Archie Rose have released one of the first all-malt Australian whiskeys with a RRP below $85, the Archie Rose Double Malt.
The Double Malt is the third instalment in Archie Rose’s Fundamental Spirits range, which aims to provide high-quality Australian spirits at an accessible price point.
Archie Rose founder Will Edwards explained that the goal of the Fundamentals range is to champion local spirits within the Australian market.
“For us, it took us almost a decade to do, but it’s about creating a range of fundamental spirits – vodka, gin, whiskey were the ones we originally envisaged – that, from both price point and the flavour profile, are accessible enough to get into the rail, get onto people’s bar carts, actually be consumed consistently, in a scalable fashion, particularly for whiskey. Because one of the other challenges besides price point for Australian whiskey is consistency and availability,” Edwards said.
Creating the malt blend for the Double Malt was a balancing act between maintaining quality and ensuring the products was accessible. It is a blend of rye and barley malts which have been distilled in traditional copper pot stills, then matured in Australian apera, sherry, bourbon, and virgin American oak casks. The finished product brings together the fruitiness of malted rye, the rich aromas of the apera casks, vanilla notes from the American oak and the sweetness of local malted barley.
Many of the malts in the Double Malt are the same as Arche Rose’s Single Malt, with the exception of a few of lower yielding malts such as chocolate malt. The focus on higher-yielding malts is a key contributor to the Double Malt’s relatively low price point, while still resulting in a quality whiskey.
“We can make way cheaper whiskey, but we just wouldn’t release it. You can make it cheaper, I just wouldn’t think it’d be good enough. The malts that are going into [the Double Malt] as the same malts that are going into the core Single Malt, it’s just not the ones that are crazy expensive, like the chocolate,” said Edwards.
In part, the name of the Double Malt references the use of both rye and barley malts, which have been combined in a solera.
“It’s about versatility. That’s why the rye and barley came together. Rather than make what would effectively be another single malt whiskey, because all the spirits are from the site in Banksmeadow, bringing the rye in makes it much more versatile. You can then play in those American whiskey drink spaces as well, where you typically use a bourbon or rye,” Edwards described.
“If you just make a really great, more accessible single malt, you’re still cutting yourself off from a whole part of the drinks market that then won’t have an Australian whiskey to go to,” he added.
Additionally, the Double Malt is more suited to the warmer months than other whiskeys in the Archie Rose portfolio.
“In terms of the whiskey portfolio that we do have, I would say this one is the most suited to all year round or particularly summer drinking, because it is a little lighter, it is a little lower ABV, it is a little more versatile. You can mix it in cocktails, mixed drinks, whatever you want to do,” Edwards noted.
Edwards is particularly enthusiastic about seeing more Australian spirits in the on-premise.
“Generally speaking, the trade is so supportive of local spirits, but it’s just a commercial reality that you can’t put an $80 retail, an $80 gin into a rail,” he said.
Head distiller Dave Withers explained that the Double Malt’s versatility is a benefit to the on-premise.
“We want this to be a hard working spirit. We want this to appear in cocktails, in mixed drinks, we want it to be served as a neat pour,” he said.
Locally produced spirits have an added interest for the growing number of consumers concerned about sustainability.
“There’s all the other elements in terms of like sustainability, where you’re not shipping it in from the other side of the world. A lot of the big brand vodka and gin, to varying degrees, is made here […] but with whiskey that’s not the case. It’s all shipped in. You’ve got that sustainability of having it made here, and not all those miles getting to Australia,” Edwards explained.
Edwards is hopeful that Australian beverages will begin to take a larger share in the spirits market over the coming years.
“At the end of the day, the fundamental goal is to get as many people drinking Australian spirits as possible,” he concluded.