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!

Drinking our way through Italy

The Colosseum in Rome from our hotel

It was June 2018, and we had zigzagged our way around the cobble stone streets of Rome, the hilly Tuscan towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, the picturesque seaside village of Lacco Ameno in Ischia, the ruins of Pompeii, and, finally, the chaotic city of Naples.

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Tasting a trio of show-stopping whiskies from Compass Box: The Circle, The No Name No. 2, and The Affinity

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A trio of whiskies from Compass Box

Compass Box are whiskymakers who craft whisky by blending whiskies from different distilleries and batches, thereby creating unique flavour profiles from what is essentially a concoction of “ingredient” whiskies. This is the art of whisky blending. Blending to create a whisky that matches the blue print in one’s mind is much harder than it sounds or looks (as I learned aboard the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer!). Trying to unpack a whisky blender’s creation is even harder. To help unravel their complex whiskies, though, Compass Box provide a break down of the “ingredients” that go into each of their whiskies. Trying to piece together the puzzle of a Compass Box whisky by smell and taste is, in my experience, a lot of fun.

The newly released trio of limited edition Compass Box whiskies that sit before me ready to be tasted are Compass Box The Circle, Compass Box Affinity, and Compass Box No Name No. 2.

Continue reading “Tasting a trio of show-stopping whiskies from Compass Box: The Circle, The No Name No. 2, and The Affinity”

All aboard the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer!

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All aboard the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer

On a particularly cold Friday evening I ventured into the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show on Glenfiddich’s invitation to board the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer, a 1972 vintage bus which has been converted into a whisky bar on wheels! Australian chef Matt Moran introduced us to what he loved about Glenfiddich and then the distillery’s brand ambassador, Luke Sanderson, took us on board for a very special evening of whisky tasting and blending, and to craft our very own Glenfiddich single malt from the three core ingredients used to create Glenfiddich’s 15 year old solera.

Ready to join me? All aboard!

Continue reading “All aboard the Glenfiddich Whisky Wanderer!”

Hunter Laing & Co releases Scarabus Specially Selected at Feis Ile 2019

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Hunter Laing & Co, the family owned Scotch whisky independent bottler, is releasing Scarabus Specially Selected at Feis Ile 2019, the Islay Festival of Music and Whisky.  Continue reading “Hunter Laing & Co releases Scarabus Specially Selected at Feis Ile 2019”

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”

The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection

Fans of Game of Thrones, take heed. As the White Walkers bring the grim promise of a never-ending winter and the icy breath of its ice dragon, viewers may find some warmth in a fiery dram of seven limited-edition single malts which have each been aligned with a great House of Westeros and the Night’s Watch. Without further ado, I introduce you to the Game of Thrones Single Malt Whisky Collection.

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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

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Aberlour A’Bunadh (batch #59)

Type: Single malt Scotch whisky

Origin: Speyside, Scotland flag-for-scotland_1f3f4-e0067-e0062-e0073-e0063-e0074-e007f.png

ABV: 60.9%

Age: NAS

Price: AU$130-140 Continue reading “Aberlour A’Bunadh (batch #59)”