The Whisky


We set out to make a single malt that was discernibly different from other Australian whiskies, something where regardless of barrel ageing, the characteristic Kinglake spirit could be picked out in a blind line up.

We realised that in Kinglake (and in our site in particular) we had a location that we were not only incredibly passionate about but could also lend our spirit unique characteristics.

Chantal a 3rd Generation Kinglaker, is passionate about what makes Kinglake a special place for a whisky distillery. Winters in Kinglake are hard, months of cold and dark weather and this, together with the bushfire danger makes the people who stay a determined breed with a special relationship to the area and its local businesses.


This local climate affects the ageing process of the whisky too. Extremes of temperature during the barrel-ageing process are a feature of most Australia malts however, adding in the very high humidity of Kinglake is more unique.

Perhaps the most important Kinglake variable that allows us to make a very distinctive spirit is our use of local Spring Water. Chyser Creek rises from a natural Spring located on the distillery property. After analysis we realised that this water has the perfect iron and calcium characteristics for making whisky. It is used directly from the source, completely un-treated. We are one of very few distilleries in Australia that has its own source of water, the foundation of any single malt.


We use a four grain mash-bill.

Three are sourced from Voyager Malts in New South Wales. We love Voyager as every bag is single origin with exact information on who grew the grain, where and when it was harvested, and when it was malted.

We start with an Atlas La Trobe malt, an Australian barley equivalent to the famous European Maris Otter. We then amp up our biscuity maltiness by adding 20% high-kilned Vienna Schooner malt.

Then Chocolate roasted malt but only a little, 4%. A small amount gives a light milk choc edge to traditional bourbon vanilla and toffee…too much is like 100% Cacao chocolate, incredibly bitter. This also comes through at the end of the distillation so works well in tandem with our final malt.

25% Simpson Heavily Peated Malt all the way from the Scottish-English borders. Why do we ship it all the way from Scotland when some distilleries make their own peated malt here in Australia? Because we're looking for complexity not simply a smokey taste.

Australian peated malt, is usually barley that has been malted already, then peat smoke put through it afterwards. Like making a Butter Chicken and then trying to make it into a Vindaloo by adding a ton of chilli. Hot but not right. Barley malted with peat in the traditional way is complex not just ‘smokey’ and includes many other flavours, medicinal for example.

A hand-stirred mash is less precise, less exact because no huge stirrers and closed, controlled environment. This means as well as the purely fermentable sugars, we are also getting some un-fermentable sugars. These will carry through into the still and again give our spirit more mouthfeel and depth.


Our isolated off-grid distillery location away from main roads, flight paths and housing mean air pollution is low. Because of this we are one of only a handful of distilleries using open ferments for our whisky wash. We are surrounded by towering Mountain Ash, Messmate and Peppermint gumtrees and the air in hot weather is pungent with eucalyptus pollens. Our open ferments and open-door distilling allows all these natural pollens and yeasts to become part of the fermentation process.

Our traditional M1 Yeast is very voracious and eats most of the sugars it can in the first 48 hours, creating a variety of delicate yet complex esters and congeners. But it can make a very dry wash because it eats all the sugar. However because we have some of those unfermentable sugars in there too, our spirit retains some sweetness even when using M1.

Our ferments are left open for whole period. Whilst the M1 is working there is not much chance for others to get a look in, but once it's finished the natural yeasts and pollens have a chance to get involved and the wash sours and also accumulates some delicate local pollens in the hotter months. When distilled the sourness, and sweetness of the un-fermentables, helps creates a unique new make spirit.


The final piece of the jigsaw in translating these local features into our new-make spirit is our approach to our distillation and our final cut runs deep into the tails or feints. This not only means that we harvest the maximum impact from the chocolate and peat in our four-grain mash-bill but that all the richness and depth from foibles of using unfiltered water and open fermentations are given a chance to shine. 


Because the natural environment is so fundamental to our whisky, we are very conscious of doing what we can to promote looking after it. As such we not only donated 1/3 of our 50 acres property to Greenfleet to re-wild back to natural bush, we were the first (and still the only) Australia distillery making a Carbon Neutral whisky (albeit it’s important to state this not only involves committing to reducing our carbon footprint annually but also purchasing offsets).


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