STREWTH! Australians have confounded the critics to produce a fine dram that has been included in this year’s prestigious Whisky Bible.
In a country better known for its love of beer, Southern Coast Distillers in Adelaide has won plaudits for the quality of its spirit since releasing the first batch last year. But its inclusion in the UK’s highly respected Whisky Bible puts the Australian whisky on a par with some of Scotland’s single malts.
In the new edition of the whisky lovers’ guide, author Jim Murray wrote: “One of the most astonishing whiskies it has been my honour to taste. Frankly I am on my knees”.
According to Murray, Southern Coast’s whisky with its unusual “rum nose” was indicative of the unique type of spirit that has been produced by Australian distilleries in recent years.
“It blew me all ways because I’ve never come across it before,” he said. “It’s got to a stage where what I’ve got to build into my diary for the next six months is a trip to Australia, because, style-wise, what is happening there is astonishing.”
Iain Schmidt, co-founder of Southern Coast, said the Mediterranean climate of Adelaide has proved to be both a challenge and contributory factor to their whisky’s character: “We get temperature variations between 15C and 45C here, which does interesting things to the ageing.
“We were storing it on a mezzanine floor in my factory, and I came in last weekend and the place was smelling just magnificent, which in fact was a bit of a disaster because it meant we were getting more than our fair share of ‘Angel’s Share’ evaporation from the casks.
“We’ve now moved our casks to a mountain range behind Adelaide to get a more stable environment.”