‘Fast-ageing’ Australian distillery to start production next year

14th September, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

An Australian distiller is preparing to open a commercial distillery in Tasmania that will produce spirits using ‘fast-ageing’ methods.

John Hyslop is currently running a small pilot plant with a 50-litre still to “establish proof of concept” for his technology.

He is in the process of building the larger commercial site – called Deviant Distillery – in Sandy Bay, Tasmania, which will contain one 900-litre still and have a capacity to produce 30,000 bottles a year. It is set to be commissioned by early 2018.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Hyslop said he is not yet able to disclose specific details about the technology he uses to speed up the spirits maturation process since it is patent pending.

However, Hyslop confirmed that he cannot legally call his products ‘whisky’ due to their lack of ageing.

“I can say that the process uses the same four all natural ingredients of barley, water, yeast and oak to produce a product identical to an aged whisky in a fraction of the time,” he said.

“There are no additives or chemical catalysts and we use barrels/staves from our local cooper that are sourced from the same vineyards/distilleries as the rest of his premium stock.

“Just like with any other spirit, you can’t polish the proverbial, so we really focus on producing the highest quality new make possible. All of our products are brewed and distilled by hand using a hand-made direct fired still and premium malt barley – everything right up until it is aged is what you would expect from an ultra-premium craft whisky, we just don’t use barrels, and can’t call our product whisky.”

Deviant Distillery’s processes are largely focused on environmental control. “In short, we replicate and speed up the natural processes occurring in a barrel by controlling physical and environmental parameters that influence oxidation, esterification and evaporation, allowing us to produce 150%-200% of the product in 2% of the time,” Hyslop added.

Hyslop said he first thought about fast-ageing spirits when he recognised how much whisky evaporates during maturation while working at a different Tasmanian distillery.

“I think technologies like ours are always going to cause division in the industry,” he added. “Some people are intrigued and open minded, others want to chase me out of town with pitchforks and torches.

“Personally, I really don’t see all that much difference between what we are doing and the use of ultra-small barrels commonly employed by young distilleries to speed up the ageing process.”

For Hyslop, the standard practice of ageing whisky for a number of years in wood barrels leads to an unnecessary amount of waste.

“If Ford made two cars for every one they sold and simply smashed the other into pieces they wouldn’t be a very successful company and I think that consumers wouldn’t stand for that kind of waste. I feel the same about the whisky industry.”

He added: “There will always be a place for traditional barrel ageing, especially in the premium and ultra-premium markets, but technologies like mine are becoming more and more common every day, and at some point a paradigm shift will happen towards a new approach to ageing whisky.

“One lesson I have learned through the development of Deviant Distillery and our technology is the importance of respecting tradition, and I feel that as long as one foot is left in the past it’s important to have your other moving forward.”

John Hyslop, production manager and master distiller at Deviant Distillery

2 Responses to “‘Fast-ageing’ Australian distillery to start production next year”

  1. Jack Smith says:

    Oh, what a great thing. Designer acetone and off-aromas galore. Lark and Sullivan’s Cove shouldn’t worry.

  2. Fraser says:

    Its inconsistent what Deviant are saying – “Respect tradition” while make a case for the ‘damage’ that traditional whisky causes to the environment. Its magic pudding technology making 100 fold the amount of spirit. And if its not whisky then its aged vodka and that’s not such a sexy proposition. Has any one tried this spirit yet as ultimately its in the tasting!

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