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Twenty Third St Distillery

Home > Adelaide > Bars | Distilleries
by Tema (subscribe)
Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Published July 4th 2019
The first all-Australian Single Malt Whisky
Photo by Fatema Sitabkhan

Twenty Third Street Distillery sure has come a long way! From starting its legacy in Renmark (South Australia) in 1914 to now running their business in the Riverland as well as right here in the heart of Adelaide on the bustling Melbourne Street in North Adelaide. Throughout their illustrious journey, we have been introduced to a range of some of the smoothest spirits that are produced in our State and it is no wonder that it is one of the most sought-after drinks in the bar scene - be it neat, over ice, or in a fun cocktail!

Adding to their family of spirits and to celebrate the launch of Twenty Third Street Distillery's newest member to the spirits family - the Single Malt Whisky - I was fortunate enough to be invited to a tasting session at their Melbourne Street residence. Walking into the beautiful establishment, we were greeted with a space that was lit in minimalistic lighting against a black feature wall as a backdrop, with framed portraits of their signature labels with their individual artist's stories on the left-hand side. The grand bar on the right-hand side was well-stocked with the spirits by the Riverland favourite, making it a social spot for the majority of the event, as the bartenders poured everyone's favourite drops of the evening.

In fitting with the theme of the evening, guests were treated to a couple of tasters of the star of the night - the Single Malt Whisky - to complement the impressive, whisky-inspired grazing board on the long communal table, which was overflowing with meats, fruits, cheese, chocolate, nuts, and other nibbles.

Photo by Fatema Sitabkhan

We were graced with the presence of 23rd Street Distillery's Head Distiller Graham Buller, who provided us with a comprehensive history of the business and gave us a breakdown of the process how the Single Malt Whisky came into fruition:

Talk by Head Distiller: Graham Buller - a summary
The Single Malt Whisky is a limited-edition and first all-Australian whisky that is exclusively offered by Twenty Third Street Distillery. Angelo Kotses (owner of Twenty Third Street Distillery) has married his other business Bickfords into this scintillating mix of producing spirits that are driven by passion and love for South Australian history. While the Single Malt Whisky may have only been launched a short time ago, it hasn't taken long for the "non-replicable blend" to gain traction, by winning Gold at the 2019 World Whisky Awards under the Australian Single Malt category.

A vision to introduce whisky into the Twenty Third Street Distillery family has been years in the making. Making whisky for the first time involved a lot of steps, in terms of its distilling and maturation process. Due to the lack of resources needed (at the time) for stilling in Renmark, the whisky began its processing journey by travelling to northern New South Wales, in order to achieve the specifications of the beer wash required to make this whisky, before its return to Renmark for the maturation. This was followed by the maturation process in a range of barrels, which were used to trial and experiment different levels of the whisky to obtain satisfactory levels that would be on par with the prime quality of a 23rd Street Distillery-certified finished product.

The Single Malt Whisky that has since been packaged offers a playful combination of flavours from malted barley and grains and add notes of citrus-infused creaminess. It retains its natural color and offers itself as a minimalistic yet vibrant drink that will age gracefully with time. So, drinkers can enjoy a full spectrum of the drink from its youth, through to middle age, and all the way to its old age, depending on how long you can savour the drops of this limited-edition delight.

Photo by Fatema Sitabkhan

23rd Street Distillery's Single Malt Whisky: Tasting Notes
Beginning its journey with Queensland-sourced single variety Australian barley that is known for its quality and purity, the finished product - the Single Malt Whisky - offers with a luxurious texture and flavour that aims to mature well with time. A joint collaboration with Byron Bay's Stone & Wood Brewing Co., 23rd Street Distillery has created a whisky that boasts of a light and fruity style, thanks to its processes of malting, mashing and fermentation, followed by the copper pot distilling. After being stored in majority ex-bourbon oak barrels, the drink is then poured and packaged to offer its drinkers with an amber hued whisky that has characteristics of confidence through its layered palate of citrus peel, spice, warm toffee, and buttery length, and finished with dried fig and cedar aromas.

Photo by Fatema Sitabkhan

Tips for getting the most out of your whisky, as explained by Buller:

For maintaining its fortified strength, follow the 50/50 rule, where you mix whisky and water, whisky and ice, or whisky and soda.

For staying sober but enjoying a standard drink, pull it down to the thirds, where you combine 1/3 of the spirit with 2/3 of water, soda, or ice.

"Just not with coke (cola)... ever!" This way, you'll only be diluting (and not compromising on) the flavour.

Meeting the Label Artist: Guadalupe Cincunegui
With the overall aim to capturing the story of the liquid in their bottles through their signature labels and offering a design that is open to interpretation by their customers, 23rd Street Distillery commissioned artist and archaeologist Guadalupe Cincunegui, who also runs her own business around heritage consulting in Adelaide and has a keen interest around art and photography. After meeting with the 23rd Street Distillery team and discussing the vision around what the label would represent, Cincunegui was able to trial the whisky and recounted to find the blend "thoroughly enjoyable". Using the flavours and ideas that were forming with every drop, Cincunegui developed a patterned design to represent the core elements of the whisky blend.

Incorporating the flavours of barley, pear, and the patterned designs from the state heritage-listed bridge that is near 23rd Street Distillery in Renmark, Cincunegui combined the art of detailed, stippling work with her expertise around archaeological illustration to create art that depicted the depths, shapes, and curves of the Murray River (which has a significant meaning to the Aboriginal Australian community in South Australia). The finishing touch of adding a bit of gold to the overall label personified the 'limited-edition' status and celebrated the success of this drop that has had an extensive process around its production.

Photo by Fatema Sitabkhan

Visiting the Distillery in its Renmark location
Twenty Third Street Distillery in Renmark also offers their visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience that will involve tastings and a private tour of the distillery, so you can witness first-hand on how the history of this Distillery takes form through their spirits. Just make sure you bring a designated driver to make the most of this fascinating experience!

"Being in the Riverland, we're in an advantageous position for producing superior whisky, with our warm climate and unique ageing techniques, we're able to gently accelerate maturation and character development to produce exceptional spirits."

Less than 5000 bottles (4200, to be exact!) of the unique blend of 23rd Street Distillery's Single Malt Whisky make it a limited-edition release. They are available for purchase online, from selected retailers, their Distillery in Renmark, and their Melbourne Street residence.

Photo by Fatema Sitabkhan

With thanks to Girl About Town for the invite.
Tema was invited as a guest.
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Why? Whisky lovers are gonna want to experience this unique blend!
When: Whenever your whisky-loving heart desires!
Phone: 08 8586 8500
Where: Renmark (Riverland) // Melbourne Street (North Adelaide)
Cost: $$
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by Tema on 24/05/2020
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