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Friday 14 April 2017

That's the spirit: from cider to Tasmanian apple brandy

The team behind the hugely successful Willie Smith's Organic Cider has launched a new line of apple spirits crafted in the south of Tasmania. 

The spirits are named in honour of Charles Oates, a regional pioneer in the Huon Valley. Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy is created from distilling Willie Smith’s apple cider, made from fruit grown at the Smith family orchard in the Huon Valley.

Before commissioning a locally built Alembic still last year, the decision was made to work with Redlands Estate to distill some cider. This spirit has been aged in a range of tokay, muscat and sherry barrels in the style of the delicious French apple brandy calvados. 

“We are overwhelmed with how the product has turned out, it’s dark and rich colour and flavor is so exciting to see and taste, we can’t wait to bottle our small batches and share it with the people of Tasmania” says Dr. Tim Jones, head cider maker and distiller at Willie Smith’s and Charles Oates.

More apple brandies will come online in the future. 

"I first fell in love with Calvados when I was visiting France on a research trip four years ago," says Willie Smith's co-founder Sam Reid. "It’s an absolutely delicious spirit and I knew that it was something we just had to develop in Tasmania. The still enables us to make a traditional-style calvados whilst also improving the quality of our cider. 

‘If we produce a batch we’re not 100% comfortable releasing we can just distill it and make apple spirit. In this, we’ve also found a way to reduce wastage in the cider making process, so it’s a win-win."

Award-winning author and calvados fan Richard Flanagan was presented with the first-ever bottle and the brandy is on sale both at the Willie Smith's Apple Shed and online as of Monday. 

Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy will be available in 200ml ($80) and 350ml ($120) bottles and stock is limited. 

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