Dram With The Distiller: Josh Walker

Located in the small town of Timboon, just under 3 hours west of Melbourne by car, you’ll find the very special Timboon Railway Shed Distillery.

This family owned and run distillery, which also has a lovely 60 seat restaurant is headed up by talented distiller Josh Walker, who took over the distillery in 2015 when he returned from a trip to Kentucky.

While over in the U.S. Josh noticed the growing demand for craft spirits and felt confident this trend would soon reach the shores of Australia. It inspired him to swap brewing for distilling and he now produces two permanent single-malt whiskies; Port Expression and Christie’s Cut. Both are available in-store and online at Craft Cartel Liquor.

We recently caught up with Josh to find out the whisky that inspired him to become a distiller and where he sees the Australian craft whisky industry in five years.

What was the whisky that made you want to become a distiller?

Highland Park, a great whisky that I hope to visit next year!

Where do you see Australia’s craft whisky industry in five years?

“Maturing” Pun intended , there will be a lot more whisky matured and ready for sale but also I believe there will be a lot more people drinking it.

How did travelling around Europe and America influence your own distilling?

Massive, what I saw in the US reflects in what we do today at Timboon. You never stop learning!

As someone who is well travelled, where is your favourite whisky destination outside of Australia?

Kentucky, but that may well change when we head back to Scotland soon. Japan is also on the To-Do List

What is the secret to making a unique whisky?

Patience! Whisky is a “long game” and lot of people try to rush it, cut corners, use cheap casks, mass produce and you can tell in the product.

The distillery is family owned and run, how do you find working so closely with your family?

It’s fantastic, with out doubt I’m able to perform my role in the business better with all of them on board. It’s just not ideal for family holidays as we don’t have a lot of staff left to run the Distillery!

ADD ONE OF JOSH’S WHISKIES TO YOUR COLLECTION

Timboon Port Expression Single Malt Whisky
Golden straw soft gold colour. The nose is gentle and inviting, showing aromas of oak, caramel, butter scotch, dark chocolate, red berries and honey, the palate is soft with fruit notes and a whisp of vanilla. Great example of port wood new make working its magic. Full length through the palate. The extra alcohol on this bottling certainly enhances the character of this malt.

Timboon Christie’s Cut Single Malt Whisky
Christie’s Cut is Timboon’s second permanent line. A premium, cask strength whisky in true, small batch craft style. It’s named after Inspector John Christie who at the turn of the 19th century tracked and captured Tom Delaney who was an illicit distiller in the Timboon area. Like Christie himself, this malt is big and bold. It has a deep character and a long, full flavoured finish. Burnt raisins, silk, smoke and spice. Generally aged in smaller barrels of 25 – 50 litres. It’s a cracker of a whisky!

A Colourful History

Timboon Railway Shed Distillery celebrates the area’s colourful history. Inspiration is taken from two-whisky distilling outlaws and the man sent to bring them to justice.

Tom Delaney and his associate Jim Love were the most notorious whisky distillers in the Timboon district between 1890 and 1893. At their peak it was estimated that they were producing over 100 gallons a week of their whisky ‘Mountain Dew’ with every batch having an illegal government stamp forged onto it.

The government dispatched Detective Christie to put an end to the practice and bring the two outlaws to justice. Christie had a decorative past as a champion boxer, a one-time bodyguard to Prince Alfred and a master of disguise. Disguising himself as a tinker traveller, Christie tracked down the outlaws and after many twists and multiple gunfights, brought them to justice.

Timboon Railway Shed Distillery has established this local folk tale in its distilling today with its award winning lines such as Single Malt Whisky ‘Christies Cut’. You can see elements of Detective Christie’s personality infused in the malt that is big, bold and has a deep character with a full finish.

The distillery offers a restored Railway Shed from the 1800’s that still hosts many of its original features. This serves as the perfect place to enjoy some of their great coffee, house-made cakes, cocktails, local wine and beer and of course Timboon Railway Shed Distillery’s complete range of single malt whisky.

For the Foodies

The Railway Shed is also part of a 5 hour loop called the ‘12 Apostles Gourmet Trail’. This trail is designed to showcase 12 gourmet food artisans around the Timboon district, from fine ice cream stores to fudge farms and of course the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery. This gourmet loop can either start or finish at Victoria’s famous landmark the 12 Apostles. Click here for a map of this trail!