For the serious connoisseur or occasional tippler, no tour of Tasmania would be complete without a visit to some of its fine whisky distilleries.
Not only has Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, crowned several Tasmanian whiskies with “liquid gold” status, but his 2016 edition declares the Good Convict bottling from the Heartwood as Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year.
The true joy of exploring the Tasmanian Whisky Trail is meeting the distillers, sharing their passion and learning a little of the wizardry behind this ancient craft. Here is a mere taste of the options available.
Tap Into Eco-Brewing
Tasmania’s environmentally conscious reputation is upheld by two of the greenest whisky makers in the world. Include Kempton, where both of Tasmania’s paddock to bottle distilleries can be found, on your itinerary.
At the bio-fuelled Belgrove Distillery, whisky maker, sand and ice sculptor and sheep farmer, Peter Bignell, conducts every part of the process, from growing grain to barrelling, on the estate. This eco-distillery produces Australia’s only rye whisky which you can taste in the converted 18th-century stable that also houses the still.
Historic Dysart House, previously a 19th-century inn, is now the home of Redlands Estate Distillery. This single malt whisky is distinguished by the fact that dates for each step in the process can be provided with every bottle. The hands-on tours will engage all five senses as you undertake activities such as turning over the malting barley.
Take a Masterclass
Bill Lark was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the World Whisky Awards in 2015. His single malt whisky at Lark Distillery in Hobart is still made in small batches using traditional methods. Learn about whisky from this passionate expert by attending one of his classes or taking a behind the scenes tour.
At Port Arthur, the world’s most southerly distillery, William McHenry & Sons, is a small family operation that uses old-style pot distillation methods to make whisky, gin and vodka. For a little variety, organise to take part in a gin workshop where you get to bottle your very own concoction.
Sample the Prizewinners
The much-lauded Nant Distillery is set in a scenic, meticulously restored estate at Bothwell. Choose the historical tour package to see the 19th century, water-powered flour mill still being used to grist the barley. Tours can include a lunch matched with whisky for each course.
Do not miss a visit to Sullivan’s Cove, near the Hobart Airport, which recently sold two bottles for $10,000 each. Whilst that particular vintage is no longer available, other pleasant tipples can be enjoyed during weekday tours.
Australia’s largest boutique brewery is owned by a milk co-operative. Take a tour of Hellyer’s Road Distillery in Burnie to learn how this pristine dairy farming district became an award-winning, whiskey-making paradise. With high demand from whisky drinkers in Europe and Asia, you will definitely want to try a wee dram during their popular whisky walk.
Remember the Bottlers
Many of Tasmania’s best whisky makers, such as those at Heartwood, are independent bottlers rather than distillers. Head to Salamanca Markets in Hobart or the Tasmanian House of Whisky on Bruny Island for a chance to sample wares from these producers.
Plan Memorable Moments
Your adventures on Tasmania’s Whisky Trail are sure to provide many memorable moments. Bear in mind that these are working distilleries and visits may need to be booked ahead. Ask the hosts at your accommodation for options. With more than fifteen distilleries now operating in Tasmania, they may even have secret knowledge about local whisky makers that are off the beaten path!Add Comment
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