5 top shelf Aussie whiskies

It really is an extraordinary time to be a whisky lover in Australia. The ever-increasing melange of craft distilleries creating truly world-class spirits means we’re not only spoilt for choice, but also for quality. Here are 5 incredible Aussie whiskies that show just how good we’ve got it.

From that moment back in 1992, when Bill Lark reignited the flame beneath the still of Australian craft spirits, the quality of whisky being made here just keeps going up and up.

Alongside that ever-increasing quality, our expectations also grow; one lifting the other.

And this is where the agility of craft distilling really comes to the fore. Innovation and creativity are what craft distillers crave. As a result, Australian whisky is a constantly evolving landscape of bottled genius.

Here are five pinnacle Australian whiskies that any whisky enthusiast would dream of owning.

Lark Cask Strength Single Malt 58% ABV - $200

No premium Australian whisky list is complete without including something from Lark Distillery, and not just because Bill Lark’s contributions to the industry have earned him the deserved title of the ‘godfather of Australian craft distilling’.

Bill’s whiskies are always superbly made and his Cask Strength Single Malt is a prime example of that.

Rich cinnamon and nutmeg spices on the nose lead into a wonderful vanilla, Christmas cake and citrus balance on first sip. Oak, toffee and a touch of Tasmanian peat then take the lead and carry you on to a blissfully long finish.

Direct from Bill’s Coal River location and maintaining its high ABV as it was barrelled at, this is a fine whisky for the true connoisseur.

Timboon Christie’s Cut Single Malt 60% ABV - $225

A stone’s throw from the grand sweeping Victorian coastline and the Twelve Apostles, Timboon Distillery and the surrounding region is steeped in distilling history.

Indeed, owner-distiller Josh Walker has named this mighty whisky after a notorious police officer back in the 1880s - Inspector John Christie - who worked tirelessly to shut down illicit bootleggers.

Christie’s Cut and its navy-strength ABV is a remarkable whisky. Aged in 45 litre ex-port casks, this warm gold spirit displays notes of charred raisins, smoke and spice, and a delightfully long finish.

Rather than heating the whisky, the high ABV seems to somehow smooth it out. This artfully crafted dram is true testament to Josh’s undeniable skills.

Shene Elixir of Life Single Malt Whisky 49% ABV - $189

From behind the doors of one of Australia’s oldest existing pastoral holdings (the buildings date back between 1819 and the 1850s) comes a rare and wonderful whisky.

Elixir of Life is the product of the same loving care and dedication distiller-owners David and Anna Kernke have put into restoring the 200-year-old Gothic Revivalist stable, coachhouse and tack room, and Georgian sandstone homestead.

Aged first in small 20-litre Australian apera (sherry) casks then to Spanish oak ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks from Andalusia, the intense flavours of this whisky stay in the mouth long after the first sip.