Adelaide Hills Distillery – Making History with Native Grains

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The United States Government Bottled-in-Bond Act 1897, The Scotch Whisky Act 1909, The Irish Whiskey Act 1980. And Now… The AHD Australian Native Whiskey Act of 2019?? Listen up SCOMO, time to make a name for yourself.

Adelaide Hills Distillery brings us the County’s very first Native Grain Whiskey. This whiskey, made from the humble native wattleseed, is a brand new idea for us but one of many years contemplation for AHD and perhaps tens of thousands of years in the making if a stone mill found in the Northern Territory is anything to go by. The mill has been dated back to about 65,000 years ago and would have been used to make bread from wattleseeds and other grains by Indigenous Australians.

Fast forward over 65 Millenniums, and AHD Founder and Head Distiller Sacha La Forgia has travelled the world in search for his niche. After first studying wine making at University and a subsequent 6 years of travelling the globe, Sacha found himself working a Grappa Distillery in Friuli, North East Italy. His passion for spirits was born and the idea of opening a distillery of his own was looming and AHD was founded in 2014. Over the next 2 years Sacha produced 3 different spirits all of which won Gold, Silver and Bronze at the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

When your early career is so successful, what do you do next? Well not one to rest on his laurels, Sacha went about designing a new spirit all together. A native Australian Whiskey.

“Early on I was driven not to replicate a whiskey perfected by another country, but to research and develop a whiskey that was totally reflective of Australia both in its modern form and tens of thousands of years of history.” Explains Sacha, who then went on to sample and hand pick from over 100 different species of wattleseed, which all apparently have a different flavour. After selecting the right grain, he then had to find the perfect way to roast it and ferment it to achieve the desired flavour profile.

That leads us to the current day. Adelaide Hills Distillery has released its Native Grain Whiskey, the first of its kind, not just for the Distillery itself, but whiskey as a whole. And it has already won a World Whiskey Award for Australia’s Best Grain Whiskey.

The whiskey is bottled at 46.2% ABV, and due to the fact that it is limited to 141 bottles it has a retail price to match its exclusivity. It is ‘of age’ without an attached age statement which is currently typical of the Australian Whisky industry. Having been aged “over two years” in 115 litre French Oak barrels that once held Cabernet Franc. The barrels were sourced locally. In fact, it doesn’t get much more local as they were practically rolled over from the distilleries neighbours, Howard Vineyard.

When I pressed on what was next for AHD, Sacha proclaimed “I guess the quest continues. [We strive] to make truly Australian spirits across all categories and attain world domination.”

“Our focus has always been and always will be on quality.”

It is hard not to get excited when speaking to Sacha. His passion is astounding and what he is producing is unprecedented. There are other things in the pipeline for him and the Adelaide Hills Distillery and Sacha has promised that we will be the first to bring them to you when they come about.

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