Spirit has run off the stills at a brand new Western Australian whisky distillery as Great Southern Distilling Co., the people behind Limeburners, launch their third site.
A foundation Australian distillery with their Albany site in the state’s south, Great Southern previously built a second distillery in the famous wine region of Margaret River to focus on cellar door visibility and gin distillation.
Founder Cameron Syme signalled intentions to build a third distillery earlier this year. Located in Porongurup, an area of largely national park and mountain range just 40 kilometres from Albany, the distillery is designed to service their American-style Tiger Snake brand.
Although the early distillations at the Porongurup site have been single malt, the plan is to take all of the Tiger Snake distillation away from their Albany site.
“We’re still learning how to fly this still, and output will increase as we learn the nuisances of this new still,” Syme told Whisky Ardent.
“It’s producing beautiful flavoursome new make malt spirit.”
An American inspired label, the corn-based bourbon style Tiger Snake and the rye-based Tiger Snake Rye Of The Tiger are marketed separately from the Limeburners single malts and feature an ‘e’ in the spelling of whiskey. Limeburner’s Darkest Winter expression was recently named the Southern Hemisphere Whisky Of The Year in the 2018 Whisky Bible.
The first distillations at the Porongurup site began in the last week of October. Across two-and-a-half days of operation three 200 litre barrels were filled with single malt spirit as the team comes to grips with a brand new still.
We’re still learning how to fly this still.
“The Porongurup new make is a lot different from the flavours of the new make Limeburners spirit from our Albany Distillery,” Syme said.
A 3,000 square metre site on the 22 acre property, the Porongurup set up is the biggest of Great Southern’s three distilleries.
The current still is a 1,000 litre copper and stainless still built by renowned Italian fabricators Frilli. It is steam injected and has a steam jacket for heating. There are plans to add a second still based on – and perhaps rescuing – an old Australian brandy still.
It is expected that the Porongurup site will be in full production come January 2018.
Originally founded in 2004 by Syme, Great Southern and their brand Limeburners were amongst the first to produce premium Australian single malt. Alongside Lark’s Bill Lark, Sullivans Cove’s Patrick Maguire and Bakery Hill’s David Baker, Syme was a regular face at early whisky shows and events. He is also Vice President of the Australian Distillers Association.
The Limeburners product line has expanded in recent years outside of their traditional port and sherry cask expressions and now features a range of peated expressions, vattings specific to national retail chains, limited release Tiger Snake cask strength and American oak single malts.