In the evolving landscape of whiskey distilling, Chief’s Son Distillery, nestled in Somerville on the Mornington Peninsula, stands out as a testament to both innovation and tradition. Founded by Stuart and Naomi McIntosh, this distillery intertwines a deep reverence for their Scottish roots with a bold approach to whiskey making.
Here, innovation is not merely a buzzword; it’s a tangible practice, deeply rooted in knowledge, wisdom, and gut instinct. Starting as a backyard pilot project in 2013, the distillery has grown rapidly, producing its first commercial single malt whisky after three years of experimentation and dedication. This journey highlights the innovative spirit necessary when one doesn’t have centuries of distilling history to draw upon, the awards highlight the skills they have and the affinity their end product has with experts and connoisseurs around the globe.
While global whiskey distilling has seen considerable evolution, Chief’s Son Distillery maintains a balance between traditional methods and modern techniques. They respect the age-old processes of malting, smoking, and aging, yet aren’t afraid to experiment. For instance, while the distilling process remains traditional, the distillery innovates in how they approach the aging of whiskey, particularly in their selection and use of barrels.
Chief’s Son Distillery places a strong emphasis on the aging process, viewing barrels as a canvas for creativity. This approach aligns with the distillery’s emblem, which features the White-bellied Sea Eagle – a symbol of both the local environment and the distillery’s ethos. The McIntosh’s believe in using barrels that have previously housed other spirits, adding complex layers to their whiskey. This practice reflects a blend of their Scottish heritage and the innovative spirit of the Australian whiskey scene.
In the relatively new Australian whiskey industry, Chief’s Son Distillery has the freedom to experiment in ways that many older distilleries might not. This includes exploring unique barrel types, such as stout beer barrels or maple rum barrels, to craft distinct flavour profiles. The distillery’s location on the Mornington Peninsula, known for its collaborative artisan spirit, further fuels their innovative approach.
Stuart and Naomi McIntosh are not just creating exceptional spirits; they are weaving a legacy that marries their deep respect for tradition with a passion for innovation. Their approach to whiskey making – combining traditional distillation with creative aging techniques – exemplifies the exciting future of whiskey distilling.