This New Tasmanian Distillery Is Making the Equivalent of Ten-Year-Old 'Whisky' in Just Ten Weeks

Deviant Distillery is creating a spirit that apparently tastes like whisky, but takes much less time — and water — to produce.
Jasmine Crittenden
Published on October 30, 2017
Updated on October 30, 2017

A Tasmanian distiller by the name of John Hyslop has created a Willy Wonka version of the mighty whisky. The newly established Deviant Distillery has just released Anthology, a drop they claim tastes like a ten-year-old spirit, yet was made in just ten weeks.

Hyslop achieved this wonder by studying what happens when you place whisky in a barrel for a decade. Then he created an environment in which this process was accelerated by manipulating physical elements governing oxidation, esterification and evaporation.

The only catch is that, legally, the resulting product cannot be called whisky. It's hand-distilled in a copper pot still with the usual four ingredients — barley, water, yeast and oak — and without any additives, but the lack of conventional ageing process means that only the label "single malt spirit" can apply.

"Other than the ageing process, everything about our spirits is what you would expect from an ultra-premium craft whisky — we just can't call it that," Hyslop says. "I explain it like this: instead of putting a supercharged engine into a car and racing it to the finish line, we just remove all the obstacles in its way and let it become what it wants to be."

Hyslop sees two major advantages in speeding up whisky making. Firstly, it enables frequent experimentation with various flavour profiles. "With the traditional distilling model, what is bottled today was barrelled 10 years ago," he says. "But now, in theory, we can conduct several centuries' worth of flavour tests and arrive at an ultra-premium drink that no single generation ever could before."

Secondly, he considers it greener. On average, when whisky ages, between 30 to 50 percent of the spirit evaporates. However, Hyslop loses only four percent to the air, meaning the distillery uses much less water and ingredients. In addition to this, the distillery produces minimal waste and is working towards carbon neutrality.

Right now, the whole operation takes place in Hyslop's mum's garage in Somerset, where he produces about 120 bottles per month. He's hoping to move to bigger, commercial premises in Hobart by early 2018. While Hyslop claims the spirit tastes like an aged whiskey, we're keen to give it test it out ourselves. Anthology is available online for $86 from today and in selected bottle shops in Tassie.

Published on October 30, 2017 by Jasmine Crittenden
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