Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Lark Distillery Port Matured, Single Cask, Cask Strength 58%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Dense aromas of very clean herbal wine cask with dried orange, sultana and an almost sherry-like herbal intensity. Hints of over stewed tea, toffee, dusty/ powdered sweet spice along with a late vanilla note.

Palate: Lightly oiled and very soft. Quite figgy and raisinated with plenty of clean, dry winey notes. The dusty spices build on the middle as the alcohol powers through.

Finish: Long and juicy with a chocolate malt and herbal rye-like finish.

Conclusion: For 58% it’s very easy to drink neat, although the finish is a little on the dry side.

Lark Distillery Port Matured, Single Cask, Cask Strength – Heavily Peated 62.5%

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Wheat-a-bix and hot milk! My god, this isn’t out of its nappy! Hints of Bovril, toffee and burnt malt.

Palate: Shows a better balance, just. Still it’s all about the malt and Wheat-a-bix copiously smothered in treacle, Bovril and chocolate powder. It’s intense and winey with dried fruit and a hint of peat smoke.

Finish: Spirity and intense with lingering winey fruit and smoke.

Conclusion: I can see the attraction of the palate. It’s young, intense and ‘in yer face’ as they say, but the nose doesn’t do it any favours.

Lark Distillery Limited Release Single Cask, Sherry Aged, Cask Strength 61%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Intense and dusty-spiced sherry with hints of fern, farmyards, earth and camphor. Lightly smoked with the herbal character becoming quite rye-like. A late marzipan note becomes apparent. Dilution makes the nose simpler, emphasising the marzipan.

Palate: Chunky Oloroso, dry spice and alcohol.  Exceedingly woody and masked. Water brings out a light smoke, rasinated fruit, prunes, liquorice and treacle. It’s a lot more civilised now!

Finish: Quite long and herbal with a serious alcohol bite!

Conclusion:  Neat it’s all cask and alcohol. Water does bring out a little complexity.


Hellyers Road Distillery 12 year old French Oak Cask 46.2%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Youthful, oily and estery (green banana). Lightly straw marc-like notes mingle with some solid, underlying toffee’d oak. With time the herbal notes emerge along with a touch of barley and citrus.

Palate: Young and estery – banana and pineapple chunks along with chunky toffee’d oak and hints of herbs. Piquant alcohol freshens but the toffee becomes sweeter and more dominant.

Finish: Long and toffee’d with the herbal notes and alcohol just about balancing.

Conclusion: A little chunky perhaps and maybe lacking a little elegance and maturity but it’s a pleasant malt.

Hellyers Road Distillery ‘The Gorge’ 59.4%

Is the first offer of what will become an annual single cask release in the Henry’s Legacy Series. A series of landmark single malt whiskies, each named after significant landmarks either charted or discovered by the distillery’s namesake, Henry Hellyer. Hellyer Gorge is a parcel of pristine forest wilderness that is one of the original pathways to Tasmania’s rugged West Coast Region.

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Young and oily with plenty of winey red fruit (finished?) Quite herbal and intense with hints of marc-like notes and late duty spice.

Palate: Very wine influenced with sugar coated red fruit and plenty of alcohol and tannin. Hints of toffee and straw. Water emphasises it’s youthfulness.

Finish: Very intensely alcoholic and very spicy. It definitely takes your breath away. Lightly juicy and coffee’d after-taste. Water brings forward the creamy oak and emphasises the herbal notes.

Conclusion: Good spirit but could’ve done with more time in cask.

Hellyers Road – Henry’s Legacy Saint Valentines Peak 60.1%

Aged in French Oak (ex-Port)

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Big chunky, coffee’d Oloroso nose which seems to hint at some maturity. Prunes, dark chocolate powder and dark honey emerge. A drop of water opens it up and it’s a lot more silky now.

Palate: Dry, relatively alcoholic but the pruney dried fruit and honey balance. Plenty of dark wood spices. Water opens it up like it does on the nose. Good depth but I’m still not getting much beyond the wood!

Finish: Long with lingering dried fruit.

Conclusion: French oak? Port? Really? It definitely comes across as an oak monster, but one of the sherried persuasion.


Starward Wine Cask Edition 1 41%

Matured in re-coopered 100lt and 200ltr ex-Australian Shiraz casks

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Aromas of boiled sweet sherry with loads of toffee and almost sweet corn notes. A hint of malt but it’s predominantly oak.

Palate: Very sweet and flabby. Almost liqueur-like in its sweetness with oily vanilla and buckets of sweet toffee.

Finish: Medium length with the alcohol attempting to freshen but ultimately failing.

Conclusion: Sherry and first fill American? Far too sweet. All oak and no trousers.

Starwood Apera Cask 43%

Matured in Apera (Australian style sherry) casks

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Soft, treacly and herbal sherry with a touch of boiled sweets, cocoa powder and sweet spice.

Palate: Pretty much as the nose. Straightforward with a developing note of tea and lightly baked fruit.

Finish: Medium length with the sherry and spice notes lingering.

Conclusion: Simple. All sherry and no distillery character but the sherry is blemish free!

Starward Ampera Cask 43%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2015

The nose is big and aromatic with a boiled sweet sherry-like character with hints of green apple, gooseberry and herbs. Quite estery with toffee coated banana and a distinct, sweet, winey personality.

The palate is full and very toffee’d with banana and hints of herbs, honey and wine. Relatively straightforward but mouth-filling. Long, lightly spiced finish with an almost corn-like fleshiness, but a touch of citrus injects some balance.

Limeburners Single Cask Peated 48%

Bourbon Cask M59 (2 years old)

Nose: Broad, aromatic and juicy with a bright barley character. Hints of earth, manure, peat, tobacco, hops and herbal rye-like notes appear. Late touch of vanilla oak.

Palate: Full and barley’d but quite herbal. The oak is a little more dominant and the toffee takes the edge off the spirit but the alcohol counters. Lovely body.

Finish: Long and mouth-watering with a touch of honey joining the barley and lingering herbal notes.

Conclusion: A lovely, vibrant malt.

Limeburners Single Cask 61%

American Oak Sherry Cask M97 (3 years old)

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Visceral, earthy and spicy. Quite youthful with a herbal rye-like character and touch of burnt toast. Impressive intensity but a bit too much ‘off the still’ character. Water emphasises the sherry.

Palate: Relatively soft but quite spicy with plenty of earthy, herbal sherry and hints of immature spirit. Water makes it simpler and oilier.

Finish: Very alcoholic and very herbal. Once the alcohol passes there is a pleasant degree of sweetness.

Conclusion: Impressive intensity and impressively clean sherry but it could have done with more time in cask.

Limeburners Sherry Cask, Cask Strength 61%

Tasted: Apr 2016

Nose: Quite winey with toasted treacle and an almost PX-like grapiness. Intense and very herbal with malt biscuits, caramel, sour cheese, leather and stewed fruit. Water makes it a little bland.

Palate: Intense, alcoholic and coffee’d with plenty of drying wood notes, herbs and hints of malt biscuits and treacle. Water makes it rather bland and homogenous.

Finish: masked, mouth-watering, herbal and malty. Water softens and emphasises the malt and herbal notes, as if they needed emphasising!

Conclusion: Clearly well made whisky, but the cask is too dominant, as is often the case with Australian whiskies. Water doesn’t do it any favours either.




Overeem Sherry Cask Matured 43%

Matured in ex-sherry, French oak quarter casks

Cask OHD-030

Tasted: July 2013

A soft and quite vanilla’d nose of lightly oiled orange, xmas pudding dried fruit and plenty of sherry spices. Very clean with a light, herbal, green olive character (distillery character?) With time some hints of light earth, liquorice and sweet, burnt coffee notes appear. Also the sherry aromas have become thicker and sweeter, almost Pedro Ximinez in style.

The palate is soft and full, opening ith some creamy vanilla followed by light raisin, sultana, dried grape, a touch of liquorice, earth and coffee grains. Again spotlessly clean and spicy middle. Reasonable length if a little dry from all the intense wood notes.

Overeem Sherry Cask Matured 43%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: A little shy to begin with but it opens to show sugar coated but earthy barley along with hints of toffee and sherry. A light citrus note adds freshness and a touch of green pepper emerges.

Palate: A little homogenous. Hints of treacly sherry, liquorice and molasses along with a sliver of barley and plenty of late toffee.

.Finish: Medium length with the alcohol cleansing the finish, but the sweet toffee lingers.

Conclusion: A bit overpowered by the oak. The nose promises something but the palate fails to deliver

Overeem Sherry Cask Matured 60%

Matured in ex-sherry, French oak quarter casks

Cask OHD-032

Tasted: July 2013

An intense and very woody nose – Big, salty Oloroso aromas! There’s an earthy, almost peaty note along with the astringent, grainy, wood spices. It’s a raw, unfettered sherry beastie with a touch of decaying vegetation and dried fruit with a castor sugar coating. Damn that vegetal woodiness is pervasive. With time a touch of vanilla and coffee appears.

The palate is thick and unctuous with treacle, walnuts, warm spice, raisin and dried orange rind. A big, thick and syrupy mouthfeel before the tannins, alcohol and wood notes hit the middle. Raw, but clean with an intensly alcoholic finish. When that passes it leaves a hugely woody finish which dries out the finish completely.

With a drop of water the nose is still reasonably raw and herbal. More visceral than the 43% bottling even when diluted. The palate is softer and sweeter. Simpler and less herbal but the finish has become rather bitter now.

Overeem Port Cask Matured 43%

Matured in ex-Port, French oak quarter casks

Cask OHD-027

Tasted: July 2013

A raw, herbal, almost grainy spirit nose with hints of cereal and lanolin. Surprisingly the port notes are quite subtle and earthy adding a touch of red fruit. Lightly vanilla’d and lightly sugared with hints of burnt wood. To be honest the nose feels a little disjointed, yes, it is quite woody but the young spirit dominates.

The palate is lightly sugared and gently spiced with floral red fruits along with hints of herbs and lightly oiled cereal as the spirit comes through. The palate is a lot more harmonious than the nose with the sugars attempting to balance the woodiness, so that it is only gently woody in the finish with a touch of dry spice.

Overeem Port Cask Matured 60%

Matured in ex-Port, French oak quarter casks

Cask OHD-029

Tasted: July 2013

A huge, rich, slab of toasty vanillins and prickly alcohol greet the nose with a serious herbal, almost grainy spirit note. Raw banana and apricot mingle with orange/ tangerine oil, spicy raspberry and silky redcurrants. A big, big nose! Like the 43% but turned up to 11! Although there’s plenty of wood it’s not too tannic. Late notes of walnut oil and coffee. I love the intensity!

The palate opens with the slightly sweetened red fruit and big oak tannins. The middle is all oak, oak and more vanilla oak…. And alcohol! A serious oak fest! Very dry, dusty, herbal finish with a touch of light treacle and coffee. Damn that’s a hit!

With water the nose becomes quite aromatic. Still quite herbal with lots of sweet, spicy red fruit along with a touch of coffee now. Still intense, earthy and showing a little more of the port character but in saying that it feels like it has integrated better than the 43% bottling. The palate is a tad watery now with more of a sugar water character. It’s a little insipid with a spirity, herbal, youthful finish along with some oak bitterness. Personally I would put this into full size casks for a few more years to soften the wood and give the spirit some maturity. Work in progress I think.

Sullivans Cove American Oak Cask Matured 47.5%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Tight, grainy oak to start, but it opens to show a good depth of fragrant barley, wood spice, violets, oxidised fruit, peat and vanilla.

Palate: Full and barley’d with lashings of summer fruit, apricot and apple. A little tannic on the middle with some gritty spices but the oils and the vanilla oak balance.

Finish: Intense and herbal, quite mouth-watering with lingering gritty oak and vanilla.

Conclusion: Finally an Australian whisky that is not blasted by sherry and appears to have spent more than 5 minutes in a cask. I’ll drink to that!

Sullivans Cove 11 year old French Oak Cask 47.5%

The Tasmania Distillery was established in 1994 on the banks of the River Derwent at Sullivans Cove, the site where the British settlers planted their flag and began to build the settlement that became the City of Hobart, Australia’s oldest city.

Tasted: Feb 2013

Nose: Pungent aromas of cod liver oil and youthful cereal. Hints of sugar coated citrus mingles with lemon oil and a touch of rose petal marc.

Palate: Oily, opening with some light woody notes and sugar coated cereal. The alcohol builds along with the spices and a touch of rose petal marc emerges.

Finish: Quite sweet with a hint of citrus and a lot of marc/ spirit.

Conclusion: Not entirely convinced about this. Quite hard work

Sullivans Cove 12 year old French Oak Cask 47.5%

Tasted: Jan 2014

Best Australian Single Malt

Nose: A very appealing nose of lightly tropical fruit coated in honey and dusted with pollen. A little boiled sweet-esque marc note appears along with hints of coconut and barley. Exquisitely balanced.

Palate: Lightly oiled with plenty of oily malt and dusty spices. The palate shows some maturity and developing tobacco, sweet spices and a touch of dried fruit, treacle and more malt!

Finish: Long, crisp and quite citrus with the rose petal notes returning.

Conclusion: Very pleasant. It gives the impression of being triple distilled. In the mix as they say!

Sullivans Cove 12 year old French Oak Cask 47.5%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Delicious aromas of sweet-ish raspberry jam and earth. Not over sweet with hints of dried fig, sultana, pomegranate and grainy/ dusty spice. Some sweet barley emerges along with a touch of pepper, chocolate and tea leaves.

Palate: Gently winey with soft, slightly oily red fruit, figs and pomegranate. Lovely balance with hints of barley, herbs and grainy oak. The sweet raspberry note sits in the background and a touch of camphor comes through on the middle.

Finish: Long and extremely juicy. The French oak-like tannins come through with a lovely chocolaty character but the ever present raspberry continues to sweeten.

Conclusion: Excellent balance. Wine cask finished? (Tasted Blind)

Sullivans Cove 12 year old French Oak Cask 47.5%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2015

Nose: Oily apricot and sultana with some edgy boiled sweet notes along with an almost Cognac-esque character (a finish?) Quite high toned with the boiled sweet notes beginning to dominate.

Palate: Soft and lightlky smoked with a touch of sweet honey and barley. The boiled sweet note is not as dominating on the palate, which allows the juicy fruit to show.

Finish: Long with lingering rose petal and boiled sweet notes.

Sullivans Cove 14 year old American Oak Cask 47.5%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Generous and fruity with musky apricot and pineapple along with slabs of heather honey, lightly gristy barley and pollen heavy flowers. The American oak is very well integrated and supportive.

Palate: Opens with soft honey coated barley and ginger. A lovely combination of pure heather honey and set honey. Add in a touch of malt and oak and the mix is superb.

Finish: Long and lightly herbal with oiled vanilla and herbal spices.

Conclusion: The purity of honey and barley is very impressive.

The Tasmanian Distillery ‘The Exile’ 2000 (15 year old) French Oak 62%

Aged in Sullivans Cove HH0556 French oak barrel.

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Full and very estery with loads of perfumed tropical fruit, honey, guava and melon. Fresh oak shavings mingle with intensely straw-like barley.

Palate: Light, almost grainy dried fruit, then a huge hit of sweet, honeyed apricot, white fruit, white chocolate and dusty barley. And not forgetting the huge vanillery oak too!

Finish: A little hot and spirity with lingering bublegummy fruit and almost rye-like herbal notes.

Conclusion: Impressive, but possibly a little over perfumed.