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Manly Spirits' Coastal Stone Element Series and the Italian Luxe Trio

Well, this one has been a long time in the making…

Manly Spirits and their quality gins have been on our radar for the longest time and we have been making a beeline every time we discovered a booth of theirs at gin tasting conventions.

Needless to say, when we learned about Manly Spirits having released their very own single malt whisky brand, i.e. what has become known as the ‘Coastal Stone’ Element Series, it was high time to zero in on their endeavours.

Comprised of five unique and distinct whisky styles from five different casks, the Coastal Stone Element Series started out with a Sherry cask style, with the remaining expressions, i.e. shiraz, port, bourbon, port and pinot meant to be released over the next couple of months, with the common denominator being that the first fill casks have matured for an average of four years with the barrel selection from Tasmania and South Australia having been informed by Scottish policies. The nomenclature of the series is a telling one as the casks have intentionally been exposed to the unique climate, the maritime elements and raw nature of Sydney’s Northern beaches, with the ingredients sourced locally, thereby adding a distinct grain to glass approach.

The first expression of the Coastal Stone Element Series I got to acquaint myself with was the Sherry cask, the bouquet of which tingled my nostrils with cherry, rich dark cocoa tinged notes and cinnamon spicy highlights courtesy of the Seppeltsfield first-fill Apera and Sherry Casks.

What was promised on the nose, was continued on the palate with especially the cherry and chocolate nuances materializing on the top of the mouth with an elegant viscosity, backed by dark fruity flavours and a welcome dose of vanilla.

The elongated finish meanders between stone fruity and oaky territory before culminating where the journey started, i.e. dark chocolate.

Next up was the Bourbon Cask expression, which won me over straight upon uncorking.

On the palate, things open up and while vanilla still takes on centre stage, it is flanked by apple, borderline cidery, warm honeyed notes, before being rounded out by a sweet and oily finish, set against an interestingly oaky and leathery component.

A well rounded early highlight with an immense level of depth and a perfect companion for a boilermaker in combination with a Mountain Culture Red IIPA.

While I find the Pinot and Shiraz expressions intriguing , the highlight of the wine casks informed variants was the Seppeltsfield Tawny Port casks based Pavlovian response evoking Port expression.

At cask strength, this little number is a tour de force in vibrancy:

An orangey, creamily sweet nose opens up a spectrum that ranges from stone fruity nuances to cherries and vanilla cake, which with the first sip seamlessly transitions onto the palate by adding peppery and nutmeggy highlights that sit against a backdrop of a foundation comprised of raisings and bourbon vanilla.

The beautiful, near endless finish leaves one lusting for another dram with its tannic and sweet highlights that reverberate and linger with spicy remnants. A hell of a delicious dessert dram.

My only grievance with the Element series was that due to having had mini samples, I had yet to encounter Coastal Stone’s award winning designer bottles, which are fabled to have eroded contours of weathered cliffs and capped with a sandstone stopper, however, that was rectified via a dinner as part of Sydney’s Whisky Week, which was kicked off with a dinner celebrating Manly Spirits Co.’s recent release of its outstanding Coastal Stone Italian Luxe Trio – three Australian single malt whiskies that have been matured in ex-Italian wine varietal barrels from Australian Winery Mino & Co.

Marrying the best the realms of whisky and wine have to offer, what has been created with Coastal Stone’s Italian Luxe Trio is much more than the mere sum of the individual parts, which was further enhanced by how thought through the food pairings were curated in a bid to unlock the respective whisky’s versatility.

Having been eased into proceedings with an expertly made Manhattan

cocktail on arrival, a dram of Coastal Stone’s Nor’easter was proffered, which was an excellent choice as the welcoming nature of rich dark fruits, five spice, and a finish rich finish with chocolatey highlights and tannins set the tone for what was to come.

The first cab off the rank as far as the Italian Luxe Trio was concerned was the Sangiovese Cask Whisky expression.

Now, if you are remotely into wine, you might concur that Sangiovese is quite a versatile variety, the breadth of which has something for everyone. Ranging from earthy wines with firm tannins to drops on the fruitier end – Sangiovese runs the whole gamut of flavours.

With the dram on offer, aromas indicated from the get go that things were going to be on the citrussy, fruity and floral end of the spectrum, which was confirmed with what materialized on the palate as strawberry notes are pierced with tart highlights and interesting sour tinges, backed by orange blossom, vanilla and figs on the palate, coating every aspect of it with its delicate creaminess.

With the finish culminating in a pronounced cinnamon spice crescendo, it proved to be the ideal companion to the first course, i.e. charcuterie and mezze.

Next up was a course of Montepulciano Cask Whisky paired with Mascarpone Ravioli with Sage and Beurre Noisette.

With qualities imbued from the dark, rich, intense and brooding appeal Montepulciano wines are known for, hints of forest fruits and cherries tickled the nostrils upon approach.

On the palate, this little number knew to win me over with its beautifully generous fruit flavours, including red plum, sour cherry, boysenberry, as long as chocolate along with its moderate acidity, which seamlessly transitioned into an elongated rich, custard creamy finish.

So far, so good.

However, the highlight was yet to come as the main of Balsamic and Rosemary Marinated Porterhouse with Frites was paired with Coastal Stone Whisky’s Aglianico Cask expression.

While the nose promised honeyed toffee notes with floral nuances, the strikingly savoury flavours of leather, white pepper, black fruits and soft dusty aromas of dried figs won me over instantaneously.

With a savoury finish that is enhanced by its silky smooth body, honeyed nuts and a nicely balanced melange of earthy, ferrous, smoky notes dancing with red florals and small red berry fruit notes, it left me lusting for another dram.

Finishing with Tiramisu paired with Coastal Stone’s Port Cask, the reverberating rich qualities of which have been fabled about earlier in this piece, the evening, which was moderated expertly by brand ambassador Maurizio Furiani and the good cheer of Manly Spirits founders and Vanessa and David Whittaker, ended on a high note.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Manly Spirits.


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