Willie Smith's launches Charles Oates Distilling with new apple brandy

Bottling the new spirit of Tasmania!

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The Apple Shed - Home of Willie Smiths

The Apple Shed - Home of Willie Smiths

Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy
Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy 350ml
Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy 200ml
Charles Oates Distilling Launch Dinner


Acclaimed author, Richard Flanagan, launches new Tasmanian apple brandy by Charles Oates Distilling.

Charles Oates, the Mountain River man and an icon of the Huon Valley region, has been the inspiration for a pioneering new line of apple spirits that are being hand crafted by the makers of Willie Smith’s Cider under the banner of Charles Oates Distilling.

Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy is created from distilling Willie Smith’s apple cider, meaning every bottle is filled with juice pressed from fruit grown at the orchard located in the Huon Valley.

Prior to commissioning their locally-built Alembic still last year, the decision was made to work with Redlands Estate to distil the cider. This spirit has been aged in a range of Tokay, Muscat, and Sherry barrels to develop a smooth and delicious brandy that the connoisseur of Calvados will not be able to resist. 

“We are overwhelmed with how the product has turned out, it’s dark and rich colour and flavor is so exciting to see and taste, we can’t wait to bottle our small batches and share it with the people of Tasmania” says Dr. Tim Jones, Head Cider Maker & Distiller at Willie Smith’s & Charles Oates.

The creation and release of the Fine Apple Brandy and the focus on innovative, un-aged apple spirits are yet another way to celebrate the apple-growing history of the region. 

Sam Reid, Co-founder of Willie Smith’s & Charles Oates Distilling tells us,“I first fell in love with Calvados (French Apple Brandy) when I was visiting France on a research trip four years ago. It’s an absolutely delicious spirit and I knew that it was something we just had to develop in Tasmania. The still enables us to make a traditional style Calvados whilst also improving the quality of our cider."

‘If we produce a batch we’re not 100% comfortable releasing we can just distil it and make apple spirit. In this we’ve also found a way to reduce wastage in the cider making process, so it’s a win-win. “continued Mr Reid

Attending the launch was an impressive collection of Tasmanians who have displayed a pioneering spirit and have made a significant contribution to Tasmania and its story. Award-winning author and Calvados aficionado Richard Flanagan was presented with the first ever bottle and spoke of his first impression of the spirit…

“Tasmanian whisky makers have rightly established a global reputation for producing some of the world’s best whiskies," Flanagan said. “But I suspect in years to come people will say the true spirit of Tasmania is its apple brandy. This first bottling is a brandy of superlative quality that can hold its own with the best French calvadoses, and yet has its own distinct Tasmanian character. It’s an astonishing feat, and anyone who can get hold of a bottle is going to count themselves lucky."

Also in attendance were Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman from Fat Pig Farm, Daniel and Melanie Leesong from Coal River Farm, Casey and Grete Overeem, prominent local musician Dean Stevenson and Peter Bailly who designed and built the Alembic still.

"Launching this Fine Apple Brandy celebrates the pioneering spirit of Charles Oates by taking old world methodology and doing it in our own unique way." says Mr. Reid

Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy is available in a 200ml and 350ml bottle exclusively at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed and in their online store.  The stock will be strictly limited.

 Read the tasting notes for Charles Oates Fine Apple Brandy here »


About Charles Oates of Mountain River

No history of land settlement in the Huon would be complete without reference to the efforts of Charles Oates, who pioneered what is now known as the Mountain River country.

To a man of vision the rapidly developing district offered great opportunities and Charles Oates was one of the men whose resolution and vigour were equal to the demands made upon them by the times in which he lived. He became well known as farmer, sawmiller and horticulturalist.

Charles Oates came to Van Diemen’s Land as a convict in 1844. In the new colony, he met and married Ann Jackson, whose father had also been transported from England. Like many other ex-convicts, Charles worked hard to make a productive new life.

He and Ann built a beautiful farmhouse at Lucaston, a fine structure with strong and simple Georgian lines, made of local, hand-hewn stone.

Around ‘The Stonehouse’ they also built the beginnings of a family business, planting fruit trees, raising crops and grazing stock. And with their 12 children and 90 grandchildren, they put down the roots of an extended family that would grow through the generations, with branches spreading throughout the Huon Valley and beyond.

Today, more than 3,000 descendants of Charles and Ann Oates live in the region. As well as Oates, you’ll find family names such as Albury, Allen, Armstrong, Ayers, Bell, Bennett, Brown, Buxton, Carr, Clarke, Cordwell, Coombes, Dean, Dowling, Eaton, Flakemore, Gore, Griggs, Grimsey, Hall, Hasell, Heather, Harris, Jones, Jolley, Kile, Krause, Longey, Lucas, Lovell, Newbon, O’Malley, Parsons, Reeve, Rimon, Shepherd, Stanley, Stevenson, Talbot, Thurley, Turfrey, Upchurch, Vincent, Walker, Walton, Woodward.

And there are Smiths – because Charles and Ann’s youngest daughter, Elsie Oates, fell in love with a young Glen Huon drover named William Smith.


  • Huon and Channel (TAS)

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