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This is the third of the three drams my wife and newborn daughter purchased for my first fathers day. I've slowly worked my way through the Glengoyne and then this dram this evening, writing notes as I went.
This is a local drop from the North of the state. This isn't the 'Peated' drop which recently was awarded best single malt dram in Australia by the Malt Whisky Society of Australia Awards for Excellence 2010. This is the 'slightly peated.'
The story behind the Hellyers Road Distillery is that after the Australian Dairy Industry underwent deregulation in 1996 the Betta Milk company (a Tasmanian milk company) apparently decided that there was a niche in the Australian market for whisky and vodka. So they purpose built a facility and started distilling. They are pretty much the only large scale producer of whisky in Tasmania I'm aware of - all the others are smaller boutique style distilleries.
They produce the following:
Hellyers Road Single Malt - the Original
Hellyers Road Single Malt - Slightly Peated
Hellyers Road Single Malt - Peated
Hellyers Road Single Malt - Southern Fire (this is a product packaged for export)
Hellyers Road Single Malt - the Original with Pinot Noir finish Southern Lights Vodka
Whisky Cream Liqueur
The nose is full of vanilla, honey and raisins. The peat is there but very much there in the background along with a maltiness. The smell is really rich and thick but not overpowering. Borders on luxurious.
The taste is a perfect companion to the nose - thick and rich. The malt comes through stronger, the raisins continue. Hints of citrus, and a savoury taste in the background I associate with rich dark bread. After a few moments a warm spicy cinnamon wave comes through leaving my mouth watering and the tip of the tongue and my lips tingling. Really heart-warming!
The finish is full of spice, raisins, malt with some complementary smoke and salt notes that only now make an appearance, along with a gentle background peat notes. Slowly fades over several minutes.
This isn't a beginner dram by any means, it's just too savoury, with big malty flavours. It's a real whisky drinkers dram in the same way that the Highland Park 12 and the Talisker 10 are (and isn't far from being in the same league). Serious whisky drinkers will like it, but it might be a bridge too far for beginners or speyside lovers.
If the Peated bottle is better than this, it's definitely going to find its way into my cabinet, and sooner rather than later.