We asked one of Australia’s most popular ‘cult distillers’, renowned for limited edition releases and his dedication to craft distilling, for a ‘big’ whisky and something that showcased his style for our members and boy did he deliver – His very first Sherry Bomb – a 1st Fill Oloroso cask, bottled at a whopping Cask Strength 64.5% and its exclusively made for our members.
Hold onto your hats and please welcome Craft Works Distillery’s ‘Some May Welcome Change’. A whisky dedicated to our little club (hint – look at the initials in the name!) and a new direction from Crafty – 1st fill Oloroso Sherry Matured whisky! His first bone-fide sherry bomb!
(We left the name up to him as well – in true Crafty style his answer was both left-field.. and spot on! Some May Welcome Change – notice the initials!)
The Members Extra for our ‘Waratah Wonders’ finale is from perhaps the most flamboyant and infectiously good, humoured distiller in Australia. He won Bronze as ‘Whisky Personality of the Year’ at the Australian Whisky Awards last year and Craig ‘Crafty’ Field’s whisky is just as engaging as he is.
Craft Works Distillery has developed quite the cult following in the Australian whisky ‘scene’. Renowned for limited edition releases and a dedication to the craft of whisky production – Crafty’s releases sell out quicker than a wig in a cyclone, and this one will be no different!
We’ve been talking with Crafty for a while now after meeting down at the ‘Epic in the Valley’ event in March. The ‘Waratah Wonders’ series was deemed as the perfect time to release a whisky dedicated to the Single Malt Whisky Club. You see, Crafty loves what we do just as much as we love what he does – so it seemed natural to do a collaborative whisky for the club from a fan of the club! We told crafty we wanted a ‘big’ whisky, something that showcased his style – and indulged his whimsy. And did he ever deliver!
For our Members Extra for August, none other than the very first Sherry matured whisky from Craft Works Distillery. Made from NSW Riverina barley – malted and roasted to a bespoke formula for Crafty by NSW’s Voyager Craft Malt. Pure, soft, spring-water from Wolgan Valley, the only thing non-NSW is the cask it’s matured in. Nothing less than a 1st fill Spanish Oloroso Sherry cask. This is a cask strength, NSW Sherry Bomb, and offered at a humungous cask strength of 64.6%, it’s a knockout by name and nature!
Created and named as a tribute to our humble club and available through The Single Malt Whisky Club for the first time ever! A fantastic whisky of epic proportions with all those fruity, chocolate-y flavours we long for in a sherry matured stunner such as this!
Nose: For me it’s straight-up chocolate at first. But then some really difficult to pinpoint notes – some aniseed, some paprika and then just a smidge of nail polish remover is hiding there as well.
Palate: At first it’s a rather dry mouthfeel. But it creeps around the inside of your cheeks with very little alcohol burn (surprisingly at this abv)… and then the fruit explodes! Plums, sultanas and mixed peel individually, then all stewed together with a real marzipan thing going on at the same time.
Finish: Long and complex – so many flavours rolling around in there! The stewed fruit persists, but is overthrown by coffee and the aniseed makes a comeback just as the curtain start to draw closed.
FROM CRAFT WORKS DISTILLERY
This is a special one-off releases exclusive for the Single Malt Whisky Club.
For the release we have selected a single cask, old wood Spanish Oloroso sherry cask bottled at natural cask strength, a whopping 64.6% ABV.
It’s a big single malt whisky that showcases the Craft Works Distillery signature profile as the malted barley mash bill flavour punches through.
It’s a marriage of malt and cask that is balanced and tasty. The Oloroso deliveries all those expected sherry and dry nuttiness notes whilst the malt contributes another layer.
Our release is called Some May Welcome Change for the simple reason it’s a call to action to try something different and hopefully you enjoy it and will share with your friends. The Australian single malt whisky landscape is extensive and varied in flavours and offerings so there is something out there for everyone to explore as some may welcome change.
ABOUT CRAFT WORKS DISTILLERY
The Craft Works Whisky Company was founded in 2015 and this was the start of what would become Craft Works Distillery. The first step on this new journey was to enter the world of independent bottling so by the end of 2015, the very first sherry cask was filled with unaged whisky spirit.
As Crafty as I became known, I started to fill an assortment of casks using unaged whisky spirit from several NSW distillers. This continued until 2018. At the same time, I was looking at how I could make my own unaged whisky spirit, mature it in a variety of casks and make NSW single malt whisky. It was clear to me to do this I needed my own distillery.
In August 2017 after much searching, I settled upon a small 60 sqm metal shed at the back of a rural pub in a place called Capertee in NSW. Capertee approx. 3 hours from Sydney and approx. 800m about sea level is on the edge of the majestic Capertee Valley, one of the widest canyons in the world. The reason this location was selected was due to its proximity to Sydney, its climate and it just felt like a great place to make single malt whisky. At Capertee temperatures range from high 30s to sub zero, it is this seasonal variation when combined with regular lower pressure systems that drives the barrel maturation.
Craft Works Distillery began making single malt whisky at the beginning of 2018 and straight off the bat I decided I didn’t want to make a scotch style whisky using just a single type of barley. Instead, I wanted to use a grain recipe or mash bill consisting of various types of barley including some roasted. This approach is more common in the US with single malt whisky as many distillers come from a brewery background. The Craft Works Distillery mash bill became known as ‘I AM’… and it is the main flavour profile used currently and matured in a variety of casks including bourbon, sherry, port, rum, and sherry seasoned wine casks to name but a few.
The engine room of making Craft Works whisky is our 970-litre full copper pot still called Sunflower Still No1. It was built in 2017 and installed 2018 by Burns Welding & Fabrications in Griffith NSW made by Mark Burns. Due to the squat nature of the still and the angle of the lyne arm, it leans itself towards producing a heavier spirit and when combined with the wide spirit cuts off the still and the use of some heavily roasted malts, the unaged whisky spirit is big in flavour and character. Craft Works I AM… style whiskies are heavier, not your lighter fruity floral style of whisky. As Craft Works Distillery use a range of various casks, there is some variation from release to release but the strong base flavour of I AM… is always there.
At Craft Works Distillery we place a lot of importance on telling the story and the journey of Craft Works Distillery which has evolved over time. In 2018 Todd aka “The Todd” joined me, first as friend helping in the shed but over time he developed into my right-hand man and now together we plot the course of the Craft Works Distillery casks. In 2022 we released the first whisky that was distilled by Todd called Time & Wages Bumblebee, a rich sherry but honey influenced whisky and with much acclaim it was one of our fastest to sell out.
Craft Works Distillery is a family affair, privately owned and operated with an all-hands-on deck approach when needed in the business. In a small craft distillery, it’s physical work from the handling the grain bags to finally resting the filled casks.
I am proud of the spirit we produce and the connections I have made. I am proud that I have become affectionately known as Crafty as we continue to tell our story, ‘Humanising the Art of Whisky’ and continue our journey.
“I am a Craft Worker therefore I am …”
Simply it means, what I do is a craft, its physical sensory work and it gives me happiness. It fits beautifully with my personal philosophy of, in life you need to have a passion and a purpose to be happy.
Craft Works single malt whisky drinkers are people who are interested in the story of a craft artisan spirit, people who appreciate the art, the craft and the exploration of what you can create as a small producer.
I am proud of the spirit I produce, I am proud of the connections I have made and I am proud that I have become affectionately known as Crafty.