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Water of Life – Dugite Whiskey, Limeburners and Finders Distillery

While most of Australian’s distilleries are located on the South Eastern part of terra australis, the ones that are based in Western Australia have set benchmarks in terms of craftmanship when it comes to channelling their unique climate and context into aging outstanding whiskies.

Limeburners is the accolade decorated spearhead of the Western Australian distillery scene and has accomplished the trifecta of provenance by using locally grown grain, Albany water sourced from deep below the distillery and the usage of Australian fortified wine barrels along with American oak bourbon ones.

Sounds like winning combination?

It is.

There is hardly something more satisfying than a dram of Limeburners’ Port Cask Strength expression during the colder months of Australian winter.

Given that the expression is bottled directly from the barrel without further ado, this is as close as it comes to an unaltered drop that showcases the facets that emanate from being matured in a single cask. The dark shade of ruby red derived from the Port cask already gives an indication of the complex and decadent flavours that await:

Think truffled caramel, alcohol soaked raisins along with fine nuances of honeyed orange and apricots. Claiming that this drop is “moreish” would be an understatement par excellence.

Now, if you think that the Port Cask Strength cannot be topped in terms of indulgence, try Limeburners’ Darkest Winter expression.

Clocking in at a whopping 66% ABV, Western Australian peat is what takes things to the next level in this case: Sourced from a local valley, the peat is used to smoke Great Southern barley for an extended period to enhance the flavour profile.

Created to celebrate the Winter Solstice, what tickles the nostrils is churned caramel, vegetative, fruity and floral notes that transition into sweet, warm and woody aromas.

On the top of the mouth things get more subtle and refined than what one would suspect. Resting on a backbone of oaky and toasted maple, nutty flavours are punctuated by a delicate honeyed, poached pear sweetness with the elongated finish culminating in a crescendo of warm coffee bean piquancy and a subdued nuanceful peatiness.

Given the limited nature of the release, each batch is different and I cannot wait to try the 2022 incarnations.

What I have always appreciated about the three distillers that form Great Southern Distilling Co are there more accessible snake themed releases, with Tiger Snake being one of my favourite.

Named after a deadly Western Australian snake, Dugite Whiskey the new blended kid on the block derived from a mix of single malt whisky and the hybrid of barley, wheat, rye and corn, the result of which then has been individually barrelled in new American Oak casks and second fill bourbon barrels to age for at least two years.

On the palate, creamy in texture, each of the grains unfolds its flavours ranging from vanilla, honey dew and malty caramel via passionfruity citrus notes and oranges to spicy and nutty notes.

The finish culminates in a lemony, fruity high butterscotch toffee that leaves one lusting for another tasty sip.

A welcome and affordable entry point to the portfolio.

Let’s change gears from whiskey to gin and move locations from Western Australia to New South Wales:

It is every so often that one realizes that one does not have to venture far to find up and coming gems in the realm of distilling.

Case in point: Finders Distillery based out of an industrial unit on Sydney's North Shore.

Following a two-year around the world trip as a source of inspiration which saw the founders visit a myriad of distilleries to learn about production processes and graced with a passion for artisanal products upon their return, they set out to create each batch of gin individually with their three hundred litre capacity copper pot still.

Based on a backbone of Australian wheat spirit, Finders’ core Juniper forward Dry Gin expression is crafted the traditional way with an idiosyncratic Australian twist, i.e. the infusion of nine local botanicals such as Wattle Seed and Native Gum, the adage of which is finely calibrated to ensure that the desired flavour nuances are being achieved.

With the melange of the aforementioned Australian botanicals and floral sweetness reminiscent of chamomile and citrussy highlights, a uniquely complex flavour profile is achieved and enhanced by the expression not being chill-filtered, which with its smooth mouthfeel lends itself particularly well for both neat sipping or the traditional G&T.

Given the quality of Finders’ Dry Gin, I can only hope that we will soon see them venturing into creating their own whiskies.


images from company websites

T • June 27, 2021

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