WHIPPER SNAPPER DISTILLERY, 137 KENSINGTON STREET, EAST PERTH
We were lucky enough to get a bright and early 9:00am private tour of Whipper Snapper – Australia’s first bourbon-style whisky distillery which has been set up in an old warehouse in East Perth. The distillery officially opens on Saturday 13 September with tastings, food stalls and live music.
Thankfully they also serve awesome coffee so we could down a quick flat white before moving onto the moonshine! They are open from 7:00am seven days a week for coffee and tastings.
Alasdair Malloch, the Chief Manager of Operations starts off the tour by telling us the interesting story of his first introduction to moonshine. Whilst flatting in Scarborough as a university student, Alasdair struck up a friendship with war veteran Vic, his elderly neighbour who flew Lancaster bombers in the war. Vic then taught Alasdair how to make moonshine from a recipe given to him by an American pilot he met in England during the Second World War.
Alasdair returned to Perth after being abroad with the idea of opening his own distillery which eventually led to him quitting his job, along with brother-in-law (and business partner) Jimmy McKeown, to track down a relative of the American pilot/moonshine maker – Tommy Cooper, the founder of an award winning Colorado Gold whiskey recipe. Tommy put his retirement on hold to teach the boys how to make whiskey and help refine a recipe unique to Whipper Snapper.
The other expert assistance was from Scottish distiller Frank McHardy who has over 50 years of experience at Springbank and Bushmills distilleries. Springbank is the oldest family-owned independent distillery in Scotland and Bushmills, well known for their Irish whiskey, were established in County Antrim, Northern Ireland back in the 1780’s. Frank has helped with the single malt production.
Whipper Snapper use 80 percent corn in their Crazy Uncle Moonshine, and 10 percent each of malted barley and wheat. Malted barley helps bring out the natural sugars and wheat is used to give the spirit a smooth taste. Moonshine is a clear whiskey-like spirit made predominantly of corn mash which is not aged in a cask, so quite different in taste from whiskey.
In Australia, whiskey must spend two years in barrels before it can be sold as whiskey, and only whiskey that is made in America can be named bourbon. Whipper Snapper’s first bourbon-style whiskey is due to be released in May 2016 while the single malts will not be available until 2017/18. Crazy Uncle, with its shorter production time, is a good product to fill the gap.
We were then taken through the interesting whiskey making process from mashing, fermentation and distilling through to the maturing in American white oak casks.
The copper pot still was a work of art in itself. The beautiful, gleaming copper doesn’t just look good, it actually contributes to the smoothness of the whiskey by removing some of the impurities.
It is exciting times in Perth this year with its first urban distillery open for tastings, and another soon to follow. The founders of Little Creatures are converting a building in Gordon Street, West Perth into the Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery. They plan to make small batch vodka, gin, absinthe, rum and whiskey, with trials already under way in Welshpool – the first release dates hopefully in the next few months.
Check out their Facebook page:Whipper Snapper Distillery or even better – pop down to East Perth for a taste!
Sunday 31 Augusts 2014