The launch of Cape Byron Distillery’s first single malt whiskies on Friday night at the distillery in St Helena was a friendly affair with lots of conversations along long tables, and entertaining stories, not just about whiskies and how to steal them, but also about the whole art of distilling. There were a mix of novices and knowledgeable whisky aficionados there, with pretty much the entire crowd recovering clear memories of visiting renowned Scottish whisky island Islay by the end of the evening.
Special guest was Jim McEwan, who began his career as an apprentice cooper at Bowmore distillery at the age of 15 in 1963, and retired from Bruichladdich in 2005 after 15 years as Master Distiller, before rejoining the industry in 2017. McEwan, who was piped into the gathering with bagpipes, had lots of praise for the two local whiskies, which are commercially available so far, one of which was matured in chardonnay casks.
Future plans are for local whiskies to be matured in various other Australian wine casks, and as a sign that the distillery is pretty optimistic about its future, more buildings have been constructed to hold barrels and a second larger copper still was on-site waiting to be set up. And, if you’re a true whisky devotee, you can even work with the distilling team to craft your own barrel of personal whisky.
More info: capebyrondistillery.com