Now it's my time to be a patriot and taste the most famous Australian whisky of the present era. Yeah.
I love the choice of name "Bakery Hill", which is the place where Mr Lalor commanded the miners to take the Oath of the Southern Cross in 1854. I also like the label, which has a simple design of a crossed pick and shovel, with a simple font reminiscent of colonial-era labelling. I can smell the pale dust of the Ballarat goldfields and see the redcoats marching under the gumtrees!
I wish, however, that they had used a more interesting bottle, rather than what is little more than a wine bottle. I was also not pleased to find that the bottle contained only 500 mL. What??
I have actually tasted the Cask Strength Peated as well, in sample form, but since I lack the $130 plus required to purchase it, let us settle with the Standard Strength. By the way, the label has the number of the barrel on it - does this make it a single barrel whisky? Cool.
Quite golden, slightly rose gold. Unlike scotch, the label explicitly contains the words "no caramel".
Neat and slightly watered
Instantly likeable. Bakery Hill has a distinctive sugary nose that is aptly described by Nick Brown as "icing sugar". I get the icing sugar, but also red jam, biscuit and marshmallows, which makes the whisky smell strangely like an Iced Vo-Vo (or, to use another Australian metaphor, a Neenish tart). Maybe even a lamington?? The peat is fairly subdued, with a vegetal character.
Initial runs of Peated Bakery Hill used imported Scottish peated barley due to wrangles with Victorian laws about burning peat. Now, I understand, they use Australian barley smoked with Australian peat.
The taste has much the same flavour as the nose. The taste is noticeably drier than the nose, however, with the peatiness being more evident. Also bourbony notes.
Peat. Caol Ila peat. Or Highland Park peat. Cut grass.
Overall, a whisky that is surprisingly characterful, not just a bland experiment in photocopying scotch whisky but its own man.
O Great Sun Disc
Thou art very great.
Thou art robed in power
and in majesty.
Thou goest down
and it is night.
The young lion roars after his prey