is matured in ex-bourbon casks. Generally, they produce a whisky that is golden in colour and has sweet vanilla and caramel notes.
Cask 28 was filled on 29 Jan 2018. It was a warm but muggy working day with a top temp of 25C and showers on and off. If we had caught the local news, it would have been about Senator Jacquie Lambie hitting out at the major parties (we notice she is still doing that).
Cask 31 was filled on 5 March 2018. It was cooler in the distillery with a top of 18C and immunization was in the news. But back then it was about getting vaccine into the iconic Tasmanian Devil.
Fast forward to August 2020 and we were working under COVID restrictions and Tasmania’s borders were closed. We assessed the whisky in both these casks and while the general characteristics of an ex-bourbon cask were evident and the individual casks had notes that combined delightfully for a Dual Cask release, we felt it slightly lacked the complexity we want and enjoy and that is identifiable in all our whiskies.
For two months we challenged our taste buds and olfactory senses and finally agreed that the missing notes we were after (a richer and fuller mouthfeel and subtle tannin) are more evident in ex wine casks.
We certainly didn’t feel the whisky needed a big hit of those notes. Our Distiller/Whisky Production Manager, Chris, settled on a 40 liter ex red wine cask that we had recently emptied of the whisky we had matured in it and the contents of Casks 28 and 31 found a new home in that.
For nine months Chris monitored the development of this whisky before he was happy that it had filled out and was now the complex, balanced and smooth expression that met our benchmark.
The DOUBLE CASK designation recognizes the two different prior fill cask types. The initial ex-bourbon casks and ex-red wine finishing cask.
At a robust 46% a.b.v. the whisky delivers a great experience and doesn’t lose any of its attributes with the addition of ice or a drop of water.