A first for the singlemalt club, we are this months going to sample a whisky made on our very own shores. Andy and I have been very keen to sample a home-grown drop, and we look forward to hearing our members feedback.
Heres a few words on the whisky from the makers themselves.
While the cat was away the mice did play and malt whisky aficionados should be very grateful. While Robert Hill Smith was on a little sabbatical leave, the production director of S. Smith& Son Pty Ltd, Peter Wall, grew nostalgic about an old pot still which was scheduled to be decommissioned. Wall remembered the days long gone when distilling brandy was a major activity and thought a few final charges would be a fitting farewell for the still originally installed in 1931. Smith's 7 Year Old Angaston Single Malt Whisky, vintage 1997, is the result.
With 18,000 litres of double strength malt extract made from Tasmanian Franklin barley, courtesy of brewers Max and Bill Cooper, and a little advice from the Scottish distillers of Glengoyne Malt, the brew was fermented in the Angaston cellars. Stillman David Zimmerman fired up the old boiler and the magnificent copper pot still that had been idle since 1983. A combination of primary and double distillation techniques was used to distil the spirit into heads, hearts and tails fractions which were meticulously, if somewhat clandestinely, tasted to identify the best for the assembly of a full flavoured whisky with a generous proportion of aromatic esters.
On 28 March 1997, 131 litres of heads, 2010 litres of heart and 161 litres of tails was mixed with 531 litres of local rainwater to produce a blend at 56.8% alcohol by volume. Nine hogsheads - four old sherry, two one year old French, two one year old American and one new American, were purloined from the Yalumba winery for the aging process. On 5 July 2004 the 7 year old blend was assembled and broken down to a strength of 40%.
Robert Hill Smith was eventually let in on the secret. "Madness is alive and well," is his message on the back label of the finished product. "Enjoy our madness."
Colour: Medium gold
Nose: Hay, toffee, vanilla.
Palate: Light and delicate, with hints of vanilla, nuts and sweet malt.
Finish: Clean, sweet
Vaguely reminiscent of an unpeated Irish whiskey. - Willie Simpson, Sydney Morning Herald
Fancy a wee dram? Smiths Angaston is currently !