Margaret River may already lay claim to some of the world’s best wine and beers, but a local distillery is hoping the region can make a name for itself in the whiskey market shortly.
Earlier this year The Grove Experience laid down Margaret River’s first single malt whiskey, according to the distiller’s head of production Nick Hughes.
“We’ve been wanting to make our own whiskey for at least six or seven years,” Mr Hughes told the Times.
“It’s all a process and we’ve been getting everything in place to make it happen.”
Mr Hughes said creating a successful American-style spirit the past three years was the catalyst for the whiskey venture.
Strict production laws meant barrels could only be used once for the American spirit, but they could be reused to conjure up whiskeys, Mr Hughes said.
He said making the whiskey didn’t present much challenge as there was little crossover between creating different types of spirits.
A former brewer, Mr Hughes said the only difference between making a whiskey and a beer was using different yeasts and not adding hops.
“Our head distiller James Reid has done this for a very, very long time and he’s a fountain of knowledge when it comes to making any alcoholic beverage,” Mr Hughes said.
Mr Hughes was hesitant to forecast a release date for the whiskey, but expected it to stay in barrel for at least three years.
“We don’t want to do that because in our own head, we don’t even know when it could be,” he said.
“It could be affected by the climate. If it’s hot it could speed up the release by six months, but if there’s a cold snap it could take a little longer.”
He said preliminary tastings led the Grove team to believe it would be a winning whiskey.
“We drunk it as it came out the still and it was tasting pretty good then,” Mr Hughes said.
April 30, 2013