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Timboon Railway Shed Single Malt Whisky (500ml)
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- ABV 40.1%
The South West Coast of Victoria has a colourful history of illicit distilling. When the Government decided to stamp out the practice in the Timboon district, the man chosen to round up the 'Nirranda Distillers' was Detective Inspector Christie, champion boxer, champion sculler of Victoria, and one time personal bodyguard of H.R.H. Prince Alfred. Christie was also a master of disguise. Posing as a travelling tinker, he set out to catch Delaney and his associate, Jim Love.
Shots were fired, the distillers escaped, but not for long and soon enough, whisky distilling in the area came to an end. Until now. Sixteen kilometres inland from the famous Twelve Apostles, a small micro-operation has sprung up: Timboon distillery. Proprietor, Tim Marwood has reluctantly submitted to the excise man and set himself the challenge of making a spirit in the tradition of the locals in days gone by. "The scale of our production is relative to the niche market for our spirit" comments Marwood. "Our aim is to produce quality not quantity".
The grain employed to produce Timboon is Joe White Pilsner malted Barley. The actual still was produced by Knap Lure Engineering in Moonah, Hobart and is essentially a scaled down version of the kind of still used at the world famous Macallan distillery in Scotland. Barrels are sourced from both Rutherglen, Victoria and Tasmania. We asked Marwood what makes Timboon's whiskies distinctive? "So many factors contribute to the development of complex flavour congeners and esters... Malt, yeast, fermentation, still, distillation, time, the previous tenant in the maturing barrel, and more time. We use ex port/tokay barrels to age our spirit and generally use 50 and 90 litre barrels to expaediate the ageing process. This way more wood is exposed to less spirit. We also use a wide vat fermentation process (greater surface area for vigorous oxygenation of wash)."
Marwood's experience in the art of distillation has not being without a degree of trial and error, with the odd disaster too. His biggest mistake ended up down the drain. On another occassion he set the still timer to auto to start at midnight. He arrived to do a spirit run early in the morning to find the still dry! His most important lesson? "Don't trust still timers!"
Despite competing in a market place saturated with imported whiskies and having to deal with the lack of quality local barrel stock for differing maturation styles, Marwood has high hopes for his little venture and looks forward to enjoying his first ten year old release with good friends. He acknowledges there's a need to further educate the consumer on the benefits of Australian Malts. "Australian whiskies are developing a greater international appreciation due to the commitment and passion of people like Bill Lark. The Australian Whisky market is developing and has great potential to grow and sustain this emerging micro industry. Our high evaporation rates contribute to a uniquely Australian style of malt". While the whisky is maturing, Marwood maintains cash flow by selling other exotic delights including a Coffee Cream liqueur, Strawberry 'Schnapps' and a premium Vanilla Vodka - all well worth a taste. A visit to the "Railway Shed' also offers a complimentary set of food experiences.
Tasting note: [Port expression tasted, distilled 3/10/09] Deep polished copper. Hints of fruit tart amid the rich malty vanilla. Exposure draws out manuka honey and a sprinkling of white pepper. Attractive hints of glace cherry but more marzipan in the light to medium bodied delivery; vibrant yet soft spices and light malty, cocoa flavours enter late. Perfect balance. Dries fresh, mildly tannic and is almost crisp to finish. Nicely done.40% Alc./Vol.... [Batch distilled 14/08/2008 tasted. Notes will vary according to batch] Deep gold, burnished brass colour. Aromas initially offer attractive scents of cereals, vanilla and cocoa. Less pleasant aromas of dank wood and hessian sack emerge with time in the glass. Concentrated and with a spicy kick, the palate offers medium dry flavours of cereal and dark chocolate until a sulphury off note enters, giving a rubbery edge that persists well into the after taste along side subtle dry cocoa and spice notes. Not our favourite bottling from this distillery. Tasted 2011.
86 points 40% Alc./Vol.