Australia’s First Forsyth Still Commissioned at Husk Distillers
This week Husk Distillers commissioned their newly installed Forsyths copper pot still, the first to be shipped from Scotland to Australia, marking a maturing of the craft distilling industry in Australia.
Forsyths have been serving the Scottish whisky industry since the 1890s and is revered as one of the world’s leading still makers.
“We chose Forsyths because of their vast knowledge and experience and ability to customise a still to meet our requirements,” said Husk Distillers founder Paul Messenger.
The Australian craft spirits industry has developed rapidly in the last 5 years but is probably still about 5 years behind the US and UK where there is a growing trend toward farm distilleries.
“These farm or estate distilleries represent the pinnacle in craft distilling where everything is done on the farm from growing the crop, be it barley for whisky or sugar cane for rum, to brewing, distilling, maturing and bottling,” says Messenger.
“People are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are looking for authenticity in the food and beverages they consume,” says co-founder Mandaley Perkins. “They want to know where, how and why things are made the way they are and the farm distillery provides that tangible link between agriculture and distilling.”
The founders of Husk Distillers were captivated by the agricole rum distilleries they saw on the French Caribbean island of Martinique and this led them to establish Australia’s first and only Agricole rum farm distillery in 2012. Initially operating in a 9m x 7m farm shed they quickly ran out of space and built a larger shed on the farm. But it was the success of their other product, Ink Gin, that led to the decision to build a brand new distillery.
“We knew we needed a bigger still but were unsure what type would best suit our needs. Since 2012, we’d been making rum using the traditional malt whisky double pot distillation method, so we decided to tour the whisky distilleries of Scotland for inspiration. Of course, it was the small farm distilleries that inspired us most, particularly Ballindalloch in Speyside and Kilchoman, Islay. These busy little operations had a real buzz about them and both featured beautiful Forysth stills as their centre piece,” explains Messenger.
‘We made a slight detour to the Forsyths factory in Rothes where we inspected a vast array of stills bound for customers in the UK and USA and two and a half years later we are very excited to commission our own beautiful Scottish still.”
Third generation still maker Richard Forsyth said, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Husk and we can now claim to have Forsyth stills producing fine spirits in every corner of the globe.”
With the commissioning of their new 6000L still aptly christened ‘Fat Bastard’ after the Scottish character in the Austin Powers films, Husk Distillers join the likes of Glenlivet, Yamakazi, Patron, Woodford Reserve, Appleton Estate and Glenfiddich, all of which use Forsyth stills to create the smooth, iconic character of their spirits.
The Scottish connection was further strengthened after meeting William “Buzz” Hutcheson at Diageo’s Cardhu distillery. After 28 years as head distiller at Cardhu, Buzz retired on Christmas eve 2017 and two weeks later was in Tumbulgum helping install the new still.
“There’s no making a good spirit without a good still, and in my opinion Forsyth are the best of the best,” said Hutcheson. “You can’t say better than that.”
For more information, photos & interview requests please contact Harriet Messenger on 0406 063 040 or at [email protected].