Hellyers Road 12 year 46.2%

In our October tasting session, nestled between the light Aultmore 2000 (Gordon & MacPhail) and the rich, complex and delightfully mature seeming Benromach 100′ Proof 10 year, was an unusual whisky from Tasmania.

Now, I must admit, I’ve only tried one whisky from Australia so far… the much coveted Sullivans Cove that catapulted Tasmanian whiskies to the top of the world (in Jim Murray’s ever  not so humble opinion!).

However thanks to the lads over at Whisky Waffle, I’ve read with great jealousy their reviews on various Tasmanian whiskies. Hence distilleries like Lark, Nant, Overeem and – yes – Hellyers Road are distressingly familiar names yet completely out of reach… until our host managed to acquire the Hellyers Road 12 year.

Welcome back to Tasmania

Love the packaging!

Hellyers Road 12 year 46.2% (Tasmania)

  • Colour – Bright gold
  • Nose – Instant overripe banana and jackfruit, a little cod liver oil, bursting with character not at all subtle. Gives you a flash. Yet interesting. Unique. Good then not so good with that undertone of overripe on the edge of rot. Quite vegetal. Needed to wait a bit. Soaked rice like sake. Sweet raisins. Just kept evolving. After sampling, had that red pill coating that pretends to be sweet but is actually medicine. A little wood furniture smell after adding water.
  • Palate – Boom! In your face coffee, the dry bitterness of tea, chocolate, not sweet, a little overpowering, a flash that is very bitter, mocha without sugar, then a little grape peel. Such a contrast between the nose and palate.
  • Finish – Think green tea.
  • Water – The coffee explodes because of the spice. Then once it settles… we could hear remarks like “I’m absolutely loving it!” “Me too!” Clearly this is way to have this whisky – just a few drops of water. And the finish? It becomes fruity rather than bitter tea alone… After some time, that little bit of pani adds magic – transforming it from being a bit of a difficult character to becoming completely enjoyable.

Impressions – This is a very challenging whisky. Not one for novices. If you have an evening with a true whisky explorer – this is without a doubt one you would like to pull out and enjoy together.

Speculation – Who cares about age! Not Scottish. Not Indian though has a certain boldness of character. Stands out as unique. Guessed the strength to be mid-40s.

The reveal… Yeah! Another whisky from Tasmania!!

As our conversation continued, we kept discovering something new, another element… from not quite being sure whether we liked it to clear converts. This is definitely not a whisky for the faint hearted. It demands attention, time and an opportunity to grow on you. Once you get past its highly unusual contrasting qualities, it reveals remarkable depth and character. There is simply something ‘more‘ going on here.

For those not familiar with Hellyers Road, it is the largest single malt whisky distillery in Australia. Once upon a time (that’s 1825), a gent named Henry Hellyer came to the interiors of north west Tasmania as  chief surveyor of the Van Dieman’s Land Company.

As the story goes

“Hellyer had nothing more than a bullock gang and the most basic of tools to carve a dirt road into the ferocious wilderness. Henry Hellyer’s tenacity and vision proved inspirational and changed people’s lives.  Almost 200 years later, his road now guides the way to the Hellyers Road Distillery.”
As for the whisky? Here’s what they have to say about their 12 year:
  • The 12 Year carries all the attributes of its highly-acclaimed predecessors, aged in American Oak, non-chill filtered and bottled at 46.2% alc/vol.
  • Our distilling process ensures an enhanced single malt flavour delivering a well-balanced and very smooth spirit.
  • Released in 2014, this superb whisky imbues a calming softness, reflective of its age. An elegant, gentle spirit that extols an oily sweetness over tones of vanilla and citrus. The mellow aftertaste provides reward for effort and a subtle reminder of the pleasures this hallmark spirit embodies.

Here’s what others have to say:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

2 thoughts on “Hellyers Road 12 year 46.2%

  1. Some brilliantly intriguing tasting notes! I cannot imagine trying this whisky for the first time as an experienced taster. Being a Burnie boy I’ve kinda grown up with it – as a new whisky drinker I just assumed that this was what whisky was supposed to taste like ;D I’m glad that it got you guys talking, though, and that some people enjoyed it.

    I’d be really curious to see what you make of some of the other expressions – however stepping down from the 12 might not be the best way to do do it… Actually, the Pinot Noir finish is definitely worth a try and the peated is always a highlight. You just have to make it down to Tassie and visit the distillery – nips will set you back the pricely sum of four Aussie dollars up there. Best value whisky in the world ;D

    Keep on waffling,
    Nick

    Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely got us talking! And is quite different than your standard Scottish fare.. I personally really enjoyed it and would definitely want to explore more! Alas the nip may be inexpensive but getting from Mumbai to there… well that’s another matter. 😉

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s