The lure of liquid amber

PURE GOLD: Australian whisky is getting world recongiitoin. Picture: Shutterstock.
PURE GOLD: Australian whisky is getting world recongiitoin. Picture: Shutterstock.

There is nothing as satisfying as the first sip of a well-matured whisky on a cold winter evening.

If spirits are not your thing or you have never really been tempted by the lure of a well-made Scotch or Single Malt, then this could be your chance to branch out.

Especially as Australian spirits, and whisky in particular is having a growth spurt.

A report from the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (ADSA) showed that this year alone there were 35 whisky entries from 18 distilleries around Australia.

There are currently 67 distilleries who either currently produce or sell whisky or who have produced their first batch of whisky which is in the process of maturing and will be available soon.

It's the time spent in oak casks that creates those smooth and mellow flavours and three years is considered a minimum time to mature whisky.

More than a third of these producers is located in Tasmania. This proud whisky-producing state has everything you need to make a good whisky. Water, barley and even peat, although it would be different to the original Scottish Highland peats which give their single malts a special flavour.

Grant Coverdale of ADSA said they expected a notable increase in whisky entries in 2020.

GOOD NEWS: The Australian spirits industry is thriving. Picture:Shutterstock.

GOOD NEWS: The Australian spirits industry is thriving. Picture:Shutterstock.

"More of these distilleries will have whisky that has completed maturation and can be released to the market," Grant said.

Tasmania has a claim to being the birthplace of Australian whisky as producer, Bill Lark worked to change the laws regarding whisky production 25 years ago.

In 2014, Sullivans Cove Distillery, French Oak Cask (named after Sullivans Cove) was given the World Whiskies Award for the world's best single malt whisky. It was the first time a distillery outside Scotland or Japan had won the award.

Being part of a new or emerging industry you see it go through different stages of growth. Until it reaches maturity I think we will be living in quite exciting times.

Gareth Andrews of Fleurieu Distillery

And there is no reason why Australian should not be taking its rightful place among the world's leading producers. The principles of distillation have changed little over the past 200 years. All that is needed is water, barley and yeast and modern technology which now aid production.

Gareth Andrews of Fleurieu Distillers has enjoyed good success at ADSA and is a recognised small-scale whisky producer. He said whisky was simultaneously very old and very new.

"It is a spirit that embodies the philosophies of people who make it and a sense of place. We love the fact that there is always room for improvement. Winning accolades is a recognition of decisions made in the past," he said.

The raw materials such as malted barley and the ageing process in oak barrels is what perfects a good whisky.