Adams Distillery. An easy and precise name to remember since both founders are named Adam. You have Adam Pinkard and Adam Saunders. Adam Pinkard was nice enough to meet with me midday on a Saturday and I ended up staying for most of the afternoon. There were just too many awesome questions, flavors and American Football talk going on! Adam actually used to play American Football in the States and we of course had to talk about my disdain for the Patriots. It’s fair to say not many people in Tasmania could contribute to this conversation. The team of Adam’s recently moved on to this farm and into this newly constructed warehouse. Adam Saunders comes from a building background was able to get this facility up and running in no time. All production is done on this site now after having to leave their location in the city of Launceston. The farm turns out to be a much more ideal location. Now they have space to continue growing and increasing production along with eventually growing their own barley and making true Paddock- To- Bottle whisky.
As you pull into the parking lot off of the dirt road, the doors are wide open and the pot still sits serenely in the middle of the floor. They wanted this specific pot still design to have a very sharp, aggressive lyne arm and a shape for less reflux to keep heavier flavors and oils in the new make spirit. Not only does the still design affect their new make style, but their barley choices are very unique as well. They use four specific malts for their house style. These malts include the following:
- Pilsner Malt- Classic Tasmanian malted barley. This is what most distilleries will use. It’s unpeated.
- Roasted/Crystal Malt- a heavily roasted malted barley. Gives coco and chocolate flavors. Similar to what is used for Glenmorangie Signet’s Chocolate Malt.
- German Barley smoke with Beachwood- this gives more of a smoked meant smell and tastes.
They then take the malt, mill it and start their mash in their mash tun which used to be a milk vat. The wort is moved into one of the stainless steel ferementers where they use an ale yeast for fermentation. It can get quite hot on the farm in the summer months and they will regularly have to cool down the fermentation. They use town supply water throughout the whole process and put this through reverse osmosis before it is released into production. It needs to be softened a bit further before they can use it. The fermentation is fully closed and lasts about 7 days long. After the fermentation they move the wash into the single pot still that will handle both the wash and spirit runs. The pot still was designed and fabricated by both Adam's along with local contractors. The beautiful brick at the bottom is functional, but also a great design piece they chose. This brick work, with their brand name on it really was the center of the facility. We then started looking at a few of the casks that had recently been filled and were still out on the main floor of the facility. They are being quite experimental in regards to cask size, shape and types. The first cask they filled is an American oak port cask made by Tas Cask Company. They have even made a few casks of their own and have also started experimenting with dividing large casks into compartments to see how the spirit ages in this environment. If this is successful then they won’t have to send casks to a cooperage to be broken down into 100 liter or 20 liter casks. Adam Pinkard takes a lot of inspiration from Scotland and does hope to dunnage style warehouse on site eventually as well.
I was able to try a fresh batch of their new make spirit. It had only spent about three weeks in an American oak port cask. Of course going into this, I knew I was basically drinking new make spirit right off of the still, but it was different and by different I mean incredible. At 63.4% ABV it was on the nose a combination of malty, earthy, dried raisins, milk chocolate and peaches and on the palate was an intense bacon, smoke and finish of chocolate again. I am not joking when I say the finish and “dance” of flavors on the palate lasted at least 40 seconds. Amazing flavor changes from nose to palate and all throughout the mouth. I was so impressed by this that I can only imagine how age and oak exposure will continue to develop and add more flavors. I asked for samples to show a few of my new colleagues at Gordon’s. Who will be the supplier/distributor to pick them up? Get your samples now!
The time and commitment to this distillery is important to note. It is a true start up in the sense that both Adam Pinkard and Saunders still have full time jobs and have not taken any outside investment or capital at the moment. They have many plans for the future, but for now are focused on high flavor and high quality spirit. Eventually as things continue to grow, they hope to be focused on the business full time. This year they plan to make about 7,000 liters of spirit. Of this production about 6,000 will be laid down to age for themselves and the other 1,000 will be sold off for private bottling. They also have big marketing and brand launch plans for their first 100 bottles. Everything from hand stitched leather cases to cigar pairings to come with this release. This is my kind of whisky gift. Although they will be similar to other new distilleries by releasing special edition single casks, they really want to be known for their blending capabilities. This meaning that they want to age in all different styles and sizes of casks and will be marrying and blending them together for the majority of releases. While we sit and wait on the casks they are filling right now, I can’t help but imagine what even a two year old spirit could taste like from here. Time will tell, but for now that new make is definitely one of my most memorable in all of my travels!