In every distillery there is a special feeling about the first cask that is filled. It was no different at Nonesuch Distillery.
We knew that the making of the whisky and filling Cask 1 would result in really special memories for us so we decided that the whisky -
After a lot of debate and even more research the decision was made to create a spirit that would, in effect, be a high quality "Bourbon". That demanded a grain mix of corn, malted barley and rye.
One drawback that worried us was that term Bourbon is a trade protected term and cannot be used unless the whisky is made in the United States.
But (as Shakespeare wrote) "What's in a name?"
We decided to concentrate on making the best "bourbon-like" whisky possible and to worry later on about what to call it .
Frustratingly, we soon discovered that when using a high ratio of corn (our recipe required 72% corn), the mash process required equipment that was more specialised than we had in our little distillery.
That threatened to derail our plan. But just down the road was the amazing craft beer producer Double Head Brewing owned and operated by the talented Ty and Amanda Capaci.
As a modern brewery Double Head Brewing had just the equipment needed and, as happens in our wonderful community, they came to our rescue.
Ty and Amanda changed their own production schedule and they brewed and fermented a wash for us using our grain recipe.
It is not overstating the case to say this whisky would not have seen the light of day without Ty and Amanda.
This is the only time Nonesuch has not produced its own wash and, due to the loss of Ty and the subsequent closure of Double Head, this particular whisky cannot and will not ever be reproduced.
So, back to the question "what would we call this whisky style in Australia?"
We have decided on the term "Single Grain".
Single refers to whisky from a single distillery and Grain refers to the use of a mix of cereal grains.
We have distilled this whisky in our bespoke copper pot still and that results in a whisky filled with character and flavour.
The Cask 1 Whisky is -
All our whiskies are special in some way to us here at Nonesuch. There is usually a memory associated with each one. Maybe that memory is about distilling the spirit with a great guest or a memory a joke shared during the mash-in. Sometimes it is a memory of what was happening somewhere in the world as we distilled or something taking place outside the distillery on Rayburn Farm.
Memories of the talented Ty and the big-heartedness of him and Amanda, the fact that this was our first cask and that it tastes amazing makes this whisky really special to us.
Now we have to convince our founder, Rex, to release it and not consign it all to his own personal stock.
Keep an eye on the Nonesuch newsletter for updates. We trust you will bear with us as we work on Rex and also work out the fairest way of releasing what is a very distinctive and very special batch of Nonesuch Whisky.
Many of the visitors to our distillery have commented along the lines of "I would love to do what you do" so we thought "why not?" and set about making it possible for them to experience a day in the distillery.
More than a tour, this experience puts participants right in the midst of the production of either a craft gin or Whisky.
This experience is certainly one for the bucket list or it is a unique and amazing gift for anyone interested in learning how small batch, craft spirits are produced.
For more information or to book click here
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)
Nose + Appearance: It has a bright ruby colour, with an appealing hint of maraschino cherry on the nose that lingers well.
Tasting (slightly chilled served neat): the flavours are very forward on the palette, not overly sweet with a quite clean + dry finish. Not a rich liqueur experience such as you get from a fortified spirit, rather this is one of complex spices, with yes, blackberry and sour cherries notes in a spirit that isn’t heavy.
It’s not like a Kirsch liqueur if that’s what you’re thinking, it’s much more lighter and delicate than that without the alcoholic kick.
The Take Home
A delicious and well crafted debut gin from one of our newest distilleries.