In every distillery there is a special feeling about the first cask to be filled. It was no different at Nonesuch Distillery.
We knew that the making of the whisky and filling Cask number 1 would result in really special memories for us.
It was indisputable that the whisky had to meet the high quality that we set for ourselves and, in addition to that, the whisky had to be be something extraordinary and distinctive.
After a lot of debate and even more research the decision was made to create a spirit from a Bourbon recipe passed to us by none other than the godfather of Australian distilling, Bill Lark.
Of course we knew this whisky would not be able to be called Bourbon as that is a trade protected term and cannot be used unless the whisky is made in the United States.
We decided to concentrate on making the best "bourbon-like" whisky possible and to worry about what to call it later.
Producing this whisky (that would be the first of its type created in Tasmania) required a grain mix of corn, malted barley and rye.
To our frustration, 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?"
Bill did suggest "Burdon Whisky" (say it quickly and it sounds close to that protected name) but eventually we decided on the more descriptive name "Nonesuch Single Grain".
Single refers to whisky from a single distillery and Grain refers to the use of a mix of cereal grains.
We distilled this whisky in a traditional batch process in our bespoke copper pot still in the same way we produce Nonesuch Single Malt Whisky. This process resulted in a whisky filled with character and flavour.
Our distillation process was different that used to make grain whiskies in Scotland where they are predominantly produced on an industrial scale in continuous column stills and are most often subsequently blended
The Cask 1 Whisky is -
- (we believe) the first Single Grain, Single Cask whisky produced in Tasmania
- batch distilled in a copper pot still
- a single cask release
- aged in a virgin American Oak cask
- made up of only 44 x 500ml bottles at 48% a.b.v.
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 of a joke shared during the mash-in. Sometimes it is a memory of what was happening somewhere in the world as we distilled or of 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.