If you are reading this article you may be considering a trip to the ‘Apple Isle’ better known as Tasmania, an island state of Australia located, directly south from Melbourne. Even better you may even be thinking about tantalizing your taste buds with some of the world’s finest whiskies that are now distilled on this beautiful island state.
Tasmanian whisky has sprung to prominence in recent years after Sullivans Cove Distillery, located about 25 minutes (by car) north-east from the centre of Hobart, took out the prestigious World Whiskies Award for best single malt whisky in 2014. This was an incredible achievement as their whisky was pitted against some of the giants of the whisky world including Alberfeldy, Glenkinchie, Glenlivet, Bunnahabain & the Japanese powerhouse Yamazaki.
Since winning this award there has been an explosion of interest by travellers (particularly whisky aficionados) wanting to visit Tasmanian whisky distilleries. Everyone is now realizing that Tasmania’s natural resources and climate match perfectly as a location to distill single malt whisky. Tasmania is blessed with:
- An abundance of pure soft water
- fields of rich quality barley
- Highland quality peat bogs
- A cool temperate climate which is perfect for barrel maturation
- The final ingredient to make it all happen is a bevy of entrepreneurs who have a passion for distilling world class single malt whisky
So with all the above resources in place a host of quality distilleries are now available to visit. There are many more smaller boutique whisky distilleries that may find on your travels. If you are looking for them speak to other visitors at the distilleries as well as the distillers themselves
Distilleries in and around the Greater Hobart Area:
- Lark Distillery: Located on the Hobart waterfront, Lark Cellar Door & Whisky Bar was founded in 1992 by Bill Lark . It is a family run distillery including Bill’s wife Lyn and their daughter Kristy who is one of the youngest female head distillers in the world. For more information about this impressive distillery/bar click here on Lark Distillery.
- Heartwood: Heartwood is not a distillery but an independent bottler who source supply from 7 Tasmanian distillers. Once they agree on a batch they then introduce their own techniques to mature the whiskies anywhere from 8-14 years. With some of their alcohol content reaching up to 72.5% Heartwood whisky is some of the strongest in the world. Although their whisky is very strong there is also an underlying unique flavour that has gained the approval of whisky legend Jim Murray. Maybe worth asking to try some of their well known whiskies such as ‘Release The Beast’ or ‘Velvet Hammer’. Heartwood is located in the heart of Hobart.
- Trappers Hut: Not a distillery as such but an outstanding whisky that was purchased by investors initially in 2000. So good is this whisky that the investors were talked into starting their own independent label in 2008 which becameTrappers Hut. Trappers Hut specialize in the single cask whisky and source their supply from various Tasmanian distilleries and then mature it in their own 200 litre American Oak casks which were formerly used to mature bourbon. Their whisky can be purchased from Bruny Island House of Whisky. Bruny Island itself is well worth a visit in itself. There is a Bruny Island Day Trip 7 Course Lunch available from Hobart. Find out more here.
- Sullivans Cove Distillery: As mentioned in our opening the Sullivans Cove single malt whiskies is some of the most sort after whisky in the world. Located in Cambridge just 20 minutes drive north east of Hobart where they recently established their new distillery. Not a great deal more needs to be said other than making sure this whisky distillery is a must do. For more information follow this link.
- Nonesuch Distillery: With its first release of single malt whisky due for release in 2019 people in the tightly knit whisky community are quite excited at the expectations of the latest newcomer to Tasmania’s now flourishing whisky industry. One thing is apparent in all the distilleries we have mentioned and that is the passion and love of their craft that all the distillery owners have for their spirits with Rex Burdon being no exception. The name of Nonesuch as a noun has the meaning (something without equal, a paragon) sums up the small batch distillery. Located at Forcett on the picturesque Rayburn Farm just north of Hobart it is well worth a visit.
- Dark Valley Distillery: This is a very unique distillery and the reason we say that is because of Alex Moores total consumption and love of all things whisky. The distillery is located in Malbina on the western outskirts of Hobart. The name Dark Valley is derived from the Gaelic name Glen Dhu. The Dark Valley whisky releases are very limited with only 30-40 bottles being released on occasions.
- Belgrove Distillery: The Belgrove Distillery is a very unique distillery as it is the only distillery that grows and harvests its own grain, malts, ferments, distills and ages the barrels all on the one site. The rye whisky still is the only one in the world currently powered by bio-diesel. Belgrove is located in Kempton just north of Hobart. One of the most revered whisky connoisseurs, Jim Murray has described the Belgrove Rye Whisky as ‘Liquid Gold’. To find out more about this distillery follow this link.
- Redlands Distillery: Located not far from Belgrove is the Redlands Distillery run by Dean Jackson. Their new home is located at historic Dysart House in Kempton. In 2016 they planted their own barley which is to continue the Redlands tradition of paddock to bottle single malt whisky. You can even purchase your own 20 litre Tasmanian Whisky Barrel. Redlands is renowned for their award winning ‘Water Of Life’ whisky. For more information to visit Redlands Distillery click here.
- Overeem: Located in Blackmans Bay is the Old Hobart Distillery which is run by Casey & Jane Overeem. More a boutique whisky distillery they specialize in producing hand crafted single malt whiskies. Casey’s interest in whisky dates back to the early 1980’s in Norway where he started to experiment with micro distilleries after a visit to a relative’s house. For more information on the Overeem Distillery click here.
- William McHenry & Sons: Located only a few minutes from the World Heritage Port Arthur Historic site is the William McHenry & Sons Distillery. It is one of the most picturesque locations you could imagine with stunning views back to Hobart and the surrounding mountain range. Their highly regarded Three Capes Single Malt Whisky is well worth a trip on its own but to make it even more enticing is their McHenry London Dry Gin, McHenry Classic Sloe Gin and to top things off – PUER triple distilled Vodka. To find out more click here.
- Shene Estate: Located around 28km north of Hobart lies the magnificent Shene Estate & Distillery near the town of Pontville. The sandstone estate was constructed by convicts back in 1819 and is now under heritage listing. It is a working farmed run & owned by David & Anne Kernke. Their head distiller Damian Mackey & his wife Madeleine have been distilling Irish style whisky since 2007. Their first release of Mackey Single Malt Whisky (Cask Two) won a gold medal at the 2016 International Whisky Competition and sold out very quickly. The estate also distills highly awarded Gins as well. This estate is well worth a visit as there is so much more to see and do – click on this link to find out more.
- Spring Bay Distillery: A bit further north of the Shene Estate nestled on the coast at Spring Beach lies the Spring Bay Distillery. A picturesque seaside location that was only established in 2015 by Cam & Suzy Brett. The distillery is the culmination of a 20year love affair Cam & Suzy have had with single malt whisky. They are now using the distinctive natural resources surrounding their distillery to craft some very unique and distinctive seaside characteristics into their upcoming releases.
Distilleries on the North Tasmanian Coast:
- Fannys Bay Distillery: This artisan distillery located at Tam Oshanter on the windy northern coast of Tasmania was initially a hobby distillery for Mathew & Julie Cooper that blew into full commercial production in 2014 when distilling commenced. The whiskies are currently bedded down in a selection of Port, Sherry, Bourbon and Pinot barrels and maturing into what will be a truly unique northern Tasmanian single malt whisky. Visits to the distillery are by appointment only. This could be a journey well worth taking to be some of the first to imbibe & enjoy this unique whisky from northern Tasmania.
- Hellyers Road Distillery: Located in the rolling hills outside of Burnie lies the Hellyers Road Distillery that is owned by local dairy farmers that set up the Betta Milk cooperative in 1956. Hellyers Road first spirits began to be released in 1999 but were not sold commercially until 2006. In 2010 Hellyers Road was recognized by the Malt Whisky Association of Australia for producing the finest single malt whisky. Hellyers Road’s whiskies have also been sold internationally and are highly regarded in Europe where it won ‘Best New World Whisky’ in a blind tasting event at Whisky Live in Paris in 2013. Aside from producing excellent single malts Hellyers Road also has some wonderful other products to tempt you including: single malt cream liqueur, whisky ice cream, whisky relish, whisky chocolate fudge. Find out more about Hellyers Road here.
Follow Crawfords World of Whisky where we will commit to a full-scale tour of Tasmania’s famous Whisky Distilleries as well as a bit of adventure with fun things to do & see in Tasmania while on tour.