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3 Aussie craft new-makes you have to try

While we’ve all been focusing on the amazing Australian craft whisky on the market, another spirit is flying low but keenly under the radar. Welcome to the world of Aussie craft new make, and 3 you must try.

If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then new make is the doorway to a distiller’s heart. Known by many names—white dog, hooch, poitín, vit hund, moonshine—new make gives you an insight into what is coming straight out of the still.

It’s like a live update on the whisky score.

What is new make?

Distillers and whisky experts say around 75% of whisky’s flavour comes from interaction with the barrel, where it has to stay for at least two years to be legally called whisky.

But wouldn’t it be interesting to see what that spirit would taste like if it never goes into the cask?

That’s what new make is all about.

You can read more about how whisky is made here, but new make comes straight from the still, is tempered with water then bottled. With no oak or ageing getting in the way, it gives you a unique perspective into what’s going on behind the scenes.

From 1661 to 1997, Ireland had banned the distilling and sale of new make or poitín (pronounced /pot-cheen/) and it’s still illegal in neighbouring Northern Ireland.

But this Aussie new make, made with barley and oats and triple distilled in true Irish whiskey fashion, is 100% above board.

With a beautiful flavour profile that goes from spice to stone fruit and apple to sweet and bready, The Exile is lovely on its own, on the rocks or in cocktails. I especially like it in a caffe corretto—a shot poured into an espresso coffee.

Crafted with Archie Rose’s customary eye for perfection, this white rye—a new make using high-quality malted rye and barley—has a wonderful range of flavours to explore.

Spice from the rye and soft sweetness from the barley compliment the spirit’s natural herbaceous fruity notes along with gentle floral hints and a satisfyingly long finish.

And coming in at 50% ABV, this number has plenty of power under the hood so that it never gets lost in a cocktail.

Image courtesy of the Archie Rose Facebook page.

Straight rye whisky is an underestimated spirit that’s finally starting to turn heads. Its spiciness and richness goes so well with so many whisky cocktails, not least classics like the Manhattan.

Rye new make is just as versatile.

From the creative genius of Peter Bignell in Tasmania’s Kempton, this 100% rye new make is something special.

Pepperiness, smoke, and dried mango and berries work together with the bready yeast notes and creamy texture to create a profound spirit indeed. And at 40% ABV, which is quite subdued for Peter, it’s the flavours of this white rye that do all the heavy lifting.

Image courtesy of the Belgrove Facebook page.

There are boundless ways to use this spirit, but Peter recommends his Belgrove White Rye margarita:

90ml Belgrove White Rye, 60ml triple sec and 60ml fresh lime juice shaken and strained into a salt-rimmed glass. Sounds pretty good to me!

Read more about the brilliant Peter Bignell and his distillery—the greenest distillery in the world—here in our Meet the Distiller feature on Belgrove.

Image courtesy of the Belgrove Facebook page.


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