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Tuesday 18 October 2016

Australia's leading brandy producer sets its sights on whisky

For almost a century the St Agnes Distillery in Renmark has been producing a range of premium brandies. Not its owners, the Angove family, have set their sights on also producing world-class whisky. 

Richard Angove reported that the Angoves this week distilled what is believed to be the first legal whisky in the Riverland region of South Australia.

Located on the quiet banks of the River Murray, the St Agnes Distillery has been highly regarded for its unique aged expression of super-premium XO Brandies for over 90 years.

In 2016, the distillery continues its evolution of crafting aged spirits with a small batch whisky project.

"Brandy takes time, patience and craft and we see similarities with whisky," said Richard Angove. "Our aim is to produce a super-premium single malt whisky that has character and vibrancy. A whisky that shows the benefits of ageing in small oak and speaks to the history of our historic barrel halls.

"We worked with an iconic South Australian beer producer – Coopers Brewery, to make a classic single-malt beer base. Classic Scottish methods were used with a touch of our unique Australian brandy-making expertise. 

"The whisky was double distilled in copper pot #1 in our 100-year-old distillery."

The fresh whisky spirit will now be transferred to a careful selection of small oak barrels where it will rest, quietly maturing and transforming into distinctive single malt whisky.

"We will be assessing the whisky regularly but it will be a number of years before we will see the release," Angove said. "Oak maturation takes time and patience and we are lucky that we have these.” 

Dr William Angove first established a distillery in Renmark in 1910. 

"We think that Carl Angove would be happy with this little bit of experimentation and evolution, " said St Agnes Distillery chairman John Angove.

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