From arguably the world's greenest paddock to glass distilleries comes this surprisingly excellent and unusual Apple Hatchet. Think of it as Australia's Calvados, except creamier and with more apple, and less wood influence. This is a distilled and barrel-aged Apple Cider produced in Tasmania by Peter Bignell, one of Australia's finest distillers.
On the nose, you'll find ripe as well as baked apples, intense vanilla, creamy like a hand balm, slightly herbal, some hay, and very soft (anything but a hatchet!).
To the taste, some ripe cider apples, slightly acidic and spicy, quite muscular (there is at least a small hatchet…), herbal, peppery and finishes with dried fruits and banana crisps.
Peter Bignell has created, in the Belgrove Distillery, one of the world's only true paddock to bottle distilleries. With an impressive range of expertise, Peter not only designed and built his own still but also direct fires them using bio oil collected from local Hobart fish and chip shops! The rye grain is also grown on site and harvested by himself (using bio-fuelled tractors).
Peter described it to me as probably the only operation where one man grows, harvests, builds the stills, distills and bottles and I'm pretty sure he's right! Certainly not a conventional distiller by any means and aptly referred to as a renaissance man.
Peter says: "The only things I bring in are the waste oil and yeast, and the things to go out are whisky and pigs."
Although a young operation, Belgrove Distillery has received some impressively favourable commentary from the Master of Malt in the UK, and from international spirits judges. It is worth noting that unlike American bourbons this Rye Whisky is made using 100% (the minimum for bourbon is 51%). Prior to prohibition in the US rye was the most popular style of Whiskey in the US and formed the basis for many classic cocktails such as the Manhattan and the Old Fashion.