MORRIS "The Signature" Australian Single Malt Whisky Review & Tasting Notes


One of the cool things about the Wonderful World of Whisky is discovering all the points worldwide that distill it. I’ve tasted whisky from every continent except Antarctica. Each country puts its spin on things, which is genuinely fascinating.


Until today, I’ve only had Australian whisky from one distillery: Starward. I like what it does, including using wine casks for aging. However, a new-to-me distillery called MORRIS Whisky out of Rutherglen caught my attention while perusing an obscure Central Wisconsin liquor store.


MORRIS started as a family winery in 1859, with six generations involved in winemaking (and now distilling).


The unique and distinctive MORRIS whisky flavour comes from unrivalled access to fortified wine barrels for finishing the whisky, barrels which have held the world’s most highly awarded fortified wines.  

In 2016, the distillery was built around the original copper still built in the 1930’s and installed at the Morris winery in 1941. 

Today, we combine decades of tradition, our heritage still and ancient fortified casks with contemporary techniques to create a whisky that is a true expression of time and place.” – MORRIS Whisky


MORRIS is located in Victoria, where the climate offers average temperatures in the low 40s (Fahrenheit) in the winter and upper 80s in the summer. Even in those winter months, it experiences higher humidity levels. All of this leads to an accelerated maturation as compared to Scotland.


John McDougall led the distilling team, including the late Dr. John Swan as a consultant. Its resident, Head Distiller is Darren Peck, who was mentored by McDougall.


My review explores MORRIS’s “The Signature” Australian Single Malt Whisky. The malted barley is 100% locally sourced. It carries no age statement but spent at least three years in oak, then was placed in former MORRIS award-winning fortified wine casks for an undisclosed duration. There is no indication of chill filtration or E150a coloring. Packaged at 44% ABV (88°), I spent $49.99 on a 700ml bottle.


And now, I’ll #DrinkCurious to see if I made a smart purchase or if I’ll be disappointed.


Appearance: I sipped this whisky neat from my Glencairn glass. The liquid inside was the color of rust; the medium rim created watery legs while retaining fat droplets.


Nose: The nose was filled with plums, cherries, black grapes, rich caramel, and, of all things, wool (really?). There were faint wood notes that attempted to peek through. When I inhaled the vapor through my lips, I tasted almond nougat.  


Palate: I found the texture to be somewhat silky. On the front, I encountered dried apricots, pears, and figs. The middle offered flavors of raw almonds, pastry, and raspberries. The back consisted of mildly charred oak, clove, and dark chocolate.  


Finish: Medium in duration, the finish featured roasted coffee, oak, cocoa powder, almond, pastry, clove, and a hint of char.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: MORRIS The Signature had much going on because things seemed disjointed. There were parts I enjoyed and parts that left me wondering. It went down easily enough; it was proofed correctly (although it would be interesting to explore this at a higher proof).


I am interested in MORRIS’s other offerings, such as the Muscat or Sherry barrels. As The Signature stands, it has high and low points, so I’m giving this one a Bar rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.