medicinal

Hellyers Road Peated

Reviewed by: Ted

Hellyers Road Peated

So, you’re a big fan of peated Scottish single malts, but in order to save the world from certain destruction (just go with it, ok?) you have to buy a Tasmanian whisky. What are you going to do? Never fear, Hellyers Road has your peat needs covered with their appropriately named Peated expression

When it comes to peated whisky in Tasmania, the situation is a little more complex than first meets the eye. Tasmania actually has its own peat bogs, however the smoke is quite different to the Scottish stuff, being softer, gentler and more rounded. It is also restricted to a few distilleries that own leases to the bogs (the rest is locked up in national parks and the like).

In Hellyers Road’s case they don’t have access to a native bog, so instead they import peated barley all the way from maltings in Inverness, Scotland. The side-effect of this is that Hellyers Road Peated is much more closely aligned to Scottish drams than other Tasmanian malts (side note: Hellyers Road use local grown barley for their non-peated expressions).

Nosing the Peated expression is like standing in a grain storehouse, grabbing a big handful of peat-smoked barley and taking a deep sniff. Underneath the big, fat, bold, smoky cereal flavours can be found cocoa, black currants, pencil shavings and smouldering leaves.

The first layer of taste is what you would probably expect from a heavily peated whisky – strong, thick smoke that billows around the mouth, a bit like standing on the wrong side of the campfire. When you clear away the smoke however, you are left with a light, smooth and slightly sweet dram, without too much else going on. The finish is long and smoky, but gentle. In fact, the smoke probably rounds out the feel of the dram as a whole, smoothing out some of the harsher edges that can be found in a younger whisky such as this.

When compared to a traditional Islay single malt like Laphroaig or Ardbeg, the Hellyers Road Peated perhaps misses some of the strong coastal flavours that punch through from underneath, but makes it up in other areas. A light whisky, heavily peated, this Hellyers Road expression delivers a different experience to anything else available from Tasmania.

★★★

HR n Ted

Tasmanian whisky: One state. Three ingredients. Unlimited flavour.

#TasWhiskyWeek

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Strathisla 12 Year Old

Reviewed by: Ted

Strathisla 12

Some people say that nothing that comes out of a medicine bottle ever tastes good. Well, I would argue that is not always the case, especially when the bottle contains Strathisla 12 Year Old.

Now, I’m not saying that whisky is medicinal (although my dad always had a glass if he felt a cold coming on), but the Strathisla 12 captures the look of a Victorian medicine bottle, with beautiful dark green glass, embossed lettering, several fonts, and a lovely etching of the distillery.

Strathisla is owned by Chivas Brothers, makers of the well known range of Chivas Regal blends. According to the box the distillery itself is ‘The oldest distillery in the Highlands’, although we would debate this fact slightly. Not the age mind, but the location, because when you look on a map you would be forgiven for thinking that Strathisla is smack bang in Speyside.

A sly Speyside imp certainly dances into the character of the Strathisla 12. The nose is light and sharp, with notes of hard fruit, grain, and crushed grass. The taste is crisp and green, with strong bitter herbal flavours that cut across the tongue, leaving a lasting dryness. There’s a raw, untamed edge to this Strathisla that suggests a younger whisky than its 12 years. Perhaps a few more years in the barrel would coax it into bloom.

If you are one of those people that are of the opinion ‘It’s herbal, so it must be good for you’, then you will probably find a better bet in the Strathisla 12 than downing some concoction of random weeds pulled from the garden. The bitterness will definitely be a turnoff for some people, but sometimes that’s just what you want. In fact, come to think of it, the herbal qualities may even make it an excellent component for a cocktail. Take a walk into the leafy green garden of Strathisla and see if it’s just the tonic you’re looking for.

★★