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Whisky amongst the Kangaroos

位於袋鼠群中的威士忌

In the March issue of “Malt & Spirits” I wrote about whisky tourism, and the various options for undertaking such trips around Asia Pacific. Recently I managed to practice this myself, when (on a very brief trip to Australia) I was treated to a private tour of the Joadja Distillery, about 2 hours South West of Sydney in the New South Wales Southern Highlands.

 

Joadja isn’t a name most whisky enthusiasts will have heard of, and that’s because they haven’t actually released their whisky yet. They have however produced whisky (Australian whisky only needs to be aged for 2+ years to be legally called “whisky”), and it’s due for release this year.


There are over 30 different whisky distilleries currently operating in Australia, but Joadja are unique for a few reasons:

  • They’re based in the beautiful NSW Southern Highlands , set deep in the “bush”surrounded by trees (and yes, kangaroos)!

  • The distillery is based in the historic (ghost) town of Joadja, which was previously home to Scottish miners (and illicit distillers) from as early as 1870

  • Owners Elisa and Valero Jimenez have Spanish heritage (as their surname suggests), and a direct family connection to Jerez in Spain, from which they’re able to source high-quality ex-PX and Oloroso 32L casks – an increasingly difficult task for whisky distilleries, particularly younger “New World” distilleries!


The distillery uses an 800L spirit still housed in a sandstone and iron shed, and matures the spirit in the same location, in those aforementioned 32L Sherry casks. Whilst the distillery waits to release its first whisky, they do sell the Pedro Ximenez Sherry which came from these casks, and it’s very tasty indeed. As is common for younger distilleries, they also produce and sell unaged spirits, including “Outlaw” (a malted grain spirit at a “healthy” 63.55 ABV), Dry Gin and Anis.


I was lucky enough to try the still-maturing whisky from the very first barrel (at 60.8% ABV), and after only two years it was already delicious, with lots of rich fresh sherry notes (Christmas Cake especially) and some fascinating earthy notes, not to mention a lovely deep (natural) colour. It will be fascinating to see what the final product is like – hopefully we don’t have to wait too long!

Joadja Distillery might not be the first choice of whisky tourism for those visiting Sydney, but considering everything else in the surrounding area (world-class restaurants, several wineries, great cafes and historic towns), not to mention the historic tours that Elisa and Valero also run of the Joadja township, it certainly makes for a compelling 1-2 day trip from Sydney (I can also vouch for the nearby Joadja Winery, which produces some beautiful wines).

 

 

在Malt & Spirits3月月刊我曾介紹威士忌旅遊業和亞太區各種廣泛威士忌體驗行程。最近我嚐試親自計劃一個私人旅程在Joadja蒸餾廠,其位置是新南威爾斯南面高地,在悉尼西南部花2小時車程便到達。


Joadja不是大部分威士忌愛好者聽過的名字,由於這酒廠尚未推出自家作品。其實Joadja有釀造威士忌(澳洲威士忌只需陳釀2年以上就可以法定為「威士忌」),並在今年推出。

 

澳洲現在已經有超過三十間不同類型的威士忌酒廠運作,但Joadja有幾個原因讓它與眾不同:

手它們設立於新南威爾斯南部高地,深入叢林中並由林立樹木包圍(當然還有袋鼠)!

酒廠位於Joadja的古鎮(荒蕪的),在1870年期間是蘇格蘭礦工(非法釀酒人士)的居所。

廠主Elisa和Valero Jimenez擁有西班牙血統和與西班牙Jerez區的家族成員有直接聯繫,所以他們能搬尋高品質舊式PX和Olorosso 32公升橡木,要尋找這些橡木對很多威士忌酒廠,特別是年輕新世界酒廠來說是一項越來越艱難的工作!


酒廠的800公升烈酒依然收容在砂岩和鐵棚內,然後與前述的32公升雪莉桶陳釀在同一地方。當酒廠等待推出處女作期間,亦售賣同樣來自上述酒桶造的Pedro Ximenez雪莉酒,確實十分可口。與其他年輕酒廠一樣,Joadja同時製造和售賣未經陳釀的烈酒,包括Outlaw(一種處於63.55酒精度的麥芽穀物烈酒)乾琴酒和茴香酒。


我當時真的非常幸運來嚐試在第一酒桶依然陳釀的威士忌(約60.8%酒精度),只是經過2年時間就能締造出可口,濃郁新鮮櫻桃味(特別是聖誕蛋糕)和一些誘人的鄉土氣息,當然也不能不提天然深邃的色澤。這種種吸引十分讓我引以期待最終的製成品如何,希望不要等待太久!

 

對於悉尼觀光旅客來說,Joadja Distillery可能不是他們威士忌旅遊業的首選,但當考慮到它周邊環境擁有世界級餐廳、不同酒莊、優美咖啡廳和古蹟,更何況Elisa和Valero同樣在Joadja鎮舉辦historic tour,所以很值得從悉尼之旅抽取1至2天行程來參觀。我更擔保附近的Joadja酒莊同樣釀造品質優美的酒。