Our mission to champion Australian rye whisky
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Our mission to champion Australian rye whisky

Jul 04, 2023

When Backwoods was founded in 2017, one of our aspirations was to produce an Australian rye whisky that would contribute to the ‘rise of rye’ in Australia. Our initial obstacle was finding a local source of rye grain. However, when we came across the heritage rye from the Riverina region, malted by Voyager Craft Malt, we knew we had found our ideal grain.

In 2020, we released our first rye whisky, which was made using a mash bill that championed the heritage rye, combined with malted barley, wheat, and chocolate roasted malt. This distinctively Aussie rye whisky was matured in a French Oak, ex-Shiraz cask. For many Australians, it was their first experience with rye, and for many others, it was the first rye whisky that they enjoyed!

Bottle of Backwoods rye whisky near a campfire

Our debut in the market was a test to determine if an Australian rye whisky would be well-received. It appears that our hard work in crafting the perfect mash bill and selecting the ideal cask paid off, as the reviews were gratifying and gave us the confidence to continue on our rye mission!

"Goddamn, this is an experience. Great flavours from the heritage rye, and the mash bill gets your brain working as it riffs around the shiraz casks maturation, in which has been carefully managed." 

- Oz Whisky Review, August 2020

Over the next couple of years, we released new batches of rye whisky. Always using the same mash bill and experimenting with different casks. American Oak, French Oak, wine casks, corn whisky casks, and even a batch matured in a red gum cask. And so far, they have all received stellar reviews and even some humbling awards. Most notably, Batch #4, matured in an ex-Cabernet cask won the Rye Category at the World Whiskies in 2022.

Backwoods rye whisky and Category Winner award

Our goal is being realised. Even though we are a small-batch distillery, we are contributing to the growing popularity of rye whisky in Australia. Visitors to our tasting room often leave with their first bottle of rye whisky, and even the most die-hard single malt fans have been known to add a bottle to their collection.

We take great pride in presenting a new whisky experience and promoting local grains. Our Australian rye whisky is a true reflection of the unique flavors of the Australian landscape. By using local grains, we are creating a distinctively Australian whisky that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.

Bottles of Backwoods rye whisky