From one of Australia’s up and coming artisanal distilleries comes a hand-made whisky exclusive to The Single Malt Whisky Club – The 5Nines Tawny Port Special Edition. A whisky matured in carefully selected Tawny port casks and seasoned by the distillery themselves, perfected and bottled for you. Add to the fact only South Australian products were used in the entire process and they even built from scratch their own still, we are very proud to release the 5Nines Tawny Port Special!
This is the first whisky that 5Nines have made to their exact specifications and desires, so what we have this month is a whisky that can truly be said to be artisanal. Every step (bar the growing and malting of the barley) is done in-house by the 5Nines team.
When I was first sent samples from 5Nines, the only information I was given the was sample number and alcohol percentage. A blind tasting with no pre-conceived notions of what I was in for. They were all very nice, but one stood out as having a certain x-factor.
Without prompting, my long-suffering better half identified ‘sample 147’ as her favourite of the bunch as well. Now, to be completely transparent, the love of my life is a ‘don’t know much about whisky, but I know what I like’ type – so she couldn’t explain exactly what drew her to ‘sample 147’ either but she definitely liked it best – as did I. So the ‘pro whisky guy’ and the relative newbie both came to the same conclusion – ‘sample 147’ had a certain je ne sais quoi about it. Some indefinable something that made it stand out from the rest for both of us. It was nice, different, it was unusual!
I was genuinely surprised – as well as intrigued – to find what we’d chosen was exactly the whisky the 5Nines team had hoped we’d choose. As it turns out they were quite excited because the release of this whisky marks a special moment for 5Nines – their first whisky made to their exact specifications and desires. And to have it blind chosen by the missus and I was (as you can imagine) a moment for the team.
The barley 5Nines use is sourced from their own contracted farmer in the York Peninsula (who coincidentally also grows for Ian Schmidt’s Tin Shed Distillery). Once harvested the barley is malted by Coopers (the only step not done in-house) and is then delivered back to 5Nines for either milling and steeping (in this case) or peat smoking if they are doping a peated wash.
The malt is then milled and mashed, then the wash set to ferment. This is the one stage of their process they keep close to their chests. All done in-house, of course.
Once the fermented wash is ready to distil, they fire up their own self-made still. Yep that’s right – their 1000L copper pot still was made entirely by hand by Steven. A noteworthy achievement in it’s own right!
The raw spirit is then aged in casks sourced and chosen by the 5Nines team themselves. Months of research, phone calls and road trips to wineries around South Australia (tough job eh?) allowed the 5Nines crew to hand choose their own barrels. These were then ‘touched up’ as needed by local coopers. The casks were then filled and with Tawny Port (once again!) selected specifically by 5Nines (from a S.A. winery – are we seeing a pattern here?) for the job, then left to sit and season the barrels prior to filling with the 5Nines new make.
The whisky was then put down to mature in their own bond store. The Adelaide climate (high-highs plus low-lows and a relatively large daily temperature range) added it’s thing to the magic – and once the whisky tasted the way 5Nines wanted it, it was bottled and now delivered to members of the ‘just the right size’ whisky club!
Colour: Deep polished walnut
Nose: Rich fruit and spice – but also with a baked egg note – like bread pudding.
Palate: Deep, sweet, and fruity. Pepper on the back of the tongue, but those deep marmalade and fruit pudding notes cut through easily!
Finish: Wow – and everlasting gobstopper of mouth watering peppery fruit tingle.
The 5Nines Tawny Port Special is truly a big hug of a whisky. Rich and round and luxurious. Perfect for settling in after a roast dinner with some Stilton and crackers, a few mates and hours before down! If you got a cigar or two, all the better- it’s certainly up to it!