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Water of Life – Spirit Thief

Now this one has been a while in the making…

There have been quite a few independent bottlers we have covered as part of this series, some of which with an exquisitely and idiosyncratic approach to curation and sourcing of their drops instead of merely banking on big name distillery and slapping their label on the bottle.

Then there are ones whose distinct maturation processes and curated barrel collection take things to the next level and beyond.

Enter Spirit Thief.

Based in Tasmania, the Spirit Thief collective set out to channel their alchemy in the careful calibration of tannins, oak, char and flavour profiles to create elegant and complex limited editions of single malt whiskies matured in varietal specific red wine casks.

Given that the expertise and craftmanship of the collective’s endeavours is informed by the artisanship of both the source distilleries as well as winemakers, the name Spirit Thief is an appropriate and telling one.

Re-coopering individually profiled red wine barrels to then toast and char them to specifications for each expression, adds depth, layers and brings out unique nuances through their highly-integrated collaborations.

Classifying themselves as “gypsy distillers, it should not come as a surprise that their portfolio of collaborators include Peter Bignell from Belgrove Distillery – a match made in heaven as Spirit Thief as it resulted in the creation of an exquisite heavy coastal-peated single malt, based on grain that was peat-smoke after it had been gristed, to then age in refill ex-whisky casks. The result is a truly unique drop with an unrivalled flavour profile and complexity.

Same goes for the outcome of their collaboration with Shene Estate and Distillery, which saw Spirit Thief maturing some of the first double-distilled Shene spirit into their own French Oak Grenache casks.

I have yet to come across an emission from the vault of Spirit Thief that did not make me smack my lips to then do more research in what factors might have contributed to the creation of the respective unique drop.

Word around the campfire has that Spirit Thief is looking at building their own distillery, in which case that might be a good reason to relocate to Tasmania.

Spirit Thief entertains their own club, i.e. the Vanguard, which allows members free of charge to be posted on new releases and dibs on new releases.


image from company website

February 22, 2021

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