Morris of Rutherglen, best known for world-renowned fortifieds, is entering the Australian whisky market with the launch of two premium whiskies this month (June 2021); Morris Australian Single Malt Signature Whisky and Australian Single Malt Muscat Barrel Whisky.
A team of whisky experts, including the late Dr Jim Swan (link to magazine dedicated to Dr Swan here), have combined with Morris to create a uniquely Australian whisky that delivers serious value for lovers of Australian whisky.
The project started in 2016 when John McDougall, ex-Balvenie, Laphroig and Springbank, started consulting alongside Dr Swan. Between them they designed a barrel programme to work with the incredible access to some of the world’s best fortified barrels. McDougall is now the Master Distiller.
At the heart of the whisky distillation process is the hybrid copper pot and column still. This is the original still installed at the Morris site in the early 1930s, when it was used for producing base spirits for Morris fortified wines.
Darren Peck (ex-Diageo) has been appointed as Morris Head Distiller and has worked under the tutelage of McDougall for the last five years to craft the whisky.
“We are creating a unique Morris Whisky style that speaks to our home in Rutherglen. Made with Australian barley malted at the family brewery and pure, filtered water from the Snowy Mountains, Morris Whisky reflects not only the world-class fortified barrels but also its regional Victorian provenance.”
“As part of the process, we apply double distillation through our hybrid copper pot and column still and mature in a combination of French and American oak barrels sourced from family-owned wineries in the Barossa and Coonawarra regions,” said Peck.
Two bottles have made their way to the Explore WHISKY tasting table and here’s what we found.
Morris Australian Signature Single Malt Whisky
RRP: $95 700ml bottle
A nose of caramel and marzipan straight out of the bottle. The colour is gold. After a couple of minutes in the glass the nose becomes more subtle and some lifted grains become apparent.
The mouthfeel is balanced with vanilla and a raised sweetness. It’s a dry finish that keeps on delivering. This whisky knocks it out of the park for Australian single malt at $95.
Morris Australian Single Malt Whisky – Muscat Barrels
RRP: $140 700ml bottle
This is where we expected Morris to shine. Access to some of the world’s best fortified barrels gives what is still a relatively young spirit real depth and complexity.
The colour is deeper and the nose expectant with rich molasses. The mouthfeel is packed full of dark fruits, sweet malt and spices. There’s chocolate and cinnamon. The46% (higher alcohol) delivers the flavours in a warm and balanced finish.
There is so much more to come from the barrel programme in coming years, so watch this space.