Type: Single malt
Origin: Tasmania, Australia
Hellyer’s Road is one of Australia’s trailblazing whisky distilleries, being among one of the first to make Australian whisky. In the years since it started producing single malt, its whisky range has grown beyond a simple core range. It has had limited releases, of which The George is one of my favourites. And, it is also making more peated whisky.
Despite being a Tasmanian distillery, Hellyer’s Road get peated grain from Inverness in Scotland to make its no age statement “Peated” single malt. To make its “10 year old Slightly Peated” single malt, Hellyer’s Road distill wash made from 100% Tasmanian malted barley immediately after they distill their Peated malt. As a result, the “10 year old Slightly Peated” single malt is not made from peated grain but instead it picks up delicate peaty flavours from being distilled after Hellyer’s Road distill their Peated malt.
The subtly smoky new make spirit is then aged for 10 years in 200 litre American Oak barrels, most of which come from Jack Daniel’s in Tennessee.
Nose: Orange/mandarin, yuzu, caramel and buttery vanilla. It is very fruity, with fresh apricot and sliced mango joining the heavier orange. There are hints of smoke, with soot and toasty notes together with potpourri.
In a larger stemmless wine glass, the bouquet opens up and gets even better – there is more toasted coconut and vanilla from the American oak, and the fruit smells more like kiwi. Burnt twigs join in, and I can go on and on.
Taste: Burnt orange peel and grapefruit rind with citrus oils and dehydrated mango. Floral flavours join the fruit – at first I thought the whisky tasted soapy, like floral soap. The oak and light wisps of smoke darken what is initially a zesty and fruity malt. The taste of soot and charring emerge with wood spices, burnt toffee and scorched nuts (hazelnuts keep coming to mind). The whole time, there is a lovely buttery vanilla flavour.
Finish: Charred wood and spice, especially peppermint, with caramel and softer orchard fruit (such as apricot). A haze of wood smoke settles, the taste of chocolate and cocoa lingers, and I want another dram of this malt.
Overall: A delicious single malt with its array of fruit and subtle smoke from both peat and charred oak, which tastes like a bit of campfire smoke (not meant to rhyme, but hey presto!). It is absolute heaven with a Malaysian beef curry and dark chocolate, and pairs beautifully with a mild-medium strength natural wrapper cigar.