Roll Out The Barrel
A huge array of environmentally friendlier versions of everyday products adorn the shelves of supermarkets these days: cosmetics; toiletries; foods; and plenty more. To the list could soon be added whisky. For a ‘green’ malt is the brainchild of Peter Bignell, a man on an environmentally friendly mission of biblical proportions. Quite literally as he is based near Bagdad which just happens to be 34kms from the village of Jericho…in the Australian state of Tasmania. So what makes the eco-distiller’s whisky ‘green’? He uses old cooking oil, which has been reclaimed from a local chip fryer, to heat up his stills. And it appears it is not just the environment that benefits but also the taste of the whisky itself, as Mr Bignell explains “With the odd chip strained away, she burns a beaut…The direct-flame heating of the still [produced by burning the oil] lends a caramel to the spirit.” In keeping with the ecologically sensitive spirit, Mr Bignell only uses locally sourced ingredients and is even considering using sheep manure from under a shearing shed on the site of his Belgrove Distillery as an alternative to peat which is burned to add a smokey flavour to the whisky. “It’s less ‘miles’ as the shed’s next to my rye fields, but I’m worried about a possible marketing downside,” admits Mr Bignell. So how does his malt measure up against the competition? With a rating of 94.5 out of 100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, the world’s leading whisky guide, pretty well it seems. “Perhaps the most concentrated rye arrival I have tasted for a couple of years from any part of the world. Just so sharp, almost three dimensional,” writes a Murray’s reviewer. With plaudits and orders coming through, Mr Bignell has plans to triple production to 300 litres per month. Let’s just hope he has alot of sheep.