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!

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

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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”

Review: Whisky Loot

Some time ago, a business named “Whisky Loot” sent me an unsolicited e-mail requesting my postal address. Soon after sharing my place of abode with them, a “Whisky Loot” tasting pack arrived at my door.  The sample pack contained the following three 60ml bottles: 

  • Limeburners Port Cask 
  • Pure Scot 
  • Koval Four Grain

Continue reading “Review: Whisky Loot”

Q&A with Manly Spirits Co, producers of Australian gin and “North Fort” Australian whisky

David Whittaker, Manly Spirits Co Founder and Director

The Manly Spirits Co is one of Australia’s newest distilleries, having been established in April 2017.   

The Manly Spirits Co is located in Sydney, Australia. The distillery produces gin and botanical vodka, and it has plans to release “North Fort” Australian whisky in 2018.

In this post, David Whittaker, Co-Founder and Director at Manly Spirits Co, answers my questions about the distillery and its products.   Continue reading “Q&A with Manly Spirits Co, producers of Australian gin and “North Fort” Australian whisky”

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”

Q&A with Cameron MacKenzie, Founder/Distiller at Four Pillars Gin (Yarra Valley, Australia)

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The wineries in Victoria’s Yarra Yalley are known for making some of Australia’s best wine, but nestled somewhere near its picturesque vineyards is the Four Pillars gin distillery. Four Pillars was founded in 2013 by Stu, Matt and Cam, who the distillery describes as “three bald pillars”. While it was only established in 2013, Four Pillars gin has already captured the hearts and taste buds of many in Melbourne.  

Four Pillars main product is its Rare Dry Gin. It also makes a Spiced Negroni Gin, a Barrel Aged Gin and an overproof Navy Strength Gin. But wait, there’s more. Some other releases by Four Pillars include its Modern Australian Gin, Bloody Shiraz Gin, Australian Christmas Gin and Cousin Vera’s Gin.

In this Q&A Cam MacKenzie (“CM”), Founder/Distiller at Four Pillars, answers my questions about Four Pillars and its gin.  Continue reading “Q&A with Cameron MacKenzie, Founder/Distiller at Four Pillars Gin (Yarra Valley, Australia)”

Kellybrook Apple Brandy

Type: Apple brandy

Origin: Victoria, Australia   

ABV: 37.5% 

Malt Mileage rating: Stars 3.5

Reaction: 😊

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The Big Black Cock Whiskey

Type: Single malt whiskey

Origin: Queensland, Australia 

ABV: 43% 

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What the heck is “moonshine”? A look at Melbourne Moonshine, Crazy Uncle Moonshine and Bearded Lady Charred Moonshine

“Moonshine” is now a fashionable word. You may know it as hooch, bootleg, firewater, rotgut or white lightning, or as just plain old moonshine. Some dictionaries will tell you that “moonshine” is illegally made alcohol while others will explain that it is smuggled liquor that got its name because it used to be transported at night.    

The story of the “moonshiner” seems to start in the 1800s in southern Appalachia, which stretches along Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. During that time, people would illicitly distill spirit because they saw it as the best way to make money from corn crops. Interestingly, according to the Dictionary of American History, the liquor they made was commonly known by locals as “brush whiskey” and “blockade”, and not many people called it “moonshine”. By the time Prohibition came around in the 1920s, “moonshine” was used to describe any illegal liquor.

Moonshine may conjure thoughts of bathtub hooch and smuggler bootleggers but, these days, the stuff is going legit. While perusing bottle shop shelves or online liquor stores you may notice a product labeled “moonshine” which certainly is legal.

What gives? What the heck is this legal breed of “moonshine”?

Continue reading “What the heck is “moonshine”? A look at Melbourne Moonshine, Crazy Uncle Moonshine and Bearded Lady Charred Moonshine”