Old Hobart Overeem casks

For the last month we’ve been running a cracking little competition offering the chance for one lucky winner to join a select panel of whisky experts later this month that will decide which bourbon cask will be bottled as the first ever bourbon matured Overeem Tasmanian whisky! The selected whisky will be a UK exclusive, a release of just 50 bottles at 60% abv, with the winner also bagging themselves a bottle – a personalised one at that!

How would this lucky winner be chosen? Well, not by luck at all actually, but by writing the best tasting note for Overeem Sherry Cask 43% single malt whisky (with two runners up winning bottles of this popular expression).

So without further ado, the lucky deserved winner is…

Seamus May!

Here’s his winning entry, conjuring some fantastic imagery that captures the essence of this Tasmanian whisky:

“There is a strange familiarity about this whisky, a nostalgia. Its deep amber recalls car journeys of childhood, in the backseat; peering through foggy windows at the warmth of the streetlamps, each one a reminder you were nearing your destination, with each one you were closer to family and friends. That first sniff: nostalgia. The rustic herbs of a roast, fragrant, filling the house. That selfish anticipation that only great flavours, that you know you will taste soon, can bring. It grew then, it grows now, as you bury your nose in the glass. Then the sudden rush of spice and fruit; a pudding- the imperious scent of brandy – the friendly warmth of a kitchen. This whisky is already a full meal, and you’ve not even had a taste yet. And then you taste, and the memories are renewed, more vivid. There are those herbs again, yet this time fresh from the garden, the smell clinging to your hands. There is maraschino cherry, at the peak of a vanilla sundae, and the same giddy indulgence you felt then. Blackberries from the bush, their purple blood oozing. The resinous wood of stately panelled rooms. These are old flavours- the sort of flavours you occasionally see advertised in fading murals on old buildings “Buy Lyon’s Tea”. Yet there is a twist, there is a strangeness here, some innovative exotic freshness: the New World. A hint of bourbon takes you to the cornfields of America. Spice and cream takes you the chaihouses of India. Eucalyptus and honey takes you to the temperate rainforests of Tasmania. New flavours, new memories. Overeem Sherry Cask comforts you with memory, before stretching you to match its ambition. This is a dram that doffs its hat to tradition, whilst turning to face a new world of whisky.”

Old Hobart distillery Overeem whisky

You’ve done Casey proud, Seamus!

Congratulations! Enjoy taking part in a fascinating and delicious little piece of whisky history! (We’ll be contacting you on twitter with the good news, but if you see this first then drop an email to alexandra[at]masterofmalt.com)

Now onto the runners up, starting with this excellent tasting note by Ben Cops:

“Colour – Hammered copper. Nose – Dried fruits and glacé cherries. Caramelising apricots, almonds, some sweet candle wax and generally all things “pain aux raisins”. Fairly flawless, great intensity and nuts in the nose. Clean sherry with fresh fences, long grass, simnel cake and dried banana slices. With water, more custardy pastry and fresh lavender flowers – just a hint of acrylic and very feminine. Rather lovely but water takes the intensity down a little. Body – Sweet spicy brown sugar, sponge fingers, baked apples, then icing sugar and fresh mint leaves on vanilla ice cream. With water, a touch of bitterness and unbalancing chilli comes through, and a little pepper. Going back to it neat, the chilli is definitely there but held back by the alcohol and the intensity of the sherry. Finish – Medium, sweet, more vanilla ice cream and lingering oils on the tip of the tongue. Toffee pennies signal the end of this sip and lead you back for more glacé cherries. A very pleasant dram, keep it neat.”

And our second runner up, also receiving a full bottle of this Sherried expression is Matt Veira, who managed to mention John Coltrane, Gustav Mahler, Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas (potential supergroup?) in this epic:

“As I sit in my favourite armchair on a warm September evening, with John Coltrane providing a certain serenity to the room, I’m enticed by this deep amber nectar of the gods. Much like a Mahler symphony, I don’t know what to expect; utter beauty or simple confusion. I’m welcomed to the glass like a long lost friend, with the first sniff embracing my nostrils like a warm hug. At first, this beast from down under seems rather vibrant in the glass. However, it’s deceptively smooth and rounded, with whiffs of fresh wood and sweet tropical fruits smothered in dark chocolate, reminiscent of old sweets my Nan would hide in her purse. A sudden rush of fruit; especially sticky cherries, banana and plums before the delicate spices start weaving their way through my nostrils, with cinnamon and orange zest clamouring to also get a nod. This is all followed by a wave of nostalgia – chocolate covered raisins that my dad would always have in his car. All the while, the light dusting of sweet sherry sneaks in round the back to drive this nose forward. With a dash of water, a sweet note of vanilla interplays with a gentle grassy-ness. I find myself desperate to delve into the deep layers of flavour found in this beautiful liquid. An abundance of Sunday stewed fruit crumble with vanilla custard attacks my taste buds before a sudden onslaught of liquorice, raisins and cereal notes appear. A real sweetness you get from demerara sugar or fresh icing sugar on a warm sponge cake is present too. Robust woody spices continue to build with each sip, and frolic on the tongue with a particular dustiness leaving a slight chilli note. Chocolate covered raspberries this time, whilst the sherry now takes a leading role. My favourite note? The fizzy refreshers and slight hint of ash. John Coltrane is playing his final number of his ‘Live in Paris’ album. His sweet melodies in “Impressions” leaves me feeling somewhat melancholic, whilst the whisky lingers leaving warm spices, orange infused chocolate, vanilla, and Werthers Originals (again from my Nans purse!) Somewhat nutty, with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg from the spice rack and a residual dryness also. There is no hiding it, there has been some quality interaction between wood and spirit here. This is not only strongly robust, but is a vibrant, exciting and alluring dram that glides round your mouth delightfully like velvet. I think it was Santana and Rob Thomas that once sung about this whisky: “Oh you’re so smooth…” When I think about it, this wonderful whisky is much like Mahler’s famous 5th symphony. It is utterly beautiful, starting with a tender movement which elegantly continues to build into a triumphant masterpiece. Complex and fulfilling. It is said that Mahler wrote it as a love song to his wife, with a poem attached: “How much I love you, I cannot tell you that with words. I can only lament to you my longing and love”. My sentiment exactly for this Tasmanian Devil.”

Old Hobart distillery Overeem whisky

(We’re sure Jane would be proud of these too.)

We’re also going to send a dram off to Mike Best, simply for this sentence: “In reality, trying to write a tasting note to describe something like this is like trying to describe Lincoln as ‘a tall man with a big hat’”, which made us chuckle.

– The Chaps at Master of Malt –