Morris Whisky makes its debut in the UK, introducing two exceptional whiskies with a compelling back story. The Morris Australian Single Malt Signature Whisky and the Australian Single Malt Muscat Barrel Whisky will be available this month, distributed by Mangrove UK.
The two single malts have a unique flavour, as a result of being finished in vintage fortified and premium wine barrels. Since launching in Australia in June 2021, both Morris Signature and Muscat Barrel have been recognised for their premium quality receiving accolades at several prestigious award shows, including gold medals at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Morris Whisky is the result of the union of two great leaders in the Australian wine industry, the Casella Family and the Morris Family. These new releases are the exciting culmination of their long standing relationship, which spans five decades.
In 1859 the Morris Family began producing wine and six generations later the original still used for producing the now globally renowned fortified is back in use as a result of the new venture into the world of whisky. The wine heritage further endures with the use of the prized century old fortified wine barrels which are unique to the Morris family and impart exceptional flavour into the whisky.
John Casella has always been passionate about spirits and in particular has a love and passion for single malt whisky. In 2016, when the opportunity to purchase Morris of Rutherglen with its unique hybrid copper pot still arose, John was able to realise his dream to craft an exceptional Australian single malt whisky. He founded Copper & Grain Distilling Co. and the Rutherglen Distillery, based in a small town north east of Melbourne and named after the Scottish town of Rutherglen, is now the proud home to Morris Whisky.
At the heart of the distillery is the original 1930’s hybrid copper pot and column still which gives the whisky a uniqueness like no other. Named Aurora, after the princess in Sleeping Beauty as it laid dormant for many years, it was meticulously restored and repurposed for the creation of fine single malt.
Since the start of the production process in 2016, the team has been working with John McDougall, one of the world’s leading whisky makers, having previous experience with celebrated producers including; Balvenie, Laphroaig and Springbank. He now consultants exclusively to Morris in Australia as Master Distiller.
The late Dr Jim Swan, was a key member of the original Morris whisky team, described as the ‘Einstein of whisky’, his technical expertise and experience were invaluable. Both Scots were integral to designing a unique barrel maturation program, including barrel selection and providing the team with a special and unique barrel toasting regime.
Darren Peck (ex-Diageo) has been appointed as Morris Head Distiller and has worked under the tutelage of McDougall for the last five years to craft the whisky. The first barrels were laid down in 2017 and will each have at least three years maturation.
Darren Peck explains:
“The production of Morris Whisky has been designed to be as authentic and local as possible, with every part of the process carried out in-house. The ingredients include locally grown Australian barley and pure filtered water from the Snowy Mountains, Australia’s tallest mountain range located in southern New South Wales. The liquid is matured in a combination of French and American oak barrels sourced from family-owned wineries in the Barossa and Coonawarra regions. The Rutherglen climate of hot days and cool nights, lends itself extremely well to aging the whisky.”
Copper & Grain Distilling Co. has appointed Nick Gillett and his team at Mangrove UK to manage all aspects of distribution in the UK. Commenting on the appointment, Michael Sergeant, Head of Strategy, Cooper & Grain Distilling Co. said:
“We are really excited to partner with Mangrove to make our foray into the UK market with Morris Whisky. We know Mangrove will be an excellent extension of our team due to their extensive experience in premium spirits coupled with an enviable distribution network. Together we look forward to bringing these two premium, but accessibly priced, Australian Single Malts to whisky drinkers.”
Nick Gillett, MD at Mangrove UK added:
“As the demand for new and interesting whiskies from non-traditional regions continues to explode, Mangrove look to bring brands into the family which really encourage both the trade and consumers to explore the category. The effect of climate and territory in whisky continues to be something which adds to the whisky conversation alongside traditional variables of grain type, ageing and cask finishing; we think Morris is the perfect blend of the old and new world and look forward to enjoying a glass with our customers soon.”