Chris Malcolm is the former Executive Chairman of Lark, former CEO of Australian Whisky Holdings and is now Chairman of the Spirits Advisory Board at Mighty Craft, so he knows a thing or two about Australian whisky.

He recently spoke to The Shout about being at the helm of AWH when the Nant Barrel Investment Scheme collapsed, but he also spoke about the exciting future for Australia’s whisky industry and that he sees it going in two directions.

“I see traditional whisky,” he said, “if you think about that, look at Sullivan’s Cove. That’s a traditional world whisky made in Australia. It’s high quality, a really good whisky, but it’s traditional. Then you look at some of the brands that are really new world.

“You’ve got to say Top Shelf’s Ned’s is a lot new world in what they are doing, as well with Grainshaker and all the things they are bringing out. If you look at say Hellyers Road, again that’s a traditional world whisky, but you see people who are more innovative such as Spring Bay and they are doing some really good things.”

He added: “If you look at Seven Seasons, well that is absolutely new world.”

Malcolm told The Shout that he is also involved with several cooperage and barrel supply businesses and they are working with distilleries to help create new world Australian whisky.

“A barrel creates about 70 per cent of the quality and flavour of whisky so you’ve got to understand the barrel and you’ve got to have access to the best barrels. Right now we are very close to putting a product together for Daniel Motlop at Seven Season, and that’s to create a paperbark whisky.

“We’ve been experimenting for over six months, looking at various treatments of barrel and we have run trials using paperbark from Arnhem Land. The aroma, the smell that we are getting with that is just amazing. When Daniel first smelled the barrel he said ‘that smells like home’ he was just ecstatic.

“We have still got some work to do to get it to perfection, but we will be able to have a paperbark whisky and that is new world, that is unique. So I definitely see a future for two strains of Australian whisky; you’ve got high-quality traditional Scottish-style whisky made in Australia, from companies like Overeem, Hellyers Road, Sullivan’s Cove and then there are companies like Seven Seasons and that is also high quality, but that is very much new world.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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