THE LOCAL FILES: CHIEFS SON DISTILLERY
Naomi and Stuart McIntosh made Mornington Peninsula history when they opened their whisky distillery in Somerville on March 28th, a short eight weeks ago.
Says Naomi, "We moved to Mt Eliza around ten years ago to enjoy the the beautiful natural environment of the Mornington Peninsula. We are originally from the Blue Mountains in NSW, but we found the transition to coastal life very smooth as our home is on a large block surrounded natural bushland." The couple set up a business as financial advisors, and they now have a nine year old daughter and 7 year old twin boys who attend school locally.
The McIntosh name goes back 900 years, and throughout history they have had whisky in their blood. “Whisky is a powerful spirit that connects people, connects families and connects generations,” explains Stuart. “In our family, like so many others, whisky has been a common thread throughout the ages. For the past 500 years in our family’s long history, whisky has been at the epicentre of love and laughter, life and death, tears and triumphs. Our ancestors transformed exactly the same ingredients, utilised the same ancient craft and derived the same level of enjoyment as we do today. And going forward, it will continue to connect future generations.”
It was only natural that the family tradition continues, so life changed from making whisky in their spare time to a full time operation. Now the team at Chiefs Son Distillery are the custodians of an ancient craft – since the early 1500s small batch malt whisky has been crafted exactly the same way.
Every batch is painstakingly crafted from the very best barley, yeast and water which is distilled into coppered barrels (no additives and no colouring!). This very manual and time-consuming process of selection and production forms the unique, consistent and full-bodied whisky. These very authentic, traditional styles of whisky are unashamedly big, bold and very flavoursome.
We have seen the rise of boutique gin distilleries in Australia and New Zealand, and now boutique whisky is on the rise. In recent years there has been a huge increase in the interest in Japanese whiskies, and now the market is growing significantly in Australia too.
Chief’s Son Distillery is already looking to double their monthly production which will necessitate more storage to house the increased number of barrels, in which the whisky is aged for a minimum of two years. It sure is a labour of love. A new world, a new vision - beautiful whisky that is proudly Australian.
Chiefs Son Distillery's tasting room is open Wed and Thurs by appointment and on Fri to Sun from 10am to 4pm. Tastings of four whiskies are available for only $10 which is redeemable on all bottle purchases.
25/50 Guelph Street, Somerville