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Review – The Gin Queen

The latest interview in my ‘Meet the Distiller’ series is William McHenry, Master Distiller of McHenry’s, one of Australia’s most awarded gins. His story is a fascinating one, involving a complete career change, as well as a move interstate, creating a very different life for himself and his family in the process.

A restaurant called Noma

A restaurant called Noma was opened by a young man named René Redzepi back in 2004 in Copenhagen Demark. His restaurant was later awarded ‘The best restaurant in the world’ 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Last year René Redzepi announced that Noma was going to come to Sydney to set up a pop-up restaurant for 10 weeks and bring out of all their team to share the Noma experience. Tickets to the pop-up restaurant sold out in 90 seconds!

Slo GinFor the past six months René and his team have been travelling to all corners of Australia to source the finest native produce, locally produced craft beer, boutique wines and hand crafted artisan spirits.

On the opening of Noma today in Sydney we proudly announce that we represent 4 of the 23 spirits selected along side 8 fellow Aussie distillers represented in the two-Michelin Star restaurant Noma Australia.

The products selected include…

1) McHenry Classic Dry Gin
2) McHenry Progress Release Whisky
3) McHenry PUER
4) McHenry Sloe Berry Eau De Vie (Made especially for Noma)

What an honour…where to from here? Thank you to all of our friends and family for supporting us from the day we began the new chapter of our life in Tasmania at McHenry Distillery.

Top Ten Flavours of Tassie

flavours_of_tassie_554McHenry Distillery is proud to be a part of the Flavours of Tassie program, Spirit of Tasmania is proudly presenting a showcase of gourmet Tasmanian food and beverage producers on board from now through to November. As such, we’ve decided to take a closer look at some of the flavours that Tassie is famous for – flavours that make Tassie one of the most exciting, innovative, and highly regarding regions of the world when it comes to gourmet food and beverage production. So, without further ado and in no particular order, here’s our Top Ten Flavours of Tassie, just click the image to the left to see the top ten.!

Make your own gin

Become your own gin distiller at one of Gourmet Traveller’s favourite gin distilleries. Join our exclusive, hands-on 4 hour workshop to discover the skill of gin making using your own recipe and still! Workshop includes a flavour-matched lunch and 500ml, of your own fine spirit, personally labelled to take home.

Workshops are held from 11.00 am – 3.00 pm on Tuesday and Fridays

DSC00559_2Maximum 4 participants

Master distiller Bill McHenry will guide participants through a tasting of well known gins to identify each spirit’s principal flavourings—known as botanicals. Participants can then note their favourite flavours and use them to craft their own gin recipe, and gin, using individual clear stills .. so you can see the process.  Everyone leaves with their own 500ml, personally labeled bottle of gin … and 500ml of McHenry Classic Dry Gin…. to take home.

Gourmet Traveller described McHenry’s Classic Dry Gin in an Australian line-up as “far and away the prettiest, most harmonious and enchanting gin we tasted… makes an amazingly refined G&T”.

A range of Tasmanian botanicals can also be included for use in the gin workshop—perhaps lemon myrtle, saffron and lavender. You can decide…

The workshop includes a guided tour of the distillery and property at Mt Arthur, located close to Port Arthur, and a gin flavour-matched gourmet picnic lunch.

The Workshop can be booked by those wishing to drive themselves, or be escorted on one of Bespoke’s day tours.

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Australia’s Best Gin

“This was far and away the prettiest, most harmonious and enchanting gin we tasted.” According to Luke Ashton when taste Classic Gintesting Australia’s best gins in the Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Luke along with Max Allen, was referring to McHenry’s Classic Dry Gin and both men praised McHenry’s Classic Dry as Australia’s best gin out of a range of 23 different gins.

McHenry’s Classic Dry Gin is an elegant smooth Gin that is re-distilled in the presence of various botanicals such as citrus peel and is balanced with a small amount of star anise, coriander seeds, cardamon and orris root all beautifully balanced with the juniper.

No one botanical dominated the flavour profile, and the overall impression was one of soft aromatic attraction: “Like walking into an old-fashioned candy store,” said Luke and praising the gin as making an amazingly refined G & T.

The Gourmet Traveller review was written by Max Allen and Luke Ashton.

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Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer.

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Sloe Gin Backorder

The repeat last night of an episode of The Gourmet Farmer has brought a number of inquiries for our Classic Sloe Gin.  If you are interested and want to try some of this luscious liquor you will see that the product will go on to back-order when you make an order.  Don’t worry we have plenty in the Distillery gently macerating from last years’ harvest and we will concentrate our efforts on getting this lovely liquor into bottles and out to you (you should only have a wait of a week or two).  William McHenry

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New distiller has whisky in his genes

The great-great-great-grandson of an Isle of Skye whisky smuggler has become Tasmania’s seventh distiller.

McHenry and Sons-203William McHenry, an executive with a Sydney biotech company, brought his family to Tasmania on a life-changing holiday.

“We all loved everything that Tasmania was: clean; green; open; friendly and with the right community values for raising children,” Mr McHenry said.

“The community cohesion was so different to our own situation where cars, security systems and automatic garages seemed to isolate us from casual contacts with our neighbours.”

After the holiday, Mr McHenry considered his good Celtic name, his ancestral link to whisky and the suitability of the Tasmanian climate for whisky production. Why not become the first to tread that Road Less Travelled in the southern island?

When he began some research he soon found that others had been there before him.

Mr McHenry learned about Bill Lark’s world-best title against Scottish competition in Chicago; Patrick Maguire securing a place on Harrod’s hallowed shelves in London; Tasmanian whiskies achieving Liquid Gold Status in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible; and all the rest.

“That made the decision even easier,” Mr McHenry told The Mercury in a recent interview. “And the other distillers have made it easy since we arrived. It’s a very open, friendly and co-operative group with an attitude that the more distilleries there are, the stronger the industry and the better for everyone.”

So complete was the newcomer’s acceptance that he became a founding member of the Tasmanian Whisky Producers Association.

And so successful was his dive into whisky marketing that he was able to secure third prize in an Australasian Whisky Competition run by World of Whisky for a cask-strength whisky used in his Three Capes single malt brand.

The brand is a private bottling using whisky aged in bourbon barrels at the Tasmania Distillery in Cambridge and cut back using spring water from the McHenry property at the back of Mount Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula.

“My first show and my first award,” Mr McHenry said with justified pride.

McHenrys bought the property after finding it had three springs that gush throughout the year with water that has an ideal mineral composition for quality whisky production.

“At the heart of any good whisky is good water,” Mr McHenry said.

Mr McHenry commissioned Peter Bailey of Knapp-Lewer in Hobart to fabricate a 500-litre pot still that is unlike any other in the State.

“It’s different in that it is a jacketed still,” Mr McHenry explained. “The heating element is in the water jacket rather than in the still.

“This allows me to evenly heat the wash and low wines without exposing them to a fierce heat that might change my flavour profiles.

“Also I have a three-plate column which, when the baffles are closed, allows me to produce premium neutral spirits.”

A start-up business like William McHenry & Sons Distillery must have products it can sell while its whisky is ageing.

The answer in this case is triple-distilled vodka and dry gin.

“But with the baffles open I get a huge amount of reflux which helps to give me the light whisky spirit I am looking for,” Mr McHenry said.

He also markets the prize-winning 10-year-old Three Capes single malt that was distilled and aged by Patrick Maguire at the Tasmanian Distillery in Cambridge.

“Any criticism I hear about Tasmanian whisky relates to lack of consistency,” Mr McHenry said. “Consequently I want to keep my specifications quite narrow and put tight controls on as many of the variables as possible to bring about a consistent product, batch-to-batch, vat-to-vat and year-to-year.”

The still is housed at present in an old weather-board building with spectacular views across the peninsula to the Southern Ocean.

The building will be converted to company headquarters when a larger distilling facility and tasting area have been completed. The Tasman Council has approved Mr McHenry’s building plans.

McHenry & Sons has put down its first malt whiskies to age. Those in smaller barrels will be released at three years of age, while those in larger barrels will be aged for 10 years.

Mr McHenry does not intend to use peat from the central highlands in his production.

“I want to produce a delicate, elegant spirit and broaden whisky’s appeal rather than produce a heavier, more robust peated whisky,” he said.

“The Scots use peat fuel for drying their malted barley and that gives scotch its distinctive flavour.

“I think it’s more authentic for a new-world whisky to be unpeated. It’s all a bit personal really.”

The international kudos flowing to Tasmanian whiskies give Mr McHenry confidence that his lifestyle change and investment will have a mellow outcome.

For more information: www.mchenrydistillery.com.au & http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Uq2KKGSDwkQ

Footnote: The fledgling Tasmanian industry received another big boost in August when Sullivans Cove won a gold medal at the World Whisky Masters in London with its French Oak Cask Single Malt Whisky. The company also collected two silver medals for its American Oak Cask and Double Cask whiskies. Patrick Maguire, Sullivans Cove’s Distiller, said: “We have put some really hard work into making the best whisky that we can over the years, and it is such a good feeling to consistently come out on top on the world stage!”

Sullivans Cove has earned Liquid Gold Awards from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in 2007 and 2010, as well as three gold medals at last year’s World Whisky Masters and “Best Other Single Malt” (for non-Scotches) at the World Whisky Awards in 2007 and 2011.

 

Spirit of Tasmania Tastings

We have been doing some tastings on the Spirit of Tasmania, Tassie’s sea ferry link to the North Island. We had a real buzz on board showing visitors to our beautiful state the marvelous whiskies and premium spirits we make and telling people why we love this place. Have a look at this little video to get into the ‘spirit of Tasmania’

McHenry & Sons Distillery is accredited under the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program

McHenry & Sons Distillery is pleased to announce that it has been accredited under the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program.

T-QUAL is Australia’s newest national symbol of quality and co-branding with the T-QUAL logo, will enables us to show visitors to Tasmania that we are committed to delivering on the quality promise and will help our business stand out above other operators.

Sloe Gin Update

After the recent Gourmet Farmer episode we were flooded with orders for our Classic Sloe Gin and pushing the product into back-order.  The good news is that we checked last week and the next  batch is ready for bottling.  We will start bottling the Sloe Gin this coming week and should be sending out the back-orders later in the week.  Thanks to everyone for your patience and you will be rewarded when you receive your bottle of McHenry Classic Sloe Gin.

McHenry and Sons Distillery

Think Tasmania Feature

Whether you’re visiting Tasmania or one of the locals, the Think Tasmania website can provide you with stories and pictures showing just how beautiful Tassie can be.

This week they have published an article on the Wm McHenry & Sons Distillery. For a read go to their blog and why not spend some more time having a look through their articles.

Bloody marvelous!

The Tassie Comeback Tour

Tourism Tasmania is conducting a two-month intrastate advertising campaign from 28 February to 30 April to encourage Tasmanians to return to areas affected by the January 2013 bushfires.

Its main purpose is to remind Tasmanians that businesses in the fire-affected areas are open and eager to welcome visitors and customers.
The Tassie Comeback Tour campaign recognises that tourism and other service businesses in the bushfire-affected areas are still recovering from the effects of the January 2013 bushfires and encourages Tasmanians to stay a night or two in the area and to spread the word about their experience with friends and family.

The campaign also acknowledges that many Tasmanians are likely to have visited these areas in the past. Therefore the emphasis is on seeing these regions from a new perspective and checking out the new experiences that Tasmanians can now have in those areas.

Bill McHenry (William McHenry & Sons Distillery) is proud to be a part of this campaign and urges everyone to help out by coming down to visit us even if just to stop and enjoy a coffee.

A small gallery

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  • Nulla consequat massa quis enim.
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Taste test

Last night we hosted a tasting for our whisky inspired foods with a bunch of Tassie’s food officiando.

We featured Whisky & Venison, Wallaby & Juniper, Vodka & Scallop gourmet pies matched with ‘adults only’ chocolate & Cointreau, Rum & Raisin, and Whisky, Honey & Butterscotch ice-cream.

Have a look at these mouthwatering photos.

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McHenry and Sons whisky, Vodka and Gin

On-line sales are now available

The William McHenry and Sons Distillery website has just had an update.

Along with a new look, we are now offering on-line sales of our Three Capes Whisky, Classic dry Gin and Puer triple distilled premium Vodka with more products to come.

We have a stall at the Salamanca Market each Saturday where you can sample and purchase any of our products.

McHenry and Sons Distillery products

Taste Festival here we come

Yes folks, William McHenry & Sons Distillery will be featuring its products at this year’s Taste Festival.  The theme for the Distillery’s offering is foods from the region perfectly matched with our premium spirits.  To sate the appetite will be Whisky-Venison , Wallaby-Juniper, Scallop-Vodka and Beef-Burgundy gourmet pies.  Also on the menu will be our ‘Adults Only’ ice-creams just perfect for the hot summer we are expecting.  Consider trying our lovely Gin & Tonic sorbet, our Chocolate & Cointreau ice-cream, or a whisky-honey-butterscotch ice-cream or the classic Rum & Raisin.