The premium-vodka explosion of the early 2000s inundated bartenders with many brands of the clear white spirit. Companies claimed to have the purest, most-refined and most “luxurious” distillate in the world. Unfortunately, the only way to tell the difference between them all was their respective marketing campaigns. Now, out of Grandvewe sheep farm in Tasmania, comes a spirit setting itself apart.
Ryan Hartshorn of Hartshorn Distillery in Tasmania creates Sheep Whey Vodka, easily the strangest and most exciting liquid to have come over the bar in a while. The usually discarded whey left over from the cheese-making process undergoes two complex fermentations before the liquid is distilled.
So how does it taste? Angus Burton from Spirit People, the vodka’s distributor, says: “On its own, you can expect to find tropical fruit and vanilla-butterscotch aromas and flavours, but the highlight is the pure, cream-like texture of the spirit. This is not liquor that needs to be enjoyed simply, nor drowned in juice. We suggest over ice or in an elegant dry Martini with a lime zest. This vodka doesn’t need to be messed with.”
The beauty of the product is how it challenges the pre-conceived notions of what vodka is supposed to be: that it’s a blank canvas or a clean, flavourless spirit. Hartshorn’s Sheep Whey Vodka is produced in 15-bottle batches. And due to the changing nature of the sheep’s pasture, the ambient temperature at the distillery and how it ages in the bottle (yep, it ages in the bottle) you’re drinking something different each time.