As a distiller, there are few things more exciting than the prospect of creating your own whisky, and that's exactly what I'm doing here at Carmel Distillery. I'm thrilled to announce that I'm now the proud owner of a 100L barrel full of what will become the first Carmel Distillery Whisky.
Right now it's what’s known as new make which is the name given to whisky that's fresh off the still and yet to complete its compulsory barrel rest. In Australia, the age requirement for whisky is two years in barrel while in Scotland it's three years and one day. Prior to that time elapsing it's just new make or, as I like to think of it, baby whisky.
The journey to creating this new make has been a long and enjoyable one. It all starts with selecting the right ingredients for the mash to produce a rich, malty wort, and the right yeast to create the flavour profile that I wanted. Then came the distillation process, which required careful attention to ensure that I retained those flavours and aromas.
Now that I have my new make, it's time to start the aging process and this is where the magic happens. The whisky will spend the next few years in the barrel, slowly developing its flavour and character as it interacts with the wood. Because wood is a naturally porous product the spirit will actually move into and out of the wood due to changes in the ambient temperature in the barrel store.
Another factor to consider is the type of barrel that the whisky is aging in. I've selected a used American oak barrel that's been re-coopered down to 100L. This will impart a unique flavour profile to the final product, creating a rich and complex flavour profile that's unique to this whisky.
Of course, it's not just a matter of leaving the barrel alone for a few years and coming back to find a delicious whisky waiting for you. The spirit must be tested at regular intervals to monitor its maturation, and this is particularly important as it approaches the required age for bottling.
Although I've started with 100L there's always the angel's share to account for. This is the volume of whisky that evaporates from the barrel over time, and although in Scotland it's normally around 2% per year, the warmer climate in Australia could mean losses of over 10%.
So, what can you expect from the first Carmel Distillery Whisky? Well, that's the million-dollar question and I won't really know until it's ready to be bottled. But so far it has a rich and spirited mouthfeel with darker chocolate notes and a hint of caramel. I want it to be a whisky that's easy to drink, but with enough complexity to keep you coming back for more.
If you're as excited about this new whisky as I am, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I'll be keeping subscribers up to date on the progress of the aging process, as well as any news about the release date.
How would YOU feel about being the proud owner of a bottle of this liquid gold?