Let's just put it out there— calling any alcohol ‘healthy’ is a stretch.

But that doesn’t mean there’s absolutely no place for the occasional drink in a healthy lifestyle.

Whisky is a dark-grain alcohol made all over the world. It was first developed in medieval Scotland and Ireland. In Gaelic, the name loosely translates to ‘water of life.’ In Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, the abundance of natural spring water has seen a growing trend for distilling this ‘water of life.’

In 16th-century Scotland, pharmacists sold whisky as a tonic to slow ageing, cure congestion and relieve joint pain. During the 19th century, doctors prescribed whisky to treat pneumonia, high blood pressure and tuberculosis. Whisky is a source of phosphorus, thiamine (vitamin B1), zinc, iron and niacin (vitamin B3). It also contains ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in berries. I’m sold!

It’s well documented, however, that high amounts of alcohol can lead to some serious health issues. Whisky’s potential benefits are associated with its low to moderate consumption. No more than one or two drams.

Today, whisky is available by different names based on its production — like single malt, scotch, bourbon and rye. We are blessed to have some great varietals in this region that are worth checking out. Some you can get now, others you will need to wait for.

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Mountain Distilling

In Daylesford, there is Daylesford Spirit, who have just started a whisky barrelling program and recently won gold at the Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (for their Barrel Aged Shiraz Gin). Their whisky barrelling program is a great initiative in which you get to make your own whisky.

Mountain Distilling in New Gisborne have a nice drop called Red Gum malt that doesn’t use the traditional ageing methods of whisky. Its aromas of caramel, campfire and chocolate are very pleasing on the nose. Peat comes through well on the palate and balances the flavours of prunes, spice and pear, brightened by a hint of citrus. Unlike traditional methods, this drop is aged in red gum rather than oak.

Then there is Terra Australis Distillery in Daylesford. They have several tawny spirits to choose from. Carefully selected eight-year-old tawny is aged in spirit barrels creating maximum flavour. With no added sugar, they are light and easy to drink, offering unique characteristics and experiences with every sip. There is a choice of Tawny Malt Whisky, American Bourbon, Double Pot Still Whisky and Smoked Malt Whisky Tawny.

At Hepburn Distillery, Daylesford, whisky has been made from scratch in-house using peated barley and matured in a small oak cask for over three years. This single batch limited release is a blended malt with a full flavour of light sweet, peat and biscuit-toffee notes. It has a rich caramel colour and is very smooth on the palette.

If you are looking to discover some great new whisky tastes, Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges is the place to go. Stock up on some quality spirits, bypass the medicine cabinet and drink this water of life in moderation.


Daylesford Spirit
Daylesford Spirit

About the author

Paul Matthews

Paul has more than 25 years of marketing, tourism, business and stakeholder engagement experience in both private and public sector organisations.

He worked at Visit Victoria from 2017 to 2021 as the Head of Regional Tourism and Strategy. In 2021, he started his own business, the Visitor Economy Tourism Consultancy and has been working closely with Daylesford Macedon Tourism in the area of Industry Development.

Paul’s specialist areas of interest include Visitor Engagement, Destination Planning, Industry Development, Dark Tourism and Wellness. You can find more about Paul through his website or via LinkedIn.