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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 8: William McHenry and The Small Concern)

by Michael Orson     20. February 2015 17:03

William McHenry distillery

This is the final instalment in my series on Tasmanian Whisky and we begin with William McHenry and Sons; a distillery located about as remotely as you could imagine, on the southeastern tip of Tasmania.

The distillery has its connections with the Gaelic whisky world; the owner, William McHenry, being a descendant of an Isle of Skye whisky smuggler. By trade, McHenry was in the pharmaceutical industry, and lived in Sydney, and one balmy Australian day at a barbecue, a friend made a passing comment about William’s Scottish roots, and the idea of making a whisky in honour of them. A few years later, McHenry moved with his family to Tasmania, settling on a beautiful 100-acre estate close to Port Arthur, an historic penal colony.

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 6: Nant Distillery)

by Michael Orson     5. February 2015 11:30

Nant distillery

This week we’ll be looking at Nant – one of the most critically acclaimed distilleries on Tasmania, with high profile fans including legendary whisky commentator Jim Murray.

It began in 2004, when Brisbane-based property developer Keith Batt purchased the Nant Estate, just an hour from Hobart. This ancient estate was built in around 1821, and since the 2004 purchase, it has been lovingly and carefully restored with an investment of some $5 million. The result is arrestingly beautiful; a stunning estate surrounded by breathtakingly scenic countryside.

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 5: Hellyers Road)

by Michael Orson     21. January 2015 09:46

Hellyers Road distillery

Born in Hampshire, England in 1790, Henry Hellyer trained as an architect and surveyor, and was one of the first officers to sign up for the Van Dieman’s Land Company shortly after it was formed in 1825.

Later to become Chief Surveyor and Chief Architect, his work in Tasmania made him legendary, so much so that after his resignation in 1832, the Court of Directors described his “unwearied exertions for the company... his personal privation and risk in exploring the country, and the admirable maps and plans.”

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 4: Belgrove)

by Michael Orson     14. November 2014 16:37

Belgrove distillery

A fledgling distillery in Tasmania, Belgrove was set up by Peter Bignell, a farmer in the tiny town of Kempton. The distillery is rather tucked away off a seemingly endless road through the centre of the island. Arrive and you’ll find an unimposing white-wash outbuilding at the back of a farm – home to the Belgrove’s sole still.

Quite unlike most distilleries on Tasmania, Peter’s is one born of chance and circumstance rather than to satisfy a desire. In fact, it all started in 2009 when his farm had a surplus of rye. Peter, being a keen recycler with an interest in sustainability, decided to reuse the extra grain for whisky production, so he built himself a 600-litre copper still for both wash and spirit runs – quite a feat for a man with no previous experience in the whisky industry.

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David Beckham Haig Club Single Grain Whisky

by Jake Mountain     22. October 2014 12:21

David Beckham Haig Club Grain Whisky

This is really a follow up to my previous post 'Will Grain Whisky be promoted to the Big League as David Beckham signs for Haig Club?', where I talk more generally about single grain and David Beckham as well as taste the Girvan 25yo. Since then a couple of things have happened. Firstly, the brand and the whisky are out there now - from teaser shots where you don't even get to see Becks' face back in July, to us having the whisky for sale on the site, to the Global Launch at the start of October through to the release of the UK television advert at the end of last week. The other thing that's happened is that I've actually got around to tasting it now, finally!

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 3: Lark)

by Michael Orson     7. October 2014 12:23

Lark distillery

In many ways, Lark was the flagship behind the burgeoning whisky scene in Tasmania. Established in 1992, it was the first fully licensed commercial distillery on the island since the ban of 1839, and it all began when distillery founder, Bill Lark, started speaking to a political friend of his, asking why small-scale distillation was still illegal. This set in motion a series of calls, letters and discussions, and the end result was legal distillation on Tasmania. For technical accuracy, it’s worth mentioning that Tasmanian Prohibition was partially lifted in 1901, but only for stills of 40,000 litres and over, making any kind of startup nigh on impossible.

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The Best-Laid Plans of Mice and Malt... Sometimes Go Pretty Well!

by Sam Smith     18. September 2014 11:50

Douglas Laing Timorous Beastie

An autumnal morn I come to find,
Some lovely folk have been very kind.
A box on my desk! Who left this behind?
A curious thing.
I suppose to me this box was assigned,
But what was within?

With a pen I opened it, like a vault,
And claimed the contents within by default.
Sweeties and whisky, could not find a fault,
My, what a feastie.
Here sat Douglas Laing's newest blended malt,
Timorous Beastie!

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 2: Old Hobart)

by Michael Orson     12. September 2014 15:56

Old Hobart Overeem distillery

In a quiet residential neighbourhood in Tasmania’s charming capital city, you’ll find Casey Overeem’s house, and next to it, his garage.

Got yourself a good garage have you? Bought some nice workbenches have you? Maybe a pressure washer? Built yourself a little toolrack?

Well this chap’s got a whisky distillery in his garage, and that whisky distillery is none other than Tasmania’s critically acclaimed Old Hobart.

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Tasmanian Whisky - Everything You Need to Know! (Part 1: Sullivans Cove)

by Michael Orson     4. September 2014 11:32

Sullivan's Cove distillery

We sent our man in Havana on a fact-hunting mission to Tasmania. Facing all manner of perils, from killer ants to the ferocious Tasmanian devil, he went boldly to every distillery on the island. In this series, we’ll detail his findings and give you everything you need to know about Tasmanian whisky, starting things off with Sullivans Cove from the aptly named Tasmania Distillery – recent winner of the World’s Best Single Malt at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards.

Located at the southeast of the island, Sullivans Cove is where the British first established the settlement which would one day become Tasmania’s capital, Hobart. Starting out as a penal colony, one can only imagine what the inhabitants got up to. By 1824 there were sixteen legal distilleries, and a metric slew of illicit stills. In short, it was party-time in Tasmania. I’d even speculate the residents used the word party as a verb. History hasn’t recorded whether or not this is true.

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The-Eccentric-History-of-Berry-Brothers-and-Rudd-Part-III

by Michael Orson     3. July 2014 10:47

Berry Brothers and Rudd

In 1920, Berry’s was joined by Hugh Rudd, a lover of Bordeaux and German wines. Such an essential part of the business, Hugh Rudd’s name was officially added to the door when the firm became a limited company in the 1940s.

The Second World War raged on, and tragedy struck when two of the partners lost their sons: Francis Berry’s son George Gilbert died leading a charge against in the enemy in North Africa; and Hugh Rudd’s son Brian was killed in action in Italy at just 20 years of age.

No. 3 was never hit directly during the London bombings, though the top floors were badly burnt. The shop itself escaped too much damage thanks to the old wooden shutters which protected the shopfront. Years later, during the 2011 London Riots, these shutters were put to use for a second time (though, in my opinion, Pomerol probably wasn’t on the agenda).

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