Our First Whisky, A New Distillery and More: Here’s What to Look Forward To
It’s been six months of weird and wacky at Archie Rose. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to and what we’ve got planned next.
First came Smoked Gin. An experimental, evocative release, inspired by our most challenging yet iconic season - summer. It played with juniper, native thyme, wattleseed and caraway, with earthy notes and accents of barbecue, thanks to the water we smoked using NSW ironbark wood and distilled for this one-off release. “It was an instant classic,” says Harriet Leigh, Head of Hospitality at Archie Rose, “as soon as it sold out, we all missed it terribly.”
A month later, we released Virgin Cane Rhum, with just 182 bottles distilled from freshly cut and pressed sugar cane from Condong, Northern NSW. It sold out in 29 minutes flat. “Thanks to a cask leak, the release was even more limited than we anticipated,” says Harriet. Delicious and complex, it was a departure from traditional rum flavours with notes of chervil, olives, marshmallow and fresh earth.
Then came ArchieMite Buttered Toast Spirit, an unaged spirit that brought together 25kg of freshly churned cultured butter from Pepe Saya and Sonoma’s toasted signature white sourdough. Whether in a Mitey Mary or Espresso Mite-Tini, ArchieMite gave new life to classic cocktails with its almost warm, crisp-edged toast and umami-rich savoury mite flavour. What started off as a joke soon made headlines around the world. “It was delicious,” said Harriet, “A total roaring success.”
It’s been a wild and wacky six months at Archie Rose. But the fun has just begun. This month, we release our long-awaited whisky with a small, limited-edition batch: Chocolate Rye Malt Whisky. “We’re all whisky obsessives over here,” says Archie Rose Founder, Will Edwards. “For us to be finally releasing a whisky is huge.” It’s the first of our aged whiskies, pairing chocolate roasted rye with rare malted rye, yielding flavours of caraway, mint, shortbread, violets, hot chocolate and fruit jam. “From what I’ve tasted so far, it’s absolutely exceptional. There’s nothing else like it,” Harriet says. With just over 1148 bottles released on 27 June, this is one date to mark in your diaries in ink.
But wait, there’s more.
August will see the first of four Rye Malt Whisky batches released. Having already picked up top gongs at the IWSC Awards in London last year and best Australian rye whisky at the recent SIP Awards, our Rye Malt Whisky uses selectively sourced rare malted rye and the finest malted barley from progressive malt houses, paired with virgin American oak casks air-dried for 36 months, all maturing in the maritime coastal air of Sydney. “Our vision for whisky has always been to speak of our experience as Australians,” says Will. “We’ve crafted a distinct, charming and flavoursome spirit which showcases the regional character of the malts it’s made up of, complemented by great quality oak.”
While the team zeroes in on our imminent whisky release, our Botany site, just 4km south of Rosebery, nears the final stages of construction. “This new site is a massive step up for us,” says Will, “It’ll allow us to bring our casks, packaging, raw materials and team under one roof. It’s been specifically engineered by a world-class team to support and complement Archie Rose’s unique production processes, significantly increase our capacity and achieve more sustainable distilling practices.”
So what happens to Rosebery? The pumping heart of Archie Rose is not going anywhere. Once the Botany site is complete, we’ll dedicate the Rosebery distillery to R&D, limited release trials and the weirder, wackier, more innovative projects we are constantly undertaking. “We’re incredibly excited to share the good, great and just plain weird things that will no doubt come out of that site,” says Will. And of course the Archie Rose Bar will continue as showcase of ours and the world’s best spirits.