From Morris of Rutherglen comes Morris Whisky — here's what we know (and what we think) about their Australian Single Malt Signature Whisky.
From time to time, interesting bottles cross our desk; we don’t review every one, just the bottles we find notable. These reviews are independent and not linked to advertising. We did receive a bottle of this whisky to review.
There are two Australian wine styles that are truly unique contributions to the world: Hunter Valley semillon, and Rutherglen muscat. Both of them are forever underrated and great value buys.
It’s a producer of the latter two, however, who has jumped into the burgeoning Australian whisky game.
Morris Whisky is the from the same Morrises who have been making Rutherglen muscat since 1859, and they’ve got two whiskies available now: the Morris Australian Single Malt Signature Whisky, which we’ve tasted below, and the Morris Australian Single Malt Muscat Barrel.
What do we know?
Morris Wines is owned by Casella Family Brands, having been bought by Casella in 2016. Casella — makers of the successful Yellow Tail wine brand — have set up Copper & Grain Distilling Co. as their distilling business, with Morris Whisky the first brand to roll out.
The whiskies are distilled at the Morris of Rutherglen winery in a still built in Adelaide in the early 1930s and put in place in the winery in 1941. Up until a few years ago, it had laid dormant for decades.
To get this whisky business up and running, they’ve enlisted the talents of John McDougall, whose experience extends to Balvenie, Laphroaig and Springbank; Darren Peck, who has distilled or Diageo in the past and who is now head distiller at Morris; and they‘ve been advised by the late Dr Jim Swan, who had experience working with Kavalan, Kilchoman, and Bowmore. Suffice to say, there’s some proper Sciottish pedigree behind this Aussie single malt.
The whiskies are aged at Morris of Rutherglen, with the barrels for the Signature being sourced from family wineries in the Barossa (for shiraz) and Coonawarra (for cabernet sauvignon). The more expensive Muscat Barrel whisky is finished in old Morris muscat barrels.
In a video on their website, head distiller Darren Peck, says that they use two varieties of Australian grown barley: Westminster and Gairdner. They’re then malted for Morris by a specialist malter.
Both whiskies are released with no age statement.
Our tasting notes
It pours golden into the glass, with bronze highlights. The nose offers up aromas of nuts, dried fruit, and florals.
On the palate, this is approachable, delicious whisky for drinking. Up front, there are apple and caramel and elderflower notes; the mid palate is creamy, with almond, stewed apple and sauternes characters — some caramelised creme brûlée notes; the finish has decent length, with dried apple, citrus, and a little drying oak.
If you’re being picky, you could say it lacks a little bit in complexity, but there’s enough there at this price point to make it great value Aussie single malt.
It’s slurpable stuff, a whisky that will please novices as well as geeks, and in our opinion, on par with a number of popular Scottish single malts. Would we have another? Absolutely.
Where to buy
Morris Australian Single Malt Signature Whisky – $89.99 nicks.com.au and distributed in the trade by Vanguard Luxury Brands.
Want to read more?
Further reading on Morris Whisky from around the web.