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.
Although Tasmanian distilleries are small compared to others in such places as Ireland and Scotland, we have more distilleries than Ireland and our whisky holds it’s own on the world stage.
McHenry distillery is the southern-most distillery in the Commonwealth and located on the Tasman Peninsular which is rich in colonial history. We are the only distillery in Australia with our own spring water and I am sure the quality of the water is why our products are so good and popular.
The high average rainfall, being located near the sea and a temperate climate, the humidity is relatively high all year round which is ideal for maturing whisky.
The distillery is in its 6th year and we have roughly doubled our turnover each year.
You can find the article here.
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.
Few drinks have almost starved a nation. Gin is one of them. In the 18th century it was so popular that Great Britain nearly ran out of food – all their grain went to the distilleries, not the bakers. Sloe gin is less commonly guzzled, but that’s only because people don’t really know what it is (sloe refers to the berry, not the time it takes to distil). Turns out Tasmania is a fine place to make sloe gin; the fresh water and maritime climate suit Old English distilling, and the place is riddled with sloe berries. Bill McHenry of William McHenry & Sons Distillery made it his home in 2010, moving from pharmaceuticals to the distillery work his ancestors had in their blood six generations ago. McHenry adds the plum-like sloe berries to his classic dry gin, made with orange peel, orris root and star anise. Drink it on its own over crushed ice, mix it with vodka and orange juice, or try as a champagne cocktail. The ‘sloe screw’, they call it. Charming. mchenrydistillery.com.au CH
Article from http://www.smithjournal.com.au/
The Booze Baron recently reviewed William McHenry and Son’s Distillery and products.
William McHenry is one of my favourite “dudes” in the Australian distilling scene. A classic corporate escapee who chased a passion and an idea down to what is possibly the best distilling location in all of Tasmania.
Situated on Mount Arthur, right next to Port Arthur, McHenry and Sons Distillery lies at the latitude, altitude and in the general humidity range that is almost a carbon copy of Scottish distilleries. However, unique in Australian distilling, they employ the composite column still for variable distillation.
William McHenry and Sons composite column still
This is a brilliant move on Bill’s part as it allows for a very efficient distillation of premium gin and vodka to keep the cash flow up whilst the whisky matures. Most hard and fast whisky distillers spend years making whisky and turn to white spirits only when the cash reserves have run out.
McHenry and Sons Dry Gin, Puer Vodka and traditional Sloe Gin are an absolute knock-out. Honestly, try any of them against the premium imported labels and you’ll join the growing number of people asking Bill why he doesn’t just make Gin and be done with it.
At my last three gin masterclasses McHenry and Sons was picked as the best by all but two people, it came second and third for them. That’s 24/26 or 92% of people who I have tasted it with that think it absolutely slams Hendricks, No.3, Tanqueray No.10, Sipsmith and West Winds.
It’s not just the white spirits, Three Capes single malt is an astonishing release showing the benefits of long maturation. Soon we will be seeing the first release of whisky distilled on site through that column still and I for one cannot wait!
Review kindly written by Nick Rose, owner of Qualia Lounge in Melbourne.