There’s some awesome whisky coming out of Australia right now, there’s just no denying that. The industry’s booming at breakneck speed and if we think we’re spoilt for choice now, just wait 10 years once all the new guys have caught up with production. But why Australia? Where did they all come from so suddenly?
It all started 25 years ago in Tassie when Bill Lark decided it was time. An avid whisky drinker himself, on a fishing trip with dram in hand he dared to ask “why not here?” A dream was born, government was lobbied, archaic laws repealed and 20 years later Sullivans Cove was named “World’s Best Single Malt” over the Scots and Japanese. Tasmania is the birthplace of the modern Australian whisky industry and remains the epicentre, with 31 of Australia’s distilleries located on the island, among them some of Australia’s foremost including Sullivans Cove, Lark, Overeem, Hellyers Road, Belgrove and the infamous Nant.
The mainland’s not been backwards in coming forward however, with Starward, arguably the most popular and ubiquitous Aussie whisky, located in Melbourne. Melbourne also boasts Bakery Hill, one of the original five Australian whiskies of the modern era alongside Tasmania’s Lark, Sullivans and Hellyers and WA’s Limeburners. Despite being one of the originals, it’s remained small and their exceptional malts are very hard to find outside of Melbourne.
New boys Tin Shed Distillery and Black Gate Distillery have both established cult followings in a very short time and of course Limeburners, the other granddaddy of the modern era and Australia’s most awarded whisky, has been churning away in Western Australia for the past 13 years, well and truly putting its mark on the industry.
We’ve rounded the twelve essential Aussie malts to kick start your collection. Get your hands on these bottles, you won’t be disappointed, and the best news… as the rest of the guys come into production this list will just keep growing!