The Australian Spirits Guide

The Australian Spirits Guide

$40 AUD
Luke McCarthy 
Hardie Grant Books 
2017 
$40 

I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the 2017 Tasmanian Whisky Week – where else would you expect to meet a journalist/author dedicated to the subject of Australian spirits. I complimented him on the quality of his work based not only on careful research but also as a reflection of a subject in which he is so clearly immersed. I had already come across his writing in “Executive Style” and so a book of this nature and quality from him came as no surprise. 

Distilling is almost as old as modern Australia in that it more or less arrived as part of the accoutrements of early settlement. The fact that it has had a rollercoaster history but now seems to be settling at new levels of excellence and acceptance combine to make the story all the more intriguing and the journey through the Australian spirits Labyrinth both challenging and immensely enjoyable. And that is not just because of the quality of the products but also the nature of many of the people behind them. The author gives us sympathetic profiles of some of the more colourful distillers who have contributed so much to the rise of Australian spirits – and whisky in particular. 

Australian whiskies – and Tasmanian especially - are given full and careful treatment, although they are only part of the wider panorama of spirits distillation in Australia today. It is all the more buoyant at the craft level and the degree of ingenuity and inventiveness is quite breathtaking. 

All of this is fluently captured and then articulated in a volume, which I expect will see regular future editions.