Drinks News

The new wave of whisky

New World whiskies are making a splash with unique flavours cooking in the barrel.

A new wave of whisky

Scott Hawkins

From left: White Oak Distillery five-year-old Single Malt Akashi Old Sherry Butt, $195 for 500ml; White Oak Distillery Tokinoka Blended Whisky, $94.50 for 500ml; Armorik Double Maturation Single Malt, $130 for 700ml; Kavalan Single Malt Sherry Oak, $190 for 700ml; Amrut Portonova Single Malt, $220 for 700ml; Puni Alba two-year-old Italian Malt, $89 for 700ml; Ceros Single Malt Organic, $196 for 700ml.

In your late-night rambles through Australia’s whisky bars, you may have spotted bottles of Japanese White Oak or French Armorik dotting the shelves among the Bourbon and rye, the Irish blends, the Aberlour and Aberfeldy. “New World whiskies are an emerging trend that’s been building in Australia for eight or so years,” says Dave Withers, production manager at Sydney’s Archie Rose Distilling Co.

While there’s plenty to be said for the traditional drams from Scotland, Ireland and America, the innovative likes of Tasmania’s cool-climate drops, Sweden’s cherry-scented single malts and the cola-coloured releases from Taiwan are pushing the boundaries of style.

“The tried and true are more confined with what they can release,” says Withers, “whereas newer distillers are borrowing from tradition to come up with interesting and unique visions of what whisky can be.”

Countries with developing whisky cultures are more liberal with their regulations, which gives distillers greater freedom to experiment with colour, flavour and strength.

“It’s about exploration,” he says. “We’re all interested in finding the next big thing.”

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