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Water of Life - Cut Hill Distillery

Founded by a conglomerate of motivated beverage industry professionals, Cut Hills Distillery set out to not merely build on the foundations of the qualities that Australian whiskey has become known and appreciated for and creating their own contemporary take on classic styles, but pro-actively paving the way for the pushing the envelope further by honouring traditional methods as well as employing modern technologies.

Cut Hill Distllery’s first forays into the world of producing their own drops started with an initial release program, which was comprised of multiple, private cask bottlings in a bid to bridge the time before their first own releases.

My first exposure to Cut Hill was via its Private Barrel Series Wine Cask, which as the name would suggest, takes advantage of the barrels sourced from South Australia’s widely recognized Barossa and McLaren Vale wine regions, which previously held a range of characteristic red wine varietals.

On approach, the nostrils are tickled by hints of cherry, winey and sweet aromas, backed by blueberry, grassy and apple nuances backed by the faintest hints of spicy, clove eugenol nuances.

On the top of the mouth, we enter sweet, buttery flavours informed by vanilla, honey and rum, which are further accentuated by delicately calibrated sour and slightly tannic highlights.

The medium length finish culminates in oaky highlights and reverberates with welcome, warming hints of char.

Summa summarum, clocking in at a relatively tame ABV of 43%, this little number is a great starting point for wine lovers looking to broaden their horizon and embark into whiskey territory.

Taking things up a notch or two is Cut Hill Distillery’s Fortified Cask expression, which lives up to its name from the get go as what materializes on the nose, catapults us into woody, piny territory, accompanied by equally sweet and tarty notes rounded out with a characteristic almond nuance.

What the nose promised is seamlessly transitioned onto the palate, where a rich avalanche of fruit-forward flavours reminiscent of Amaretto-like honeyed vanilla and biscuity, dulce de leche sapors.

The elongated finish concludes with brown sugary coca notes backed by the warm spicy and slightly astringency of nutmeg and cloves, resulting in quite an indulgent affair that makes this expression a borderline ideal dessert dram.

Given the quality of the aforementioned first two expressions and their wine barrel based approach, I cannot wait to experience Cut Hill Distillery trying its hand at channelling its alchemy in mead cask and cask strength expressions.

On the gin side of things, Cut Hill created their own idiosyncratic take on the traditional dry style with their Lost Phoenix Australian Dry Gin.

Based on a foundation of grain spirit and infused with botanicals grown on their own turf, i.e. a melange of pepperberry, lemon myrtle and peppercorns, the focus is firmly set on paying homage to South Australia and all that is has to offer.

Centred around a juniper forward approach, slightly piney flavours with a touch of pepperiness and fruitiness are flanked by citrussy and vegetal-peppery highlights, which reach into grapefruity realms, to then be further accentuated by aromatic menthol notes.

Cut Hill’s Lost Phoenix gin proves to be a great base for a G&T and even holds its own as a straight sipper.


image from company website

T • June 21, 2022

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