THE spirit of Timboon is no longer its best-kept secret.
Where once talk of bootlegged whisky was whispered for fear of falling within earshot of police, the town’s malt is now common knowledge around the globe.
More than a century since its shady beginnings and now backed with legal certification, a local distillery is impressing connoisseurs enough to win high praise in an international whisky guide.
The Timboon Railway Shed Distillery’s product has been labelled one of the best in Australia by renowned expert Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2014, who said it “stole the show”.
Murray scored the Railway Shed’s single malt whisky at 96.5 out of 100 — just one point behind the world’s best. “If you look at the number of whiskies being reviewed ... to be placed within the top 100 rating, it’s great, we’re rapt about that,” distillery owner Tim Marwood said.
“We continue to use small-barrel maturing of whiskies. It’s a bit of a surface area formula that expedites the ageing process.
“It focuses on the spirit to interact more closely with the wood.”
The business, which has been producing whisky for six years, is buoyed by the win and hopes it will bring more visitors into the township.
“It’s given us a bit of street cred on the distillery scene.”
Strict government controls once saw distillers restricted to big producers with permits only issued for those able to produce 50,000 litres.
But a relaxing of laws has seen small distilleries mushroom around the country.
“It’s great to see Australian independents opening up in the market place,” Mr Marwood said.
“You will see more and more of it on the shelves in time.”