From one of our absolute favourite Award Winning Tasmanian Distilleries, we have the FIRST EXPRESSION of their very FIRST ‘SOLERA’ whisky release, bottled EXCLUSIVELY for our members – The Spring Bay Solera!
Now whisky aficionados know that Spring Bay whisky gets mentioned in the same circles as Sullivans Cove, Overeem and Lark and there is good reason for this, as the owners, Cam and Suzy took many influences from these legendary distillers and world agrees! With Spring Bay taking out Best Oceania Single Malt Whisky for their Tawny Port Cask at the Tokyo Whisky and Spirits Competition and three of their whiskies picked up a Gold and two Silvers at the World Whiskies Awards.
- Award Winning Tasmanian Distillery
- First Expression of their Solera is EXCLUSIVE to the Club
- Chardonnay, Port and Muscat barrel maturation
- Made with East Coast Tasmanian rainwater
Spring Bay’s is a 4 step Solera utilising different types of casks. The top layer is an ex-Chardonnay cask, then a Port cask and two final layers are Muscat casks. Batch #1 will be bottled at 48%ABV especially for The Single Malt Whisky Club, but subsequent batches will be between 43-46%.
Making this amazing whisky is a labour of love. A combination American Oak and French aged single malt is fed into a 500L Chardonnay Puncheon high up in the Spring Bay Distillery Bond Store. This combination of aged casks is then gravity fed into three casks below, firstly a 500L Port Puncheon, then two 500L Muscat Puncheons. Only 250L drawn from the bottom of each cask is allowed to flow to the next. Each release is therefore only 250L which equates to 350-400 bottles. The ABV can be variable from the original 55% down to 40%, however for this special first release from the Solera system for the Single Malt Whisky Club, it has been bottled at surprisingly approachable 48%ABV.
Now the Solera system of ageing is perhaps more commonly associated with sherry, brandy and even rum than it is with whisky. The solera method is based on stacking multiple layers of aging barrels (called ‘criaderas’) on top of each other, with each layer progressively topping up the next one down and blending with it, year after year. For example, the bottom criadera is filled, a year later the next is filled and a year later the third and then the forth layer in the forth year. The bottom layer is then partially emptied (and bottled), then the bottom layer is topped up with spirit from the next criadera, and so forth. The top level is then topped up with new make spirit. The word “solera” comes from the Spanish word “suelo” which means “floor”. And technically it is the bottom criadera that is referred to as the ‘Solera’. So as the angels take their share, and the barrels refill the layer below, the barrels are topped up with the contents of the slightly younger barrel above, and the average age of the spirit in each criadera slowly increases over the years. The purpose of this labour-intensive process is the maintenance of a reliable style and quality of the spirit over time.
If you’re having trouble visualising how this works – Cam has made a short video to explain the process!
What makes it all the more fantastic for us is that Cam and Suzy Brett are members of our not-so-little Single Malt Whisky Club! We were fortunate to visit their amazing Distillery on one of our Tasmanian trips, and we were so impressed with a number of their releases as we sipped and chatted with view to Maria Island. As such, we get the worlds first taste of the brand new expression, Spring Bay Solera.
Nose: Lots of sweet, stewed red fruit here, and a distinct new leather belt note dominates, but a lighter floral accent also wafts around.
Plate: A nice, viscous mouthfeel with incredibly well behaved alcohol warmth. Big fruitcake flavours, but also super-dark chocolate and unsweetened espresso there as well.
Finish: Nice and long – warming, but not at all hot or over the top. All those sweet and sightly bitter notes carry through and keep winding on down the road for miles and miles with a snap on the bum with a leather belt for good measure!
Wow – an incredibly easy to drink, yet very complex whisky here. There’s light, there’s dark, there’s sweet, and a little astringency. There’s fruit, floral, chocolate and coffee – with that (in my humble opinion) quintessentially Australian leathery note.