Not only do Phil and Rod at Amber Lane make brilliant choices in wood to mature their whisky in, but that their base product – the spirit itself – is world class. I think the ‘focus on the spirit, and the whisky will come’ mantra is well in effect here.
The Amber Lane ‘style’ of whisky is very much ‘malt-forward’. They are looking to highlight flavours from the barley itself in their whisky. To this end, they are very selective of the wood they use to mature their lovingly crafted spirit. They exclusively use old, large capacity casks for their maturation. No 50L barrels in this bondstore!
They are not looking for massive past-life influences from the wood. Rather, they are looking for wood that will temper and refine their spirit – without compromising the ‘malt forward’ flavour profile they aim for. Augment the malty goodness of their new-make, without overpowering it. Maturation rather than saturation, is the name of the game here.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of fruity notes and other influences from the casks, but these really sit around the malty core, rather than being the featured notes.
Nose: Such an enticing and complex nose – it’s a distinct malty core wrapped with a tempting fruity sweetness, but there’s also green olives and faint leather notes there too.
Palate: Luscious, mouth coating oilyness – very syrupy indeed. A brief flash of white pepper burst precedes juicy fruit chewing gum notes, vanilla, honey and chocolate with sweet vanilla-malty biscuits (Malt-O-Milk?) to round it out.
Finish: long, chewy and thoroughly delicious with big ginger notes, chocolate, espresso coffee and freshly cut vanilla pods and (is that?) some all-spice… all in a big Milk Arrowroot embrace.
Big, fruity vanilla goodness, with a heart of pure malt. The Amber Lane Distillery SMWC Edition is a big, complex and rewarding whisky that really wants you to sift through it’s many flavours and tones and notes. I’m just so enamoured with the way the malt pushes through the lovely fruit notes.
FROM AMBER LANE DISTILLERY
Colour: Gorgeous golden amber colour
Nose: brimming with candy sweetness, with notes of barley, toffee, mangoes and cherry ripe
Taste: Summer fruits, honey, maple syrup, vanilla pods, crystallised ginger, lime tart and Caramello Bear.
Finish: long, complex and sweet.
ABOUT AMBER LANE DISTILLERY
The Amber Lane story was forged in the stars. Friends and fellow amateur astronomers Rod Berry and Phil Townsend were enjoying dark rural night skies at Coonabarabran NSW during 2017 when serendipity intervened. During a daytime excursion in the region, they stumbled upon a small whisky distillery, and a dream coalesced. A sense of destiny has marked every step which has followed.
Located just outside of Wyong on the central-coast of NSW, Amber Lane have been making their spirit since 2018. However they only came to market in April 2022 to allow the spirit to more extensively mature and develop complex notes not achievable in younger casks.
They use large format casks – 250 and 300L sherry casks from Spain, and 200L Bourbon casks from Heaven Hill in Kentucky. Using larger barrels means that the beautiful barley sweetness of the new make (which we are very proud of) is not drowned by the cask. We want to showcase the spirit as well as the quality of the casks, and to create whisky that is complex and balanced.
Amber Lane strives to produce refined, beautiful and delicious whisky in a traditional style which brings satisfaction and joy to all those who partake. They focus on bringing together the natural sweetness of the barley in the new make with high quality aged casks from Spain and Kentucky that bring depth and richness to every dram.