Tasmania’s whisky scene has exploded in recent years thanks to the island’s temperate climate and wealth of barley and peat. Tasmanians continue to build new distilleries that go on to create some of Australia’s finest single malts. There are big names like Lark and Sullivans Cove leading the way but also a group of small batch producers making some incredibly fine whisky.
So, what is some of the best Tasmanian whisky? And why should you tour their distilleries?
Lark Distillery is a name that is synonymous with Australia whisky making and for good reason. A regular award winner, Lark is the distillery that started them all. The distillery’s founder, Bill Lark, was one of the first Tasmanians to challenge a ban on hard liquor, and borrowed barley from the Cascade brewery to make his first batch back in 1992.
Today, Lark Distillery is easily recognised as one of Australia’s best whisky producers, and no Tassie whisky tour is complete without a journey to the distillery.
Old Kempton Distillery
Located some 50 kilometres north of Hobart, Old Kempton produces some of Tasmania’s smoothest distilled spirits and liqueurs. Old Kempton doesn’t only produce fine whisky, however, as their distillery now produces an apple liqueur, a London Dry-style gin as well as barley-infused vodka.
Old Kempton Distillery is famed amongst whisky lovers for its Lavender Malt, which uses its new make spirit. Finally, there are distillery tours and a cafe set amongst charming colonial grounds – a really pleasant day out for whisky lovers.
You can’t mention Tassie whisky without mentioning Sullivans Cove. Having recently relocated from Hobart to Cambridge, this legendary distillery is what put Australia’s whisky scene on the world stage. The reason? Well, they simply make such fine whisky. First, there is the American Oak Single Cask, the first Australian batch to be recognised as “Liquid Gold” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.
Then there is French Oak Single Cask Tasmanian Whisky, winner of the 2014 World Whiskies Awards “World’s Best Single Malt”. Sullivans Cove is a true champion of the Australian, and world, whisky industry, and can’t be passed up on the Tassie whisky tour circuit.
Launceston Distillery is renowned for its use of pure river water and high quality distilling equipment from North Stills (see https://www.northstills.com/) for producing its small batches. Located in Launceston Airport’s Hangar 17, Launceston Distillery has an extensive collection, ranging from cost-efficient single malts through to limited-edition releases.
Australia’s southernmost distillery is known for its whiskeys as well as its impressive range of spirits. The Tasmanian Peninsula is replete with pure spring water and a fresh maritime climate, making it a great place to produce delicious whiskies and spirits. They even hold the title of producing “Australia’s finest gin” according to Australian Gourmet Travel. McHenry Distillery offers a Gin Lab experience, where you can learn how to make the distillery’s renowned spirit and enjoy the results, too.
Nant Distillery is renowned for making high quality batches without worrying about the quantity. Relying on centuries of whisky making tradition, the distillery produces the beautiful Single Malt Whisky Classic Collection, creating three different expressions in different oak casks. A Nant Distillery tour can be completed with whisky tasting and three course meal, and is a wonderful experience for lovers of Australian whisky.
An Aussie whisky-lover’s dream getaway
If you’re a lover of all the stunning alcohol produces in Tassie, then you shouldn’t hesitate to get yourself down there for a few tours – it’s an awesome experience complete with the best whiskies in the country – what could be better?