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5 Aussie Craft Rye Whiskies To Celebrate Rye July

If you’re worried about family, friends and colleagues trying to gain the Dry July moral high ground this year, we’ve got the perfect loophole for you: meet Rye July.

So when someone busts out a smug “I’m doing Dry July”, you can reply “so am I” and if they find out you’re not abstaining from alcohol, you can just say you didn’t hear them!

Not many Aussie craft distilleries make it as rye is famously difficult to deal with. It’s harder to grow than other grains and is also more expensive.

It’s troublesome in the mash tun, foams up as it ferments and, due to its high residual sugar, rye has a high viscosity that makes it tricky to handle.

However, from our perspective as consumers, the result is absolutely worth the bother.

Spicy, sweet, grassy and grainy, rye whisky is a wonderful sidestep from the well-trodden paths of single malt Scotch-style whisky or corn-based bourbon-style spirits.

Rye is amazing in a multitude of cocktails—my favourite being the rye Manhattan—but is also excellent on its own with a drop of water or a small ice cube.

So for this Rye July—in fact any time of the year—get your hands on one of these amazing Aussie craft rye whiskies:

Using unmalted rye grains grown in the Murray Mallee Region of South Australia, Gospel’s Straight Rye is a beautifully complex, rich whisky full of all the spice, fruit, vanilla and bready notes you hope for in a brilliantly crafted rye.

Belgrove Distillery–White Rye and Black Rye Coffee Liqueur

Tasmania is famous for its beautifully handcrafted whisky, and it doesn’t come more handcrafted than from Belgrove—the greenest distillery in the world. Owner-distiller Peter Bignell not only made his still by hand, he also grows his own rye to make his whiskies.

Starting with his White Rye all the way through to the superb Black Rye Coffee Liqueur, Peter shows his incredible skill with this notoriously capricious grain.

Belgrove White Rye is a new make that shows off the grain’s pepperiness and fruitiness, which can sometimes hide behind barrel ageing, and is remarkably versatile.

Belgrove Black Rye Coffee Liqueur is a base blend of house-made grappa and White Rye. Expect sweetness and rich viscosity along with a slight bitterness that counters the sugar as well as plenty of coffee flavours. This liqueur is perfect for adding to desserts or coffees, espresso martinis or sipped over ice.

From the northeastern Victorian town of Yackandandah, Backwoods Distillery craft their Rye Whisky and age it in ex-Shiraz casks to bring the spicy ginger, rye bread and creamy, chocolate finish of their whisky to life.

Backwoods also have a new batch aged in American oak and ex-Aussie corn whisky barrels.

Peter Bignell of Belgrove Distillery loves experimenting as much as he hates waste. The grain for the spirits is grown on-site, but the used mash is fed to Peter’s sheep, which then fertilise his next crop.

Peter has taken this recycling a step further: adding a smoky flavour to his rye by burning sheep dung while he’s drying his rye grain. The result is surprisingly good! Expect toffee, honey, peanut, sesame, vanilla, hessian sacks and lots of smoke.

Belgrove Wholly Shit Rye Whisky even delighted irascible celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey when he visited Peter’s distillery.

From Sydney’s first distillery in over 160 years, Archie Rose Distillery’s Rye Malt Whisky is made with carefully sourced rare malted rye, distilled and aged in new American oak barrels to bring about flavours of spiced custard, ginger, stone fruit and baked apple pie with a fresh herbal finish.


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