When we first set out on our adventure here at Bass & Flinders Distillery in 2009 we had a dream to produce fine brandies, inspired by the classic aged grape spirits of France. Situated at the foothills of Mornington Peninsula’s winegrowing hinterland provided the perfect environment for this challenge to begin. A considerable amount of time researching aged spirits took place in 2009 and we obtained the assistance of a Master Distiller who trained with the finest of French brandy houses. We established our production methods based on traditional Charentaise techniques and obtained ex-cognac barrels for the maturation of our brandy.
BASS & FLINDERS
FIVE YEARS ON
Five years later, after much time and patience we released our flagship brandy Ochre, which encapsulates the style of brandy we had envisaged from the beginning and hope you will savour and enjoy.
The first of its kind in Australia, Ochre is made from 100% Victorian chardonnay grapes sourced from a single vineyard, to retain the unique characteristics of the local terroir and for their exceptional ageing potential. The grapes are harvested at the precise moment when our desired flavour spectrum is at its peak. They are then gently pressed using traditional techniques and fermentation of the juice immediately follows using only the cleanest, purest grapes with no additives. Meticulously handcrafted by blending a combination of brandies from 5 to 8 years old to maintain consistency of flavour and aroma, our Ochre fine brandy is an elegant yet rich, golden spirit, synonymous with the colours of our vast Australian landscapes.
“We aspired to produce a world-class aged spirit. A spirit that could not only match its international counterparts but also capture the essence of the ‘Australian spirit’ in a bottle.
It was natural therefore, to look to France for inspiration on their production methods of aged grape spirits to guide us in the way we make this product. The result is a beautifully handcrafted Australian style aged spirit.
To achieve a world-class spirit, distillation takes place in a traditional copper still, also known as an Alembic still. The Alembic still is not something one can simply 'create'. Exact rules are set on how the Alembic is supposed to look and operate based on age-old traditions.
As the liquid boils in the copper stills, the wine begins its transformation into eau de vie (French for "water of life") through a distillation process. The quality of our Ochre spirit resides entirely on the quality of its eau de vie. The double distillation of wines converts into eau de vie and is thus a major part of the production process. This is the moment when the first aromas, characteristics and promises of taste sensations reveal themselves.
THE AGING PROCESS
“It starts with the humble acorn. Planted in 1880 in the heart of France, we use 135-year-old oak timber to produce our oak barrels and this contributes significantly to Ochre’s quality and flavour profile.”
The oak barrels have a very important role to play. They are the key to producing fine aged spirit. Imported from France, each of our 330-litre and 114-litre French oak barrels have been previously used to store aged grape spirit for 25 years in France. Each and every barrel therefore produce its own unique flavoured Ochre.
It is for this reason, all of our bottles are painstakingly preserved in a hand-numbered bottle according to the lot from which it came. This small detail is an indication that each bottle of Ochre brandy Bass & Flinders Distillery produce, is truly unique and is crafted by an artisan distiller.
In an environment filled with scents and varying temperatures, the filled barrels are then stored in our purpose-built barrel room. Here, time enters the scene, patiently ageing the eau de vie, with each individual barrel slowly developing its own unique flavours and characteristics. Over time, together with the natural evaporation process, Ochre is shaped into the fine aged spirit you can take pleasure in today. Blended using a combination of brandies from 5 to 8 years old to maintain consistency of flavour and aroma, our Ochre fine brandy is an elegant yet rich, golden spirit, synonymous with the colours of our vast Australian landscapes.