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Best australian whiskies

18 Best Australian Whiskies to Drink Right Now

This article features advice and insights from Australian whisky expert and Starward Whisky production director Sam Slaney.

With a climate similar to Scotland, the best Australian whisky mostly comes from a handful of great Tasmanian whisky distilleries. Brands such as Lark, Bakery Hill, and Sullivans Cove have become household names over the years, however, several craft distilleries are now popping up around the country and they’re producing great ‘new world whisky’ that is only a few years old. Finding a great bottle amongst the masses of newcomers is now the challenge, and that’s where our list of the best Australian whisky comes in. Let’s take a look at our favourites.

Best Australian Whisky at a Glance

Highlights from our list of the best goes like this:

Now you’ve read our favourites, let’s check out the complete list.

RELATEDThese are the best Scotch whiskies to drink right now.

Best australian whisky lark 1

1. Lark Classic Cask – Best Overall

Price: from AUD$200

Created by the “God Father of Australian Whisky” himself, Bill Lark, the Lark Classic Cask is the quintessential Australian whisky with the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and savoury elements that will please any die-hard Scotch lover. We’re still uncovering all the tasting notes of this complex drop, but we often go back to toffee, apple crumble, red berries, and crisp citrus, before a smooth custard-like finish with plenty of rich plum pudding.

With the right climate, easy access to barley, natural peat bogs and pure, soft water all in abundance they’re also producing some of our favourite special releases, the best of which is Lark Fresh IPA Cask Single Malt that recently won “Best Australian Single Malt” at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards 2024. A collaboration between New Zealand’s Garage Project, LARK’s single malt casks were seasoned with four of Garage Project’s distinctive IPAs for outstanding tropical flavours. This one is currently sold out so you’ll have to do some digging online or simply dream about the tasting notes that include lime ice cream with subtle grassy hops on the nose, peaches and cream, mouth-watering tropical fruits on the palate, and grapefruit, banana bread, and lychee on the finish. If you can find a bottle, buy it!

ABV: 43%

Nose: Toffee apple with crisp citrus and custard, with time a subtle floral oak reveals itself
Palate: Fruity malt and rich plum pudding, with developing apple crumble and red berries ​
Finish: Viscous and desert-driven, with a crescendo of old tawny oak​

Starward nova
Starward Nova | Image: Starward

2. Starward Nova – Best Value for Money

Price: from AUD$105

Hailing from Victoria, Starward is becoming a household name for its innovative approach to modern whisky production. They’re eschewing the traditions that bind so many other distillers and producing consistently interesting whisky, including a special release Ginger Beer Cask that’s become one of our favourites. Their products are all made from Australian barley, aged in Australian barrels and reflect the terroir with subtlety.

If you’re looking to pick up a bottle for yourself, the Starward Nova single-malt is the pick of the bunch. It’s an improvement over the ‘Two-Fold’ wheat blend that lacks a little character for experienced drinkers. With Nova, the brand says you should expect plenty of red berries, chocolate and soft oak spice. However, we’d add Christmas spice to the mix as well after tasting a bottle of this over a few months. Red wine is front and centre here, while the finish is creamy and soft in the mouth. Overall, very pleasant.

ABV: 41%

Nose: Bold flavours of red berries, dark chocolate and orchard fruit
Palate: Rich chocolate raspberry pudding covered in vanilla, caramel and spice
Finish: Bright red fruit is gradually accompanied by a touch of oak with a soft, long finish

Iniquity talamara
Iniquity, Talamara | Image: Supplied

3. Iniquity Talamara – Best Single Malt

Price: from AUD$99

Iniquity’s Talamara single malt could make a case for the best value-for-money whisky on our list, but it’s a little harder to track down than Starward Nova. Nevertheless, this is a delicious, award-winning whisky that’s been aged for 4 years in Shiraz casks before being finished in a careful mix of port, sherry, and predominately American Oak. Taking home ‘Best Single Malt’ in the Aged 12 Years and Under category at the World Whiskies Awards 2024, it gets its name from being a very lightly peated dram with peat sourced from the Parawa property originally named Talamara.

The tasting notes include bread and marzipan on the palate before a hint of fruit and faint Bunnings sausages. There’s a nice long finish with malt overtones and we’d recommend it to seasoned Scotch drinkers.

ABV: 40%

Nose: Cedar, dry grass or burnt stubble, burnt toast. A well-integrated and complex nose
Palate: Bread and marzipan, full-bodied with a hint of fruit and burnt snags and BBQ ash
Finish: The finish is long and almost delicate with overtones of malt

Lark symphony no 1
Lark, Symphony No. 1 | Image: Supplied

4. Lark Symphony No. 1 – Best Blended

Price: from AUD$150

You can argue with a wall because this is the best blended whisky coming out of Australia. Lark Symphony No. 1 has held the crown as Australia’s best blended malt for 3 years and running at the World Whiskies Awards and has remained a staple of our collection. You should expect a balance of American oak bourbon, sherry, and heavier port that brings mango, toasted pineapple, and orange on the nose before the palate opens up to peaches, apricots, even more mango, and sweet Tasmanian apples dipped in toffee. It’s a great option for whisky lovers who haven’t dived into the greatness of Australian whisky and typically drink Scotch brands like Glendronach.

ABV: 40.2%

Nose: Fresh mango, toasted pineapple, orange, vanilla and tangerines. Luscious and fruity
Palate: Peaches, apricot, even more mango, and sweet Tasmanian apples dipped in toffee
Finish: Fresh fruit and citrus. This whisky has length, poise and balance

The gospel legacy rye
The Gospel Legacy Rye | Image: Supplied

5. The Gospel Legacy Rye – Best Rye

Price: from AUD$145

One of our favourite limited-release whiskeys from our friends at The Gospel, Legacy Rye is a dedication to Andrew and Ben’s great love of American-style whiskeys. This is a 3-year-old whiskey distilled from a mash bill of 59% Mallee Rye, 35% Australian Corn and 6% Australian Malt Barley. Think Maryland-style ryes. The fellas aged this liquid in a heavy toast and high char cask in the middle of the bond store and the result is flavours of orange marmalade, lemon curd, toasted cedar, burnt toffee, fig and leatherwood honey. If you don’t believe us, take it from the World Whiskies Awards 2024 where this bottle won ‘Best Rye’ in the Aged 12 Years and Under category. If you can find a bottle, buy it before it disappears!

ABV: 56%

Notes: Orange marmalade, lemon curd, toasted cedar, burnt toffee, fig and leatherwood honey

Transportation whiskey the journey single cask
Transportation Whiskey, The Journey Single Cask | Image: Supplied

6. Transportation Whiskey The Journey Single Cask – Best Pot Still

Price: from AUD$389

Limited to just 65 bottles, this is an Australian whiskey for enthusiasts and purists. The brand, Transportation Whiskey, aged their ‘The Journey’ in a 70-year-old Seppeltsfield port cask for more than 3 years and brought outstanding pot still mouthfeel and creaminess to the table. It’s a great option for people who love drinking Irish whiskey brands like Red Breast, and you don’t even have to crack open the bottle to give it a try as it comes with 4 samples from moments in the drams life. Try the new make spirit, 8 months, 16 months and 2-year samples next to the over 3-year-old whiskey and find out the differences.

While we’re honest in saying we haven’t had a chance to try this one, we had to include it because it’s an award-winning whisky from the World Whiskies Awards 2024 where it won ‘Best Pot Still’ in the No Age Statement category.

ABV: 57.6%

Hellyers road distillery the voyager cask 57 small batch single malt
Hellyers Road Distillery, The Voyager Cask, 57% | Image: Supplied

7. Hellyers Road Distillery The Voyager Cask – Best Age Statement

Price: from AUD$645

Hellyers Road Distillery’s ‘The Voyager Cask’ is a special cask release that was distilled and filled into American Oak casks (from Kentucky, Tennessee) in 2003 and matured for 16 years. Secondary maturation was then accomplished in a single French Oak cask (used for wine and liqueur maturation) for 3 more years, and the result is a unique coloured whisky with plenty of flavour.

It won the ‘best small batch single malt’ category at the World Whiskies Awards 2024 and brings “caramel quickly to the forefront of the palate before hints of toffee apple and malt chocolate. Subtle cereal and oak notes provide a deft but delightful undertone. All the nuances of distillation come through elegantly,” according to the brand’s website. We’re yet to try a sample of this bottle, but with a top-tier rating at the awards, we have reason to believe it’s the best age statement you can currently get your hands on.

ABV: 57%

Nose: Honey-lashed orange Jaffa marry beautifully with Lindt dark chocolate and lemon marmalade on toast – proudly ensconced with a butterscotch cloak. Delicate green apple adds a crisp and floral zest.
Palate: Caramel quickly comes to the fore with hints of toffee apple and malt chocolate in cameo. Subtle cereal and oak notes provide a deft but delightful undertone. All the nuances of distillation come through elegantly.
Finish: Warming to the core, this expression is elegant with a smooth and reassuring medium-length finish.

Morris rutherglen tokay barrel
Morris Tokay Barrel | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

8. Morris Tokay Barrel

Price: from AUD$145

It’s funny to call this Australian whisk brand “up-and-coming” because they’re award winners on the biggest stage of them all and have a history as one of the country’s great aged wine makers. Making some of the best affordable single malt whisky in Australia, the Morris Tokay Barrel is the stand-out release in our books. Not only was it a Double Gold medalist at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, but it’s won GOLD at the World Whisky Masters 2023, GOLD at the International Spirits Challenge 2023, GOLD at the World Whisky Masters (Spirits Bus. Mag) 2022 and 2023, and PLATINUM at the SIP Awards 2023.

Most importantly, it’s utterly delicious. It’s similar to the red wine matured single malts from Inituity and Starward, but turns things up to eleven with plenty of fresh fruit, white chocolate creme brulee, and toasted spice before a finish filled with raisins and honeycomb.

ABV: 48%

Nose: Subtle intensity of rich dried orchard fruits, malted butterscotch and burnt toffee pecan
Palate: The vibrance of fresh fruit, layered with rich flavours of white chocolate creme brulee and a hint of toasted spice
Finish: Lavish and indulgent, the long finish of vibrant raisin flavours gives way to warm malted honeycomb

Coastal stone xplore
Coastal Stone, Xplore | Image: Supplied

9. Coastal Stone Xplore

Price: from AUD$79

One of the cheapest award-winning bottles to wine at the World Whiskies Awards 2024, Coastal Stone’s Xplore can now claim the title of Australia’s best-blended whisky in the no-age-statement category. Made in Brookvale on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, this dram is a careful blend of Australian grains that have been aged in both ex-Bourbon Amercian Oak and ex-Australian Shiraz barrels. The result is a 40% whisky that noses with tropical fruits before honey and butterscotch on the front of the palate and a pumpkin spice meets caramel finish.

Of course, you can’t go into this expecting the world, but if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful dram, this provides the smooth finish first-time whisky drinkers will be looking for. Also great in cocktails! If you want to level up from here, check out Starward Two-Fold or Nova if you want to get into the world of single-malt.

ABV: 40%

Nose: Tropical fruits, floral honeysuckle, and sweet spice aromatics jump out of the glass
Palate: Bold honeyed flavours of butterscotch, marshmallow and molasses, with an essence of juicy red delicious apples
Finish: Rich, long and refreshing back palate of pumpkin spice and caramel

Waubs harbour distillery waubs original

10. Waubs Harbour Distillery Waubs Original

Price: from AUD$170

We’ve been patiently waiting for Waubs Harbour Distillery to get its flowers, and now they have, claiming the title as the best small batch single malt (aged 12 years and under) at the World Whiskies Awards 2024. It’s a great achievement for one of the country’s youngest distilleries, but one that’s been earned with a delicious ‘Original’ dram aged in American Oak ex-Bourbon casks. Tasting notes for this one include big toffee sweetness on the front of the palate, perfectly balanced by salty character additions such as biscuits, creamed apples, light florals and nectar.

ABV: 43%

Nose: Delicate sweet spices, there’s a salty mineral element that only enhances the toffee
Palate: Big toffee sweetness but the saltiness cuts through to balance it perfectly. That salty character addition enables the malt and the cask influence to shine with biscuits, creamed apples, light florals and nectar.
Finish: Just yum, you get that tawny butter in the back palate and more caramel butterscotch up front, almost like cookie dough

Whipper snapper rye
Whipper Snapper, Rye | Image: Supplied

11. Whipper Snapper Rye

Price: from AUD$150

If we had to give out an award for the best label, we’d choose Whipper Snapper Rye. Not only does this bottle look great, but it hits on all the great things we look for in a rye whisky with a spicy ABV of 48% that’s balanced by good sweetness on the palate with sweet mint, spicy vanilla, rich caramel, hazelnut, and orange peel. These folks are harnessing the greatness of the Western Australian Wheatbelt with grains that date 1911 and producing a high-ratio-rye (85%) and aging in a single barrel. If you love The Gospel but want to try something different, check out Whipper Snapper.

ABV: 48%

Notes: Spicy vanilla, orange peel, cherry cola, clove, and salted toffee.

Eden folklore
Eden, Folklore | Image: Supplied

12. Eden Whisky Folklore Double Oak

Price: from AUD$199

If you often find yourself in a room with whisky lovers, check out Eden’s Folklore Double Oak 50.4% ABV single malt Australian whisky. It’s sure to raise a few eyebrows with a gorgeous bottle design and award-winning flavours, according to the judges at the World Whiskies Awards 2024. They voted this dram as the best Small Batch Single Malt in the ‘no-age statement’ category and while we haven’t had a chance to try it for ourselves (yet) from the tasting notes, it’s easy to see why. The marriage of a South Australian Apera Cask (French Oak) and a Virgin American Oak Cask imparts plenty of creamy vanilla across the palate with hints of honeycomb and almond before creme brule, caramel, dark chocolate and White pepper to finish.

ABV: 50.4%

Nose: Vanilla bean, honeycomb, Almonds and white pepper
Palate: Vanilla bean, honey, creme brule, caramel, warm peppers
Finish: Vanilla, dark chocolate and White pepper

Hillwood whisky peated sherry cask 150
Hillwood Whisky, Peated Sherry Cask 150 | Image: Supplied

13. Hillwood Whisky Peated Sherry Cask 150

Price: from AUD$330

Finished in a peated Sherry Cask aged in French oak wood Hillwood Whisky’s Peated Sherry Cask 150 is one of the more unique offerings on our list. It’s far from the cheapest, limiting its reach to welded-on whisky lovers, but it’s limited and super tasty with new wood and warm smoke on the nose before the palate works its way through sultanas, raisins, dark chocolate, peaty malted barley and Ceylon tea.

ABV: 60.5%

Nose: Resinous, hot sand, new wood and warm smoke
Palate: Sultanas, raisins and dark chocolate with a drying sweetness and a hint of Ceylon tea
Finish: Decadent with more of the rich oaky sweetness of the palate

Backwoods distilling co shiraz cask
Backwoods Distilling Co., Shiraz Cask | Image: Supplied

14. Backwoods Distilling Co. Shiraz Cask

Price: from AUD$145

Aged four years old in ex-Shiraz barrels, Backwoods Distilling Co. has crafted a unique Australian rye whiskey with multiple awards to its name, including a Gold and Rye Category Winner at the World Whiskies Awards 2024. In terms of flavour, the palate opens with baked rye bread before warm ginger spice and a smooth finish with plenty of Belgian chocolate. You can have your pick on ABV, but we’d recommend the award-winning 46% drop for your first taste of this bottle.

ABV: 46%

Nose: Freshly baked rye bread
Palate: Inviting notes of ginger spice, adding depth and character to each sip
Finish: Velvety smooth finish, accentuated by luxurious chocolate

Bakery hill classic malt
Bakery Hill Classic Malt | Image: Supplied

15. Bakery Hill Classic Malt

Price: from AUD$170

Located a half-hour from Melbourne’s CBD in Balwyn North sits Bakery Hill. The Australian whiskey brand has been in production since 2000 and was first made available to the public in 2003, by no means is this a newcomer to the world of Aussie drams. Bakery Hill’s selection includes a single cask malt offering in peated and non-peated varieties, which are both available at cask strength if preferred. We prefer the non-peated cask strength, a little hot on the palate initially, but that’s only complemented by the sweet notes that develop throughout.

ABV: 46%

Nose: A complex sweet multi-layering of green apples, and spiced honey with just a hint of cider
Palate: The flavour ramps up kaleidoscopically from nutmeg through spiced honey to a firm cereal with a malty richness layered on as a finale
Finish: Mouth-filling, smooth and lingering, leaving a satisfying warmth. Inspection of the glass reveals amazingly luscious legs of this superb malt whisky

Overeem port cask matured
Overeem Port Cask Matured | Image: Supplied

16. Overeem Port Cask Matured

Price: from AUD$279

Overeem only offers three products (in two different strengths) in its core range: Port Cask Matured, Sherry Cask Matured, and Bourbon Cask Matured, but that hasn’t stopped this Australian whiskey brand from experimenting as the whisky landscape becomes more innovative. From the core range, our favourite drop is the Cask Strength Port Matured with its rich palate of butterscotch, creme brulee, rum-soaked raisins, plum pudding, and the delicious spicy finish.

ABV: 60%

Best australian whiskey brands archie rose
Archie Rose Single Malt | Image: Archie Rose

17. Archie Rose Single Malt

Price: from AUD$112

A familiar face in the Australian spirits industry Archie Rose has created an award-winning Single Malt whiskey. Before it was even publicly released, the bottle won Australia’s Best Single Malt Whisky at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the World Whisky Masters in London and the SIP Awards in California – so let’s just say, it’s more than qualified to be on this list. Unfortunately for punters, the major recognition this bottle has commandeered has meant that it’s extremely difficult to source. So keep an eye out for this one as it gets released, or you’ll probably miss out. Other limited releases in the brand’s history include a Red Gum Smoked Single Malt, as well as a Molasses Rum Cask Single Malt that has to be sipped to be believed.

ABV: 46%

Nose: Sun-dried apricots, preserved peaches and handmade honeycomb, laced with sultanas. A second pass yields, muesli, roasted nuts and chalk. The background teases lurking cacao and dark chocolate
Palate: A soft entry and syrupy texture delivers an unctuous mouthfeel. The sweetness of sultanas is prominent, yet balanced by dryness delivered from the malt. This makes way for flavours of amaretto and espresso, building the intensity to a crescendo
Finish: Evolving with a satisfying dryness with a whisper of smoke

Best australian whiskey brands sullivans cove
Sullivan’s Cove French Oak | Image: Dan Murphy’s

18. Sullivan’s Cove French Oak

All the greats start from humble beginnings, but for Australian whiskey brand Sullivan’s Cove, it was a change in ownership that saw its popularity change in the early 2000s. Originally founded in Sullivan’s Cove, the distillery moved to Cambridge in 2004 where its fortunes changed, and by 2007 the brand started to gain international recognition that included ‘Liquid Gold’ status (95/100 points) in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Today, they produce some of the most sought-after and best whisky in the world and we’ve outlined two of our favourite bottles below.

The staple Sullivan’s Cove French Oak remains our overall favourite. This beautiful single malt was named the best in the world in 2020 and has been almost impossible to get a hold of ever since. While bottles from the original winning cask disappeared by the time the award was bestowed to the distillery (though a few are probably still floating out there, valued in the thousands), you can get a single bottle of the current release for around AUD$600, if you’re lucky.

ABV: 47.5%

Alternatives to These Australian Whiskies

  • Amber Lane Liquid Amber Sherry Cask (from AUD$169): Amber Lane is an award-winning distillery located in Yarramalong Valley, just north of Sydney. One of our favourite craft Australian whisky brands, they recently made it onto our list of the best after their ‘Liquid Amber’ sherry cask expression became a Silver Medallist (Single Malt Whisky) at the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards. We picked up a bottle to try ourselves and were immediately blown away by the strong notes of honey, exotic blossoms, and rich earth just as described. The combination of multiple premium apera and PX casks, with a hint of bourbon cask adds flavours of toffee, chocolate-coated honeycomb, maple syrup, orange zest, dried apricots, and figs on the palate.
  • McHenry Distillery 10-Year-Old American Oak Single Malt (from AUD$195): As Australia’s Southernmost distillery, McHenry has the cleanest air and water in the world at its fingertips and the influence shows in its products. The distillery sits on the side of Mount Arthur, overlooking Port Arthur, and directly facing the South Pole, which lies some 5,000 km away. The Single Malt Whisky they produce isn’t like any other, with a pleasant, rich sweetness dominating the flavours and opening the door to delicate flavours, which play off each other very nicely. As one of the less common products on this list, it should be a priority for any adventurous whisky lover.
  • Timboon Distillery Christie’s Cut Cask Strength (from AUD$225): Timboon Distillery is located in the tiny town of Timboon, Western Victoria, and the distillery is set up in an old railway shed and produces an array of spirits and liqueurs, including this single malt whisky. Their ‘Christie’s Cut’ is easily our favourite, named after Detective Inspector Christie (ex-boxer and bodyguard to Prince Alfred hired by the government to stamp out the illegal distilling practices of Tom Delaney who was renowned for his high-quality whisky made in Timboon). This whisky is a beautiful example of an unrestrained single malt and displays a balance of flavours with a pleasant viscosity and smooth, clean finish.
  • Limeburners Director’s Cut Peated Sherry (from AUD$240): Limeburners ruffled a few whisky feathers when its AUD$700, 122-proof, Heavy Peated Whisky took out the top accolade at Australia’s Champion Whisky Trophy in 2016, but today we’re focused on something more obtainable. The Director’s Cut Peated Sherry 61% is our favourite drop from this Australian whiskey brand, a cask-strength single-barrel whisky with sweet sherry and malt, rich chocolate, prunes and stewed fruits. Peat flavours arrive after the sherry notes which is simply delightful.
  • Hellyers Road Distillery, The American Oak 16 Years Old, 60.7% – Single Cask Single Malt (from AUD$540): It was a clean sweep for the legends at Hellyers Road Distillery in the aged statements category for the World Whiskies Awards 2024 and it starts with The American Oak 16 Years Old. This dram was fully matured in American Oak ex-Bourbon casks and imparts flavours of ginger, orange, toffee, and subtle chocolate. It’s an achievement to age a whisky 16 years in our harsh climate, but after first distilling this dram on November 6th, 2003, there was a plan to keep this one around for the long haul.
  • Cradle Mountain Distillery (from AUD$500): Cradle Mountain has been around since the early 90s but has flown under the radar as one of Australia’s better stills. Also one of the most highly sought-after Australian whisky brands, the vast majority of their range sits out of stock (due to the ageing processes involved) so we recommend getting in contact via the link below if looking to purchase a bottle for yourself. Keen consumers are pretty quick to snap up each release as it becomes available and the 17yo expression would be our pick of the bunch. We love the clarity in the mid-palate of this fine whisky, which in no doubt is thanks to the crystal clear Tasmanian water used in production.

Why You Should Trust Our List

With more than 10 years of experience covering whisky, Man of Many’s team of editors, including author Ben McKimm have had the unique opportunity to taste some of the best Australian whiskies on the market, even sitting sitting down with the great Bill Lark for a dram. You’ll understand that tasting every whisky on this list is an impossible task, so we’ve turned to those who have experience, industry experts and master distillers who have provided an accurate list of tasting notes for those drams that we haven’t tasted just yet. We’ve also turned to the wider public for their overall ratings before collating the information together and measuring the whisky via overall flavour profile, reader ratings and commercial availability.

Lark chinotto cask 1
Bill Lark tasting his latest creation | Image: Lark

What the Experts Say About Australian Whisky

When Sullivan’s Cove took out top honours at the World Whisky Awards in 2014 with their French Oak was crowned the best single malt whisky in the world, the world’s gaze turned to Tasmania. The unassuming island had, for the last two decades, slowly been crawling back as an Australian whisky-producing region of repute and renown. Though the Apple Isle’s industry was outlawed in the 19th century, a one-man mission to bring back the art of craft spirits in 1992 saw the inception of Lark Distillery, a poky shed stuck next to a winery, not far from Hobart airport.

Owner & founder Bill Lark re-invigorated a whiskey industry lost to over-regulation and zeal over a century before and, before too long, others followed. The tight-knit community of distillers that populate the island state includes some big names and seriously expensive drops, as demand has sky-rocketed in the past few years.

“It’s a great time for Australian whisky, the groundwork paved by some of Australia’s modern craft distillers (Lark, Sullivan’s Cove and Bakery Hill in Melbourne) has set up the industry for growth and we are seeing more whisky distilleries releasing more consistent quality affordable whisky,” Sam Slaney, Australian whisky expert and production director at Starward Whisky tells Man of Many.

“It’s a defining moment for Australian whisky, and we are seeing more distilleries not just making a single malt but using other grains and stills to produce an array of innovative whiskies including rye, wheat and mixed grain whiskies, as well as incorporating different malts into the process to lead flavour change.

How the Industry is Changing

According to Slaney, the youth of the Australian whisky industry is part of its charm. With small players getting in on the act, it gives the local industry a chance to experiment with flavours and profiles that more established regions wouldn’t dare to.

“Corio distillery closed in the mid-1980s, and this represented a completely different whisky to what we have seen since the 1990s with the modern push for more full-flavoured single malt whisky,” Slaney says.

“The attitude to Australian whisky was poor quality and cheap, and this has been completely reversed by the closure of the big old distilleries and the emergence of new craft producers who are focused on the liquid quality over cost and scale. Now Australian whisky is being sought out around the world, with independent bottlers releasing Australian whiskies alongside other world and traditional whisky nations.”

Your FAQs Answered

What is the best Australian single-malt whisky?

Lark Fresh IPA Cask returned home from the World Whiskies Awards 2024 with the honour of calling itself the Best Australian Single Malt. A collaboration between New Zealand’s Garage Project, LARK’s single malt casks were seasoned with four of Garage Project’s distinctive IPAs for outstanding tropical flavours. This one is currently sold out so you’ll have to do some digging online or simply dream about the tasting notes that include lime ice cream with subtle grassy hops on the nose, peaches and cream, mouth-watering tropical fruits on the palate, and grapefruit, banana bread, and lychee on the finish. If you can find a bottle, buy it!

Does Australia produce peated whiskies?

Yes, Australia makes peated whisky. The most common bottle is Tasmanian Peated from Lark Distilling which uses peat from Browns Marsh in Tasmania.

Who makes the oldest Australian whisky?

Hellyers Road Distillery, The American Oak 21 Years Old – Cask 2157.05 is the oldest official bottling of an Australian single cask single malt whisky. This is an award-winner at the World Whiskies Awards 2024 and is now sold out, but those lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle should expect an incredibly complex and nuanced flavour profile that brings “grapefruit and marmalade lean into vanilla custard, light spice and soft nuttiness, giving way to tropical fruits alongside thick butterscotch and a malt undertone,” according to the brand. We’ll have to take their word for it because we’ll never get the chance to taste this one!

What is the best Australian Scotch?

Technically to be called a ‘Scotch’ whisky it must be produced and come from Scotland, but there are still many great Australian whisky brands such as Sullivan’s Cove which is often compared to those from Scotland for their cask finished and traditional methods.