Wednesday 1 February 2023

NED Green Sash [Tasted #616]

"We want to put things in us that are nice!" noted NED Whisky (Top Shelf International) Master Distiller Seb Reaburn. For those that have come across Sebastian Reaburn or Seb the Cocktail Maker Extraordinaire - he's more widely known as the Winner of the Cocktail World Cup, Winner of Cocktail Menu and Winner of Cocktail Presentation.

Of all the great individuals in the hospitality industry, Seb is one that you can say, has been deeply immersed in the world of flavour. Seb has been working with NED since 2016, where he led the establishment of NED's 'grain to can' distillery implementation. In fact, he proudly touted that NED's distillery is the only 'grain-to-can' distillery.

The concept of 'grain to can' may be new to some but the idea had been born from the notion that the number one drink by volume in Australia has been the American-style whiskey and cola, in a can! In fact, Australians drink more whiskey and cola than anyone else in the world. 

So the philosophy goes, if Australians like to drink this combo, why won't NED make them. Seb noted that at NEDS, they can control everything - not only do they distil the whisky but they also run their own canning facility. From this philoshopy, NED was then born, to create a locally crafted Australian whisky that gave Australian a choice and something to call their own.

But there is also more to NED than their ambition to create the world's best whisky and cola. Their recently launched NED Green Sash pays homage to the legendary NED Kelly.

The whisky has been aptly named after the prized green sash that Ned received for saving another boy's life early in his life. 

We joined Seb at Webster Bar in Sydney where he talked through the inspiration behind NED Whisky's latest release.

When Ned (Edward Kelly) was 11, he had a close friend by the name of Richard Shelton. Shelton's family owned the local pub. On the way to school, Richard crossed the Hughes river bridge, in Victoria. That day, the river was flooded and swollen. Richard fell into the river and washed downstream. Not knowing how to swim, Ned saw his friend and managed to jump into the river and dragged his friend out of the river to safety. The two of them eventually managed to get to the river banks.

The Shelton family awarded Ned with a green sash; a long, silk wool and cotton woven green fabric, This was to symbolise Ned's bravery and courage for doing the right thing because it must be done. Ned didn't know how to swim but jumped in anyway to save his friend even though he knew the consequences could have been catastrophic. Ned's attitude is certainly what inspired NED Whisky's latest release. What was also remarkable was the fact that Ned worse the green sash right up to his last day when was felled at Glenrowan.

Seb noted, when he created the Green Sash, he wanted to do it, not because it has been done, nor would it follow tradition but he wanted to create something that is delicious, first and foremost.

The NED Green Sash is a culmination of reserved aged NED barrels that had been harvested over toasted American Oak. The Green Sash form part of NED's core series and will be available all the time. It'll be made every month using a consistent process of emptying the barrels over toasted American Oak, not charred. 

The maturation involve the selection and vatting of 40 of NED's reserved barrels, into a wooden Green Sash dedicated vat which is then drawn down further into 24 barrels which are then put into a final vat to rest for 90 days. This is longer than the rest time for NED Whisky's original whisky which only sees 30 days of rest. Seb noted that the extra rest time gives the Green Sash additional sweetness and additional complexity.

NED Whisky Green Sash (44% ABV, NAS, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, A$79.99 


The inherent vanilla, citrus, oak and fruity notes make this a great standalone dram or as a base to whisky cocktails such as the old fashioned.

Nose: Fruity, some berries and summer fruits, vanilla and some oak and orange citrus notes

Palate: The palate is dry at first, there is hints of chocolate, vanillin, citrus orange notes and berries. The palate then develops and becomes spiced and peppery with some nuttiness that remains.

Finish: The finish is medium to long, with some remnants of spice cake and oranges.

Rating (on my very non scientific scale): 91/100 (Hendy) 

Thanks to Scott Fitzsimons of Top Shelf Group and Seb Reaburn for giving us the opportunity to join in on the NED tasting for the Green Sash launch at Websters Bar.