In the central highlands of Tasmania is a picturesque estate (circa 1823) from which one of the most superbly balanced whiskies trickles out in small quantities ever so slowly and with obvious utmost care. This estate is the Nant distillery, purchased by the Batt family in 2004 and invigorated with what in my view is among the world’s best whisky.
Blind tasting this whisky alongside other Australian and New Zealand whiskies, and then again alongside some of my favourite Scotch whiskies revealed a Tasmanian whisky with impeccable balance. This whisky is 43% alcohol volume, but there is no shortage of spark as it ignites on the palate an explosion of diverse favours.
It is clear that the ingredients used to produce this whisky are first rate, from pristine water and the finest port casks to the highest quality barley; water and barley sourced from the highland lakes surrounding the distillery.
Tasting Notes – Nant Port Cask
This whisky washes against the palate gently, releasing a complex character that shines with the sweetness of exceptional quality port as the oak weighs in to impart delightful flavours that balance against it to create a superbly balanced whisky.
The nose on this whisky is light and fresh, like the gentle breeze on a fresh spring morning in the hills of the wine producing Tamar valley in Tasmania’s north. Sniffing this whisky is brings back fond memories of sitting in a Tasmanian winery patiently waiting for a tasting of red wine, as the aroma of wine stained wood would perfume the air.
The creaminess of whipped cream coats the tongue as bitter oak and the dry sharpness of red wine cuts through the sweet shine of maple and honey. Vanilla develops on the tongue, as that whipped cream thickens with sprinklings of anise and shavings of dark chocolate. That red wine is distinctly sweet with bursts of dryness, almost like Lambrusco. A subtle earthiness also develops, as gushes of chocolate milk wash up against tobacco leaves and the herbaceous notes of basil and spicy nutmeg.
The finish on this whisky is initially light but gains on intensity as the taste buds scream out for more excitement.