[44.0%・4 Years Old・Distilled in 2012・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release of 140 Bottles]
Clean, but simple, but clean, with light honey and wood shaves amidst a grassy vibe, pepper with almond flavoured sugar, some nectarines and mint leaves.
Palate & Finish:
A light mouthfeel of rather easy to drink honey and apricot jam, mint leaves, with a clean punch of spices and thereafter showing notes of the clean malt spirit together with freshly baked almond croissant and finger limes.
Lighter finish with hints of green apples and menthol chewing gum.
In truth it’s been years since I have had a McHenry and I didn’t remember much about the distillery but simply put this 2017 release is not bad at all, light and simple but clean and actually rather easy to drink.
Though I think they really ought to re-think about their label layout though..
✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]
I was fortunate enough to be one of the first people in Sydney to try McHenry Distillery’s first release at the Oak Barrel earlier this week. Cheers to Kathleen and Scott for arranging this so the crowd can get an early taste of this rather limited release.
The Barrel No. 1 appears to be quite unusual for a contemporary Australian whisky. Turn the bottle over and you will notice that it is a 5 Yo whisky, much older than what other distilleries would put out as their first releases these days. The whisky is also bottled at a rather low abv for a Tasmanian single cask, at 44%.
My understanding is that unlike other distilleries in Tasmania, being the southern most distillery actually means that their whiskies are maturing much different than the other Tasmanian whiskies we know and love. Now that presents a unique challenge as the angel’s share is still high as compared to Scotch whilst the maturation rate is slow for new world whiskies with the abv dropping rather than increasing over time. I think that’s why Barrel No. 1 spent four years in a bourbon barrel before getting finished in a smaller French oak cask. This is hardly the full picture but one can’t help but think that these factors do create unwanted pressure on the distillery to produce quality whiskies whilst striking a fine balance between cask maturity and yield, not to mention there is the financial side of the business as well. It’s a delicate subject indeed but I am sure production methods will evolve in time to address these issues.
[44.0%・5 Years Old・Distilled in 2011・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]
Turning to the whisky itself, the first release has a refreshing nose of lime zest and green banana, a slightly thickened vanilla with a wee touch of coal smoke.
The delivery on the palate is not overly sweet initially, with notes of citrus fruits, clean wood and youthful maltiness. The stickiness from the wood finish then begins to unfold, chocolate coated almonds and burnt sugar with a custard like note before coming to a soft finish of floral notes.
I am happy to report that Mr. William McHenry’s first single malt creation is quite charming and promising. A refreshing newcomer that warrants our attention for doing things their own way. Situated at 43 degrees south, perhaps we have got a name for their standard expression!
Style: Fresh and charming