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Water of Life - Morris Ruthersglen.

Claiming that there are a lot of interesting developments within the confines of the Australian distilling landscape, would be an understatement par excellence. The sheer number of new distilleries with their distilled emissions pushing of what is considered possible is staggering.

Needless to say, I was coloured intrigued when I learned about award decorated Morris of Rutherglen, an estate traditionally known for its fortified wines, venturing into the realm of single malt whisky with two debut releases, i.e. their Signature and Australian Single Malt Muscat Barrel Whiskies.

All the more so given that word around the campfire had that former master distillers from such reputable entities like Balvenie, Laphroaig, Springbank and Kilchoman had been consulted to help finetune Morris’ technical approach to their distilling process.

The fact that price-wise both expressions are situated on the modest end of the scale in the highly taxed and smaller scale environment that is Australia, where normally a 500ml bottle would set you back in excess of $200, also bode well for Morris’ debut to make a bit of a splash on the scene.

With barley being locally sourced, water from the snowy Mountains, a unique American and French oak barrel maturation program to boot and a finish in in-house coopered premium barrels which previously held fortified wines, paired with the fact that the Rutherglen region is known its distinct climate with hot days and cold nights, expectations were high in terms of big and complex flavours.

Aged for a minimum of three years and bottled at a standard 40% ABV, deep golden Signature expression tickles the nostrils with grainy, grassy, apple and blueberry fruity highlights that dance with citrussy, marzipan and zesty notes against a backdrop of delicate leather and earthy aromas that are further nuanced with cherry characteristics.

On the top of the mouth, the allure of the fortified wine barrels unveil their magic via a melange of honeyed dark chocolate, plums, burnt toffee and dried cranberries in the relatively light bodied drop with a juicy and refreshing mouthfeel. The elongated finish reverberates with nougat, oak and brown sugary caramel flavours.

A well-rounded beautifully composed, multi-layered, sessionable and competitively priced introduction that is bound to make waves.

Matured in shaved and toasted ex-wine casks before finished in soaked ex-muscat casks, Morris’ Muscat Finish clocks in at 46% and greets one with rich, dark molassy sweet and indulgent aromas carrying distinct fig notes.

On the palate, there is a honey-like sweetness with subtle hints of berries and shades of chocolate cookie dough, contrasted by distinctly tannic mouth-coating notes, which culminate in a crescendo of cocoa and cinnamon spice.

The long, full-bodied finish is dominated by charred oaky notes with hints of dried fruits, coffee and nut chocolate making it a dangerously more-ish drop that makes me hope that Morris will continue their journey by branching out with cask strength and peated expressions.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Morris Whisky.


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