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“Malting Grains” ABV2

In the late 1950s the Rural Department of the Australian Broadcasting Commission were famous for “acquiring” subjects that other departments might be considered more suitable to handle. Unfortunately, the other departments did not even think of the subjects.  In order to make sure that the Rural Department made the programme, they would introduce an agricultural aspect to the subject.  Hence, when they wanted to make a film about the distillation of Whisky and Gin, they called the programme “Malting Grains”.  Now who could argue with that ?

With an appropriate crew, we set off for Gilbeys distillery in Moorabbin.  We were met by the firm’s “nose”, the blender.  He was a Scotsman in his early sixties and had, obviously, tasted some of the finest whiskies in the world and lots of it.  He showed us around and we filmed wherever we went.

Gin & tonic

Image via Wikipedia

The surprise was to know that, assuming the appropriate malting grains had been used, the distilled alcohol could be used in one of two ways.  Either it could be put in port barrels for three years and then sold as whisky, or it could be re-distilled with Angelica, Orris Root and Juniper Berries (among others) to become Gin.  Gin, we were told, can be produced anywhere in the world because local conditions and produce have no bearing on the final result.  The difference between one Gin and another lies in the choice of ingredients.

The film was well received, it was full of interesting information and likely to be very welcome among whisky and gin drinkers.

About a week after the programme was broadcast, I received a crated package at home.  It consisted of six bottles of whisky and six bottles of Gin.  All Gilbeys.  I divided it up among the crew.  John Sparkes, of the Rural Department got a crate as well and he divided it up in his department.  Didn’t we do well?

© Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com, 2011.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For other articles about the ABC click here.

Additional links: Gilbey’s Gin at Moorabbin.

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