Hellyer’s Road 12 year old Tasmanian single malt whisky

The story of the Hellyer’s Road distillery starts near an Australian town called Bernie, which is near the northwest coast of Tasmania. In 1827 Henry Hellyer cleared bushland near Bernie to create a trail which later became a road. In 1999 a group of dairy farmers established a whisky distillery on that road, and they fittingly called this distillery “Hellyer’s Road”.

Now, in 2020, Hellyer’s Road whisky is among the largest selling Australian whisky brands on the globe with markets in not only in Australia, but also in Europe and Japan. But despite this large-scale success, my observation of Hellyer’s Road is that it maintains a down-to-earth Australian attitude which lets the product speak for itself – there is no spin about climate or wood or over-the-top marketing, they just make consistently tasty whisky at reasonable prices. Come to think of it, that just might be a reflection of the dairy farming culture!

Sitting on my tasting table, ready for a swig, is a bottle of Hellyer’s Road Original 12 year old single malt whisky. This line was originally released in 2014 and it was a bit of a milestone in Australian whisky making, because until this release it was rare for Australian distilleries to disclose the age of their whiskies. The Hellyer’s Road Original 12 year old single malt whisky is made from spirit which is distilled from a wash of Tasmanian barley and then aged for 12 years in American Oak ex-bourbon casks.

ABV: 46.2%

Colour: Golden honey

Smell: Toffee, vanilla, citrus peel (especially lemon), tobacco, tea bags and spices, such as cinnamon. There is always deep and unique citrus character in Hellyer’s Road whiskies which I really love.

Taste: Heavy citrus peel and oils (a mix of orange, lemon and grapefruit) come first, then the wood influence provides toffee, vanilla and nicely integrated tannins which taste like tea leaves and dark chocolate.

Finish: Toasty, with lingering wood-smoke and cocoa, tobacco and fading sweet orange peel.

Overall: This is a full-bodied and lip-smacking dram with a weighty core of rich citrus and beautifully integrated wood notes from the American oak ex-bourbon casks. The only thing missing is a Tasmanian brie to pair it with!

Chief’s Son Single Malt Whisky from Australia’s Mornington Peninsula: “Standard”, “Pure Malt” and “Sweet Peat”

Distilled on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula, Chief’s Son whisky is Australian single malt with proud Scottish roots. Established in 2013 by Stuart and Naomi McIntosh, whose surname in Scottish Gaelic (“Mhic an Tòisich”) means “Son of the Chief”, the distillery’s story is enriched with a clear passion for the McIntosh lineage. So much so that the distillery’s name is an English translation of the family name.

But, the distillery’s story is as much Australian as it is Scottish. Chief’s Son whisky is distilled on Australia’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula, a stretch of land about an hour drive south of Melbourne which is home to some of the world’s best cold climate wineries. Here, some descendants of Clan Mackintosh – a world away from Inverness – distill whisky in the Scottish tradition and call it “Chief’s Son” whisky.

Chief’s Son whisky has a number of expressions, including the “900 Standard”, “900 Pure Malt” and the “900 Sweet Peat”.

Chief’s Son “900 standard”

The “900 standard” is made using a small percentage of peated malt and it is aged in ex-fortified French oak barrels, which explains the whisky’s beautiful reddish copper colour.

ABV: 45%

Colour: Copper

Nose: Deceptively similar to an aged Spanish or Australian brandy, which is also aged in ex-sherry barrels, this whisky’s aroma is jam packed with sweet dried fruit, sherry, caramel, wood and spicy cigar tobacco.

Taste: Raw and fiery, the whisky is spirit driven at first but then the wood takes hold with sherry and some bitter tannins.

Finish: Sour, like chocory, with dark chocolate and (strange I know) varnished wood.

Overall: If you want a whisky with a bit of rawness that provides a wollop of sherry and tannic oak, this might just tick the boxes.

Chief’s Son “900 pure malt”

This is an interesting one – it is made using a darker specialty malt and is distilled using fresh whisky wash that has no recycled foreshots and feints (you can read more about how whisky is made by clicking here). Once distilled the spirit is aged in ex-fortified French oak barrels.

Colour: Copper

ABV: 45%

Nose: A beautiful clean nose which is fragrant and malty like a stout, with cereals, chocolate/coffee and caramel.

Taste: Slightly oily and buttery, with a really beautiful robust malt flavour, salted caramel, crusty herb bread, cooked apple and a bit of spice (cinnamon and clove).

Finish: Buttery, with shortbread, subtle wood and hints of sticky dessert wine.

Overall: This is a lovely balanced stunner of a whisky showcasing rich malt that sits nicely against a backdrop of fruit and spice from ex-fortified French oak.

Chief’s Son “900 sweet peat”

This whisky is designed to be a mild style peated whisky and it is aged in ex-fortified French oak barrels.

ABV: 45%

Colour: Copper

Nose: Apricots, candied citrus peel, and very mild peat and undergrowth.

Taste: Malt with dried fruit, and mild peat.

Finish: Wisps of smoke, dark chocolate and lingering fortified wine.

Overall: Not one for the peat heads, this whisky offers only mild undercurrents of peat and wisps of smoke in what is otherwise a nicely balanced whisky with nuanced sherry flavours.

Thank you to Chief’s Son distillery for the 50ml samples of these whiskies!

Joadja Distillery Ex-Oloroso Cask (batch 4) and Ex-Pedro Ximénez Cask (batch 5) single malts: Two new Aussie sherry bombs

IMG_3034.jpg

Valero and Elisa Jimenez established the Joadja Distillery in Joadja town which sits about 140km southwest of Sydney in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. The Joadja distillery may be a relatively new Australian whisky distillery but it already has a fascinating story. The tale includes an Australian ghost town and a couple of Scotch style single malt sherry bombs which, like the owners of the distillery, trace their roots back to Spain.

Continue reading “Joadja Distillery Ex-Oloroso Cask (batch 4) and Ex-Pedro Ximénez Cask (batch 5) single malts: Two new Aussie sherry bombs”

Launceston Distillery’s Apera and Tawny matured Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky

The Launceston Distillery is based at Launceston Airport’s Hangar 17, which is just a short drive south of Tasmania’s north coast and some world-class vineyards that sit along the Tamar Valley. Launceston – which is Tasmania’s second largest city behind Hobart – has for a long time been a foodie hub, with nearby wineries and farms producing some of Australia’s finest pinot noir and cheese. Now, the Launceston Distillery seems keen to add whisky to that list.  Continue reading “Launceston Distillery’s Apera and Tawny matured Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky”

Limeburners Peated

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Western Australia, Australia 🇦🇺

ABV: 48%

Age: NAS

Price: AU$260-280

Read more

Introducing two new Australian single malts by the Corowa Distilling Co: First Drop and Bosque Verde

IMG_20180901_204507_990.jpg
Corowa whisky launch at Bad Frankie in Fitzroy

In New South Wales, sitting to northern side of the Murray River just over the boarder with Victoria, is Corowa Whisky & Chocolate. About eight and a half years ago Corowa decided it wanted to make whisky, but it was not until the day before Father’s day 2018 that it launched two single malts:  First Drop and Bosque Verde.   Continue reading “Introducing two new Australian single malts by the Corowa Distilling Co: First Drop and Bosque Verde”

Bakery Hill Double Wood (Barrel 7773)

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Victoria, Australia

ABV: 46%

Malt Mileage rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Edit

Reaction: 😀

What a terrific Saturday afternoon – my wife and I are snuggled up on a sofa in the Lake House Daylesford’s Sutton Suite, and I have a glass of local single malt in my hand. That single malt is Bakery Hill Double Wood from barrel #7773.

Gosh, this is a flavour packed whisky. Caramel, citrus peel and spice (clove, cinnamon) is prominent at first, then cocoa and raisin lead into a classy finale of wood smoke, candied orange peel and spiced fruit mince pie/fruit cake. That clove and cinnamon keeps my palate tingling for ages, and after the spices fade turkish delight remains with lemon peel.

A splash of spring water seems to release more citrus peel and soften the spice a little. It still tastes of sweet fruit cake though. Absolutely delicious.

Twenty Third St Distillery Hybrid Whisk(e)y

Type: Hybrid whisk(e)y (a blend of Scotch whisky and bourbon whiskey) 

Origin: The Scotch whisky is from Scotland and the bourbon whiskey is from the United States. The whisk(e)y is bottled in Australia 

ABV: 42.3% 

Malt Mileage rating: stars 4

Reaction: 😀

Continue reading “Twenty Third St Distillery Hybrid Whisk(e)y”

The Big Black Cock Whiskey

Type: Single malt whiskey

Origin: Queensland, Australia 

ABV: 43% 

Continue reading “The Big Black Cock Whiskey”

Starward Apera and Starward Wine Cask

The new make spirit that becomes Starward whisky is distilled and matured by the New World distillery in Melbourne, Australia.

The New World distillery has two main products, Starward whisky and Starward Wine Cask whisky. Starward whisky is aged in used Apera casks whereas Starward Wine Cask (as the name suggests) is aged in used Australian wine barrels.

Continue reading “Starward Apera and Starward Wine Cask”