I have been watching with interest for over 18 years, the growth and evolution of my local South Australian distilling industry with interest. And over those long years, there is one word I would like to use to describe it: maturity.

South Australian spirits and especially single malt whisky have definitely come of age.

I’ve been in the wine and spirits business now for over 25 years. So officially, that makes me an old hand. However, living in the Adelaide Hills, I’ve always felt that it was so good being surrounded by many splendid wineries. But to think that I am now surrounded by distilleries, is like a dream come true.

So, let’s take a quick tour around the state, meet some really interesting folk making quite superb South Australian Whisky & spirits;

Right on my door step…

Tin Shed Distilling Co

Tin Shed Distilling

If you’re flying into Adelaide, catch a cab and within 10 or minutes you’ll be at your first distillery. Meet Ian Schmidt and Vic Orlov at Tin Shed distillery at “scenic” Welland. These chaps were right at the beginning of the Aussie spirits renaissance way back in 2004.

The set up looks rustic or as they would say, authentic. No fancy tasting room here, as you are standing right in the middle of a working distillery, surrounded by casks, pipes, smells and stills. The spirit and malts they produce are full bodied and very flavoursome. They and their malts just bring a big smile to your face.

(call ahead to make an appointment)

Tin Shed Distilling - Iniquity

Let’s try one

Tin Shed Distilling Iniquity Solera Peated Shiraz Casks Single Malt 500ml 43%

“Gentle, round, full mouthfeel with sweet smokiness and superb value”

Fleurieu Distillery South Australian Whisky

Fleurieu Distilling

Hit South Rd and keep driving…all the way to Goolwa. It will take you just over an hour if don’t get distracted by McLaren Vale, more of that later.

Right on the wharf stands Fleurieu Distilling where Angela and Garth Andrews will greet you with warmth and glass of something very special. And you’ll need to listen closely as this couple are not only craftspeople but also technocrats. They know the chemistry and physics of both spirit production and oak handling at a university level. So, pay attention.

But the malts are not over polished, perfectly made, bland offerings. There is that X factor that adds intrigue, complexity and enjoyment to their drams. And see if you can taste their newmake. It is sublime.

(call ahead to make an appointment)

Fleurieu Distilling - Wandering Storm

Let’s try one

Fleurieu Wandering Storm Bird (Albatross) Single Malt 700ml 46%

“Lively, rich malt, spicy, textured and just lingers for an eternity”

McLaren Vale Distillery South Australian Whisky

McLaren Vale Distillery

Let’s head back up the road and meet Mr Jock Harvey, unofficial wine mayor of McLaren Vale. And now owner and distiller at MVD. His deep links to the wine trade means he knows where all the great and ancient wine and fortified casks are located in the Vale.

The style is full and rich with the distinctive flavours of the cask coming to the fore.

(Book a visit online here)

McLaren Vale Distillery Mr Riggs South Australian Whisky

Let’s try one

McLaren Vale Distillery Mr Riggs French Oak Shiraz Muscat Cask Single Malt 700ml 53%

“An intense explosion of sweet, rich fruitiness and lively spirit, with the oak kept in check.”

Tria Prima Distillery

Now head to Mt Barker, arriving at a nondescript industrial estate, which is home to a special distillery run by a charming ex-pat Scot, Dr Paul Shand. A geologist with a background in chemistry whose home town was Pulteney. Quiet, self-effacing but knows exactly what he wants and how to achieve it.

The spirit is rich and fruity but the style of the malts is all about suppleness and subtly. His oak handling is just superb.

(call ahead to make an appointment)

Tria Prima - South Australian Whisky

Let’s try one

Tria Prima Enchantress Batch 1 Apera Cask Single Malt 700ml 46%

“Richly texture, great balance, sweet oak, crisp spirit, creamy malt and loads of intrigue.”

78 Degress at Lot 100 - SA Whiskies

78 Degrees Distillery

As the old saying goes, “now for something completely different”.

From Mt Barker, cross over the SE Freeway and head north, in about 10 minutes you’ll be at hospitality Disney Land. Welcome to Lot 100, where amongst a brewery, winery and dining complex is a distillery pushing the boundaries.

Meet the very affable Sacha La Forgia: iconoclast, innovator, creator and all-round good bloke. Sacha is not afraid to mix things up, try out new and exciting techniques but all with a uniquely Aussie twist. And yes, it’s whiskey with an “e”.

You can visit 78 Degress at Lot 100, more info online here.

78 Degrees Whisky - SA Whisky

Let’s try one

Adelaide Hills Distillery 78 Degrees Batch 2 Australian Whiskey 700ml 44%

“Long and wide, textured, fat creamy malt and another flood of kitchen spice and dried fruits.”

5Nines Distilling - SA Whisky

5Nines Distilling

We are now heading back to Adelaide via Greenhill Rd and we are almost at the top of Mt Lofty. Not so long ago, you would pull into a suburban home, lift the roller door on the garage and guess what you are staring at? A still!

They have now moved to bigger premises.

Meet David Pearse and Steven Griguol. Taste their new make: just so clean and fruity. Then talk to them about their oak: that’s where the class is. And then ask Mr Grigoul who built the still? He did.

(call ahead to make an appointment)

Let’s try one

5Nines Distilling Bourbon Cask Lightly Peated Batch 031 Single Malt 750ml 60.4%

“You can taste the malt along with sweet ginger, along with honey and citrus fruit flavours.  Subtle but engaging oak.”

For our full range of South Australian Whisky and spirits, take a look at our website here.

Cheers and keep tasting!