Digging into some Dugite

I don’t normally write anything outside of Wednesdays, come to think of it recently I’ve not been writing anything much at all recently, but today is different. You see today we’re celebrating a birthday, that’s something that’s always worth celebrating. Whose birthday, you might ask, and I can tell you that it’s not my birthday, but rather a whiskeys birthday. This is a happy birthday to Dugite Whiskey.

To celebrate they sent me a lovely bottle of their whiskey, along with a press release. I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve never received a press release before. Here’s hoping I do it justice.

Great Southern Distilling Company has built up a global reputation as a leading Australian Whisky Distillery, producing world class spirits. Having won over 140 medals and trophies over its 16 years of distilling, you can be sure that any new spirit released by the company will be of truly global standards.

Just a year ago Great Southern Distilling Company, in line with their existing brands, released Dugite Whiskey, a high quality, hand-crafted spirit using exclusively Western Australian produce. This whiskey was a passion project for Founder and Master Distiller Cameron Syme as he wanted to make great whiskies accessible to a wider Australian market. Sitting at $99 a bottle, Dugite Whiskey has not compromised quality for price. This blended grain whiskey, which incorporates some of the distillery’s premium single malt whisky and mixed grain whiskey (barley, corn, wheat and rye), is a smooth and well-balanced dark spirit.

Distilled with views of the beautiful Porongurup Range landscape, Dugite Whiskey is hand-crafted from premium Western Australian grain and pristine Porongurup rainwater, with a focus on sustainability. The distillery has 35kw of solar power which was commissioned at the start of 2021 from hundreds of evacuated tubes and repurposed stainless tanks. This now means that all the water used during the brewing process of Dugite Whiskey and Dugite’s brother brand (an impressive 2,600 litres) is now 100% solar heated. Cameron Syme stated this is ‘a good step towards a zero-carbon footprint for the company and we are always looking for continual improvements to improve the way we are doing things when it comes to sustainability’.

Many pieces of equipment at the Porongurup Distillery have been purchased second hand. Syme has done this to minimise the distilleries environmental impact, as there is a carbon cost when buying new. ‘We get local trades to revitalise the second-hand product, which gives it several more years of life, it is not always cheaper doing it this way, so this is not a saving initiative for us, rather a sustainability initiative’ Syme states.

Syme and his team are proud that Dugite Whiskey is celebrating its first birthday this month. They have been able to produce a whiskey that is produced sustainably and at a price point which makes it available to the everyday Australian. To celebrate, Dugite Whiskey collaborated with Ronny Dahl, who is known for his good honest review and love of Dugite snakes, what a perfect match for this good honest whiskey.

As part of the collaboration, Ronny and his team spent the day at the distillery in the Porongurup’s and learnt the ins and outs, while tasting some delicious drops of whiskey straight from the casks. A special limited release pack is available as Dugite celebrates it’s first lap around the sun, which includes a bottle of this delicious whiskey and a Ronny X Dugite long sleeve shirt. These packs will be available online from the 19th of May until sold out so be sure to grab yours before it’s too late.

Wow, that’s a lot of information, but what do we take away from it? Well firstly Dugite is sustainable. Their use of solar power means that they are doing their own part to combat the present and growing climate crisis, and coupled with their use of second hand equipment means that they’re doing it at their own expense while supporting the local tradespeople who revitalise the equipment.

And it’s cheap. I love Australian whisky, I think it’s amazing, but the problem it has also faced is its price point. At just $99 this really is something that you can pick up on the cheap and enjoy. So, what are we drinking? Corn, rye, barley and a wheat hybrid known as triticale all go into this whiskey alongside single malt. Everything is aged for a minimum of two years in ex-bourbon barrels before being blended to create the Dugite whiskey, so it’s a mix of everything. Considering one company is controlling every aspect of the distillation, maturation and blending the whiskey is in safe hands too.

The story is great, the sustainability is a big win in my books, but you can’t judge a whiskey until you taste it, so let’s crack that bottle and dive in.

At first it bites like a dugite snake, big fangs of oak before the corn makes a great base of vanilla and caramel for the other grains to play around on. The rye hits through with spice and then we get seared orange rinds, lemon juice, malt biscuits, and hazelnut, and when I say hazelnut I mean it, it’s as though they’ve crammed all the Ferrero Roche they could into the cask along with the spirit for maximum flavour. Then its honey on soft and ripe peaches and nectarines, gone is the bite of the spirit and in comes the soft fruit that make the core of the whiskey. The honey starts to crystallize, we get some rock melon and a few slices of honeydew. It ends with kiwi fruit and some passionfruit with the lemon juice returning.

Ooh, that’s a hint of fairy floss at first that soon gets buried by the bold grain flavours but it’s that mouthfeel that takes the breathe away. Creamy, silken, supple, honestly the whiskey comes together and runs like a smooth snake over the palate. Taking a moment away from the feeling we get raspberry, floral sweetness, then it’s on to icing sugar and incredibly runny honey. Fluffy scones with some vanilla cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar, again the corn makes the base with the malt and rye appearing atop it for some high notes but of all the grains it’s the wheat that steal the show, honey, fresh bread, raisins, maple syrup and then joining with everything for some glorious fruits. I feel another sip coming on…

I thought the finish was short until it turned around and came back once, twice, three time, it gives that loving touch of fruit and honey but slithers away and back again multiple times. And then it’s just Werther’s originals and sherbet lemons until we head back for more.

I liken this whiskey to a snake, dangerous if mishandled but something you should spend time with, remember, a whiskey is more afraid of you than you are of it. It’s silken and easy drinking, there is an initial bite on the nose, yes, but it quickly calms down to gives you a whole manner of amazing flavours. And should you leave the glass to go and answer the door to get some food you’ll find that the whiskey really opens and show cases a wholly different side.

This is something I’ll toy with. Do I have it all neat? I want to try it with some water or even in a cocktail (or in some bread), but mainly I’d love to warm the glass by hand over a long period of time and discover the flavours that releases as the snake warms itself. The only problem is that the liquid keeps mysteriously disappearing and I must refill the glass, which brings me onto the problem I’ll face when this bottle is done and dusted, would I buy a bottle?

It’s $99, it’s sustainable and more important it is damn tasty. I will definitely buy a bottle of this and would encourage you to too. In fact, you could head to their shop and pick one up right now, or even head here and grab the pack that they’ve released in collaboration with Ronny Dahl, and I would highly recommend that. Winter is coming and a great long sleeve like that can never go astray. It also completes a look…

So, with all that said and done what do you drink with it? I considered many an Australian song but could not settle on any, and then I thought instead of an Aussie song why not something that is like the whiskey? Something that has a biting start, something that has an amazing track, something that we can all love.

They’re both brilliant and you can’t help but love them. Cheers, and happy birthday to Dugite Whiskey.

Somewhiskybloke received a bottle of Dugite whiskey, a shirt, a pack of cards and a bottle of sriracha sauce to complete this review. This has in no way altered his opinion of the whiskey, but it has improved his three card monte.

If you would like to learn more about Dugite, Porongurup and Great Southern Distillery, click here to discover their story, and here to see check out their Ronny Dahl X Dugite bundle!

If you enjoyed reading this, why not give me a follow on Twitter at @Somewhiskybloke? There you can stay up to date with what I’m drinking and what news I’m ignoring while trapped in the wonderful whisky bubble.

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