The new Red Gum Smoked bottling from Archie Rose sees the Sydney-based distillery use NSW-sourced malt and wood to create a whisky of entirely Australian provenance.
Archie Rose Distilling Co’s Red Gum Smoked Single Malt is the first in a two-part series, and the seventh bottling in its Trials & Exceptions label. The whisky will be available to purchase to winners of an online ballot.
The Archie Rose team believes that this bottling provides a milestone of the Australian whisky industry, representing a smoked style of whisky made using Australian ingredients, as opposed to importing peated barley from Scotland.
Archie Rose Master Distiller, Dave Withers, explains: “We were dragging this grain halfway across the world to be used in an Australian whisky, which just didn’t feel quite right, both from a from provenance, and a sustainability perspective.
“We saw an opportunity to create an Australian smoke malt, which would showcase the great Australian scent of barbeque or campfire smoke.”
The whisky has been made with malted barley provided by Voyager Craft Malt, a Riverina-based maltings that specialises in producing small batch, single origin barley.
“After a number of conversations with our mates a Voyager, they agreed to support us in establishing a series of dedicated Australian native wood smoke malt trials,” says Withers.
“This release is the product of two of those trials.”
Archie Rose places a great emphasis on the importance of the malt used to the final whisky, as the distillery’s Founder, Will Edwards, explains: “We are proudly an Australian distillery and when we started out, many of the unique malts we wanted to use in our whiskies were either not grown and malted in Australia or were not available in sufficient quantities.
“This [release] is a prime example of how we strive to, with Australian maltsters and farmers, develop new malts to push the boundaries of whisky production, improve sustainability by not shipping in foreign malt from around the world, and showcase the best of what Australia has to offer.”
Indeed, this dram is made using no less than five different malt varieties: local amber malt, local chocolate malt, light crystal malt, aromatic roasted malt and finally, local red gum smoked pale malt.
When making this whisky, the distillery has used its unique ‘individual malt stream’ process, which sees each malt milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged entirely separately. This system allows the production team to tailor every step of the process to the specific malt – including selection of yeast, cask type and location in the warehouse.
In this regard, Archie Rose is at the very cutting edge of the art of whisky-making, with yeast and malt varieties often overlooked by distillers when determining the spirit’s eventual flavour profile.
“It’s a hell of a lot of work, but we do it because it allows us to get the most out of the malt, and really accentuate its key defining features,” Withers says.
“The result is a distinctly Australian whisky, not for the faint-hearted. It has a pronounced level of smoke, with notes of smoked meats and bacon, as well as a strong floral presence with a salty edge.”
A pre-release ballot for Archie Rose Red Gum Smoked Single Malt is open now, and drinkers can sign up to here. The whisky will be available for general release online and at the Cellar Door from February 15, and will be sold in select bars and bottle shops around Australia. RRP is $199, and only 2,005 bottles were produced.