Buckley's Rye whiskey

Buckley’s Rye Whisky launches in Australia

November 25, 2019
By Alana House

Sydney-based company Crafty Buggers has unveiled its debut offering, Buckley’s Rye Whiskey.

Buckley’s is a full-bodied ‘straight’ rye whiskey made with a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley.

“I wanted to create a whiskey that is new and exciting, that not only better reflects modern day Australia but also tells a story that resonates with Australians,” said founder Hugh Roxburgh.

“I also wanted to bring to life the incredible true story of William Buckley, which unfortunately is largely missing from the history books. This is one of the greatest Australian stories never told.”

Aged for a minimum of two years in charred new American oak barrels, Roxburgh describes Buckley’s as “an incredibly smooth rye whisky with rich vanilla and caramel notes that perfectly complement the subtle spiciness of the dry rye”.

“This is a whiskey best enjoyed neat, in an Old Fashioned or a Buckley’s Rye & Dry with fresh lime,” he added.

Why rye whiskey?

Jim Murray, the world-renowned whisky critic, has nominated a rye whiskey as his ‘World Whisky of the Year’ four out of the last seven years.

“Rye whiskey has an incredible flavour,” said Roxburgh. “It was originally the base spirit for many cocktails before prohibition – the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, the Sazerac, the Brooklyn, the Boulevardier. Rye whiskey was also the first whisky drunk in Australia – it was first brought here from the US on a trading ship ‘The Hope’ by Benjamin Page in 1792.”

“Our aim with Buckley’s is to define a new category here in Australia,” he adds, “with a flavour profile that is new and exciting but not too dissimilar to what people are familiar with – this is a whiskey after all. We created a whiskey that, while it is made in the US, Australians can be proud to call their own.”

Who was William Buckley?

William Buckley’s tale is the story of the original lucky bugger.

William Buckley; Buckley's Rye Whisky

“William Buckley was a wild and wily man who gave a stiff middle finger to the establishment,” Roxburgh explained. “He was also one seriously lucky bugger!”

William Buckley was a convict with a disdain for authority. Refusing to surrender his freedom, in 1803 he absconded from the doomed Port Phillip settlement into unforgiving bushland. His chances of survival? Buckleys!

Exhausted and starving after weeks of wandering, he happened upon a spear marking a grave. In a fortuitous twist, the Wathaurong tribe believed Buckley to be the reincarnation of the spear’s owner – the great warrior Murrangurk.

The tribe adopted Buckley as one of their own and he lived among them for 32 years, earning the apt title of “The Wild White Man.”

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