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Old 8th June 2017, 6:05 PM   #3271
Alfonzo
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I thought I'd share this with everyone. I didn't take too many pictures but still, here we go. Hopefully I get my terminology right.

A few months back my wife and I went to visit some relatives down in Hobart. Part of their bargaining chip to get me to go to Tasmania was that we could go to a distillery while we were there. I asked to go to Nant up in the Tasmanian highlands, about an hour and a bit drive from Hobart.

I got what I wanted.



That there is the entire production facility in that 3 story section, as well as the 'cellar door' bar off to the left with the newer outdoor covered deck. There is a river running through the front of the building, which still has the original water wheel powering the first stage of production.

The amazing thing with this place was when it was built, around 1820ish from memory, the original builder was a sandstone kind of guy. Thus, the buildings were built from sandstone. They were building a larger storage building some time later, but the gold rush started up back on the mainland. All of the builders buggered off to try their hands at striking it rich. Left with nobody else to help build the storage facility, the owner went to the local jails on the island and ended up finishing the building with convicts. However they didn't work with sandstone - only red brick. So there's this building out the back that's half-half sandstone floor to ceiling but then merges into red brick. Man I wish I took a picture of that. You can see what I mean in another picture from their website though, here. This shows an extension on the actual mill house.



This is the second floor of the distillery. There's a few things going on here. In the foreground on the floor you'll see a trapdoor and two ropes, and that hessian bag. That's the original, and to this day the production method of bringing the malted barley in (from memory that is all done off site and transported in ready to go). It gets raised from the ground floor up, to the next floor up which is just storage. The hinges on those trapdoors are leather.

Behind that are two round things on the floor. They are the grindstones. The malted barley is poured down that chute and into the one on the right, which is what is used in daily production now. It is all powered by the waterwheel, and as you can see in that picture, all the gears for that waterwheel are wood mounted on metal, which all rotate in wood housings to eliminate the risk of heat and igniting powder in the surrounding air. The grindstones you can see on the left are just 'other' grindstones - all of their stones, in use and those ones, are the original quartz blocks apparently. Obviously there's some barrel storage going on there too.



This is further back on the same floor. More barrel storage, and on the right, their sole mash tun. Once the grinding process is done over there, the grist lifted back up to the third floor and poured over into this tun. This is where the process is slightly modernised with electricity.



These are the washbacks. The wort is transferred across here. Nothing really special to talk about here. Standing beside the mash tun for this shot.



And finally across the room, the stills. I'm still standing beside the mash tun for this photo too. It really is a small place.



This is a really crappy photo. Sorry about that. We did a tasting at the end of the tour. There's 4 different offerings in this picture. First is straight out of the still before any aging. Second is aged in sherry barrels. Third was aged in bourbon barrels. Fourth was aged in port barrels. We were also given a glass with some water and a straw, and were taken through a process where we'd taste our way through but modify it a few times over. First just straight up sniff and sip, second was when we cupped the glass in our hand, sealed the top with the other hand and heated it up, and third was after adding some a half-straw's worth of water to it. I was genuinely amazed at how much the flavours changed each time. I was also surprised at just how smooth the first one actually was despite not having any additional flavours added to it. Though at the end of it all, my favourite was the port barrel. It honest to god tasted like a Christmas pudding.

My mother-in-law heard me discussing this with the bar staff, and surprised me on the way out to the car. She's alright, hey.



As it stands right now there are... geez.. 4 or 5 staff (I think) that work the distillery full time. Each week they have the ability to generate around 4000 litres of whisky a week. The distillery has been through some interesting financial times under the operation of the recent owner, and has since been bought out by Australian Whisky Holdings / AWH. I was speaking to the bloke behind the bar there after our tasting, who I found out is the new supervisor along with his wife - also from Brisbane. He was telling me that AWH have injected a shittonne of money into the place to modernise the process and increase capacity - though they are also very mindful to not lose the uniqueness of the company. The new equipment was sitting in shipping containers out the back when we visited. I'll be really keen to come back the next time I'm there (with a better camera) and see how much it has changed. I think the plan was to multiply the production capacity 10x fold, so who knows.

So yeah, there was my tour.
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Old 9th June 2017, 9:58 AM   #3272
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SNIP!
Glad you enjoyed the distillery down here!
Nice to hear that AWH are trying to do good things with Nant. Their whisky is fantastic, the way they went about running their business was an absolute shit show. They were the only Tassie distillery that tried to go world wide and didn't seem to want to be part of the Tassie whisky scene with all the other players - so far the only one to fail.....

If they plan to up their production 10 fold I reckon we will see some interesting cask finishes in there, there is no way they can increase it that much with just their bourbon/port/sherry casks there just isn't enough!

I am still reluctant to properly trust the brand, they shafted A LOT of people with their shady dealings, staff and investors alike!
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Old 9th June 2017, 11:35 AM   #3273
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Yeah I'm still shaking my head at the idea of investing in whisky barrels. But then the way they just never fulfilled 700 of those invested barrels. For a distillery that can only produce 4000L a week I find it incredible that they let it get that far on.

Evidently the whisky bars in Melbourne and Brisbane were also being run under the same types of shady operations, and may not be around for much longer. Time will tell.

Next time I go to Tassie I want to time it with a tour at Lark.
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Old 9th June 2017, 3:47 PM   #3274
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Nice write up there, fonz. The wife and I also visited Nant on our honeymoon to Tassie 3 years ago. Nice little place, amazingly welcoming staff and the tastings were as you described - delicious! My wife also loved the port finish, while my preference was for the bourbon finish...we still have our little 50ml sample bottles (honeymoon budget was very tight, so we couldn't afford any of the larger bottles).

I believe the Melbourne bar has already changed it's name completely, either as a whole new entity or just to distance itself from the brand.
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Old 10th June 2017, 9:18 AM   #3275
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Originally Posted by Alfonzo View Post
Yeah I'm still shaking my head at the idea of investing in whisky barrels. But then the way they just never fulfilled 700 of those invested barrels. For a distillery that can only produce 4000L a week I find it incredible that they let it get that far on.

Evidently the whisky bars in Melbourne and Brisbane were also being run under the same types of shady operations, and may not be around for much longer. Time will tell.

Next time I go to Tassie I want to time it with a tour at Lark.
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Originally Posted by ~Spyne~ View Post
Nice write up there, fonz. The wife and I also visited Nant on our honeymoon to Tassie 3 years ago. Nice little place, amazingly welcoming staff and the tastings were as you described - delicious! My wife also loved the port finish, while my preference was for the bourbon finish...we still have our little 50ml sample bottles (honeymoon budget was very tight, so we couldn't afford any of the larger bottles).

I believe the Melbourne bar has already changed it's name completely, either as a whole new entity or just to distance itself from the brand.
Yeah pretty sure all their bars are no longer their bars, they stuffed it up goo and proper. The tassie one is just called "Salamanca Whisky and Wine" now and doesnt have any Nant branding.
I have never once actually been on a distillery tour down here so I can't even tell you which i'd recommend :P
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Old 12th June 2017, 7:58 PM   #3276
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Last week managed to visit Black Gate as well as Baker Williams. Tasted some bloody nice stuff at each one, though black gate has spirit over 3 years in barrels and Baker Williams is just getting started out.

Baker does have access to some nice grapes around Mudgee so could see some really interesting product coming out. Plus his still is unique in australia, the top half is like a column still but he can take all the plates out when doing malt spirit, gets a tonne of reflux.

Brian at black gate has some ridiculous heavy peated product coming out, tasted it at 12 months straight from the cask and its some goddamn oily and flavoursome its only going to get better once it finishes pulling flavour from the sherry barrel.

Had a nice chat with him about Nant, a lot of rumour about them at the moment, if you do own a barrel of Nant thats not actually in the Nant bond store you can easily sell it to the holdings company, they need stock badly. when 700 of your 1800 barrels are missing its not a good situation.

Also when visiting Black Gate do go get a burger from the local pub, its goddamn delicious.
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Old 18th June 2017, 1:33 PM   #3277
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the link is aud you can buy it in aus
bought from some random bottle shop and took it as checked in baggage
duty free isnt worth it these days unless buying budget drinks for the 1l v 750ml deals
Just noticed that the Dan Murphy's is 350ml bottles, are they 350ml in New Zealand?
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Old 9th July 2017, 10:12 AM   #3278
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FYI $30 off $100 Ebay on all booze today. Some good deals on whisky

https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/317666
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Old 11th July 2017, 11:18 PM   #3279
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Right. So BNJ is no longer with us as most here would know.

When I'm Dictator I'll sort that.

Other than Monkey Shoulder, what blend in the interim would people here recommend?
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Old 12th July 2017, 8:43 AM   #3280
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Originally Posted by von Stalhein View Post
Right. So BNJ is no longer with us as most here would know.

When I'm Dictator I'll sort that.

Other than Monkey Shoulder, what blend in the interim would people here recommend?
To drink neat or mixed (with cola, soda, etc)?
Ballantine's for neat is your best budget option (imo), Label 5 for mixing. Both of these are sub-$40. I can't stand it, but some might like Johnnie Walker Black.
If you're looking comparable price to MS then Dewar's 12yo, Glen Moray Classic/Chardonnay (seriously, it's pretty good for the price) or Grant's 12yo
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Old 12th July 2017, 5:14 PM   #3281
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Originally Posted by von Stalhein View Post
Right. So BNJ is no longer with us as most here would know.

When I'm Dictator I'll sort that.

Other than Monkey Shoulder, what blend in the interim would people here recommend?
JW double black I've enjoyed, or something like Big Peat perhaps? Starting to get into the price of cheaper single malts though. I also remember getting something called "pure malt" which was a blend of malts only (no grain) and it was pretty ok.
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Old 13th July 2017, 10:30 AM   #3282
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Originally Posted by von Stalhein View Post
Right. So BNJ is no longer with us as most here would know.

When I'm Dictator I'll sort that.

Other than Monkey Shoulder, what blend in the interim would people here recommend?
the BNJ was my go to - cheap and tasty (bought 6 bottles when I found out it was being discontinued, 3 left).
Although not a blend, my go to cheapo dram at home is the Glengrant Majors Reserve. Can normally pick it up for a bit over $40/bottle.
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Old 14th July 2017, 8:06 PM   #3283
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Originally Posted by ~Spyne~ View Post
To drink neat or mixed (with cola, soda, etc)?
Ballantine's for neat is your best budget option (imo), Label 5 for mixing. Both of these are sub-$40. I can't stand it, but some might like Johnnie Walker Black.
If you're looking comparable price to MS then Dewar's 12yo, Glen Moray Classic/Chardonnay (seriously, it's pretty good for the price) or Grant's 12yo
Neat is my preference, perhaps a dash of water after tasting both ways to suss it. Don't mind JW Black at a pinch. Agree on the Glen Moray! Must have a crack at the Dewars and Grants.

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JW double black I've enjoyed, or something like Big Peat perhaps? Starting to get into the price of cheaper single malts though. I also remember getting something called "pure malt" which was a blend of malts only (no grain) and it was pretty ok.
Yes, the JW Double is OK but I've been ruined by Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Lagavulin!! Love big peaty iodine whiskys. Double Black defs an option when the budget is under stress.

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Originally Posted by Smegenstein View Post
the BNJ was my go to - cheap and tasty (bought 6 bottles when I found out it was being discontinued, 3 left).
Although not a blend, my go to cheapo dram at home is the Glengrant Majors Reserve. Can normally pick it up for a bit over $40/bottle.
Smart man, very jealous. I've kept about 3 of the presentation tins in case it returns Cool! will try the Glengrant as well!

Thanks for that chaps, very helpful
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Old 15th July 2017, 7:05 PM   #3284
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Bog standard Dimple remains a cheap blended favourite. Sorry to hear about BNJ was looking for it fairly recently.

Have bottle of 15 year old Drambuie on the go at the moment. A liqueur with credibility Short review:
"15 year old Drambuie: Everything the bog standard Drambuie promised but did not quite deliver on. As an added bonus, for a liqueur there is nothing frilly about it. Recommended for cold nights, head-colds and as an antidote to Winter malaise."
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