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28 November, 2020

Mount Uncle Distillery awarded Distillery of the Year.

The Mt Uncle Distillery in Walkamin has topped off an impressive year after winning the award for ‘Australian Whiskey Distillery of year’ at the recent Melbourne International Spirits Competition (MISC). The latest award comes after the distillery cleaned up at a number of other international award ceremonies in 2020.

By Phil Brandel

Mark Watkins at the Mt Uncle Distillery at Walkamin.

Mount Uncle Distillery awarded Distillery of the Year.

The Mt Uncle Distillery in Walkamin has topped off an impressive year after winning the award for ‘Australian Whiskey Distillery of Year’ at the recent Melbourne International Spirits Competition (MISC). The latest award comes after the distillery cleaned up at a number of other international award ceremonies in 2020.

The Mt Uncle Distillery in Walkamin was started by Mark Watkins in 2001 due to his interest in distilling from a young age. “I started distilling in my cubby house when I was sixteen,” Mark said.

After completing two chemistry degrees and working at a winery in New South Wales, Mark returned to his family’s banana plantation west of Cairns and using leftover bananas he distilled his first liquor. Then in 2001, he began selling spirits to the public.

In 2017 the Mt Uncle Distillery won Australia Distillery of the Year at the fourth annual Melbourne International Spirits Competition (MISC). In 2019 Mt Uncle Distillery’s Iridium Gold was labelled the Best Rum in the World after beating out a host of international drops at the World Rum Awards in London.

Mt Uncle then took out top honours for their single malt Watkins Whiskey in the ‘12 Years and under’ category at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards in London.

Now the winning streak has continued with Mt Uncle being awarded the ‘Australian Whiskey Distillery of the Year’ and a Gold medal for their Single Malt Whiskey at the recent MISC.

Mark said it was another feather in his cap “It’s the second time we have won the award, I think the reason we’ve won it again it's due to consistency and just good quality whiskey,” he said

“And it gets up the nose of the Tasmanian whiskey producers.

“The reason why the Whiskey won gold again is because we use the best-malted barley and we also use a hybrid cask made from French oak and American oak.

‘The French Oak gives it a nice spice and the American Oak gives it a nice honey taste.”

Mark also said he is interested in quality rather than quantity.

“Last year we only made 30 barrels of the whiskey and this year we’re aiming for only 45 barrels.”

The latest awards follow on from the 5 silvers and 2 bronze medals that Mt Uncle won at last month’s Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair as well as another seven awards at the 2020 Australian Distilling Awards including a Gold medal for the their Bushfire Smoked Gin.

Mark said that his unique gin is based on an original London dry gin recipe but the original ingredients had been substituted with Australian native botanicals. “We have smoked our botanicals with bushfire timber, to uncover a rich, smokey, woody flavour,” he said.

Despite the awards, Mark is not about to rest on his laurels, with Mt Uncle getting ready to launch a Christmas flavoured gin and also Australia’s first agave spirit which is due out next year.



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