The Gospel: Best Rye Whiskeys by IWSC
The Gospel Distillers is a big winner at the recent The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC 2023). A distillery located in Brunswick, Melbourne, The Gospel uses 100 per cent Australian rye from Murray Mallee region of South Australia.
The Gospel Whiskey preserves and retains the characteristics of traditional American rye whiskey with nuanced differences that make it distinctly Australian. The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey and Solera Rye Whiskey are the recipients of gold and silver awards respectively at this year’s IWSC. The former is also named Australian’s Best Whiskey, making The Gospel Distillers a big winner this year.
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The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey - IWSC 96 Points - Gold
Scoring a whopping 96 out of 100 points, The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey has earned a gold medal at the recent IWSC. The score is also the second highest in IWSC’s record for rye whiskey category.
The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey is first distilled in a self-built column still before going through a second distillation in a pot still. It is then matured in American Oak barrels for at least two years.
A fairly new and young contender, The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey was launched in March 2020. Judges at IWSC described the sip as “decadent and complex”. The palate on the other hand is “bright and vibrant” and “harmonious and well-balanced”. The finish was remarked as “memorable”.
The Gospel Solera Rye Whiskey - IWSC 91 Points - Silver
The Gospel Solera Rye Whiskey has also impressed the judges at IWSC 2023, securing a silver medal at 91 points.
The Solera Rye expression is also double distilled. It is matured using the Solera technique in a specialised purposed-built tun made of American oak and locally-sourced Australian red wine barrels. Popular among the bars in Singapore, the Gospel Solera Rye Whiskey has more robust flavours of rye like that of the American Bourbons only that 100 per cent unmalted rye is used.
Judges registered delicate nose of sweet rye followed by a robust palate with orange, apple and brown sugar notes. Hints of fresh mango on the finish.
The Gospel Distillers
The Gospel Distillers was founded in 2019. Prior to their new location in Brunswick, a popular enclave in the heart of Melbourne city, the company was known as Melbourne Moonshine, distilling unaged grain spirit, white spirits and liqueurs. The foray into whiskey production comes from experience and is inspired by top craft distillers in the U.S.
The distillery uses a six-metre high column stills designed and built inhouse by the the founders Ben Bowles and Andrew Fitzgerald who are both former engineers. The estate also has a bespoke copper pot still.
Master Distiller Ian Thorn
Master Distiller Ian Thorn quit his study in pharmacy to purse his interest in brewing and distilling. He now has a Masters in Distilling and is teaching at the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. He has more than twenty years in the industry, and here is an extract of how and why The Gospel is what it is today.
Ian’s work at The Gospel is driven by his belief that it is pointless to try to replicate what overseas distilleries are doing. The conditions in Scotland or the US are very different and therefore produce unique flavour profiles. As an example, Ian investigated the variation in temperature across the year and found that Melbourne’s temperature swings far more widely within each successive month than overseas whisk(e)y-making regions such as Scotland or Kentucky (read more about it here).
“The temperature within Melbourne can swing 20 degrees from one day to the next. This means alcohol expands and contracts in the barrel many more times over a given period, forcing the alcohol into the oak and back again.
This isn’t necessarily a help or a hindrance, but definitely something that needs to be understood to create the best whiskey possible. This led Ian and the team to experiment with a much more varied range of approaches – changing the interaction of wood and spirit, the treatment of the wood (charring, toasting etc), the amount of oxygen that interacts with the maturing spirit (micro-oxygenation), the size of barrel, and how the final blend is created. For Solera Rye, they’ve even been challenging the old-as-time idea that longer in the barrel is always better.
Malt, Grain & Cane: Sunset Boulevard – Secret Orkney 2007, 15 Years$335.00 before GST