Jacob Osborn
23 Best Tasmanian Whiskies & Distilleries | Man of Many
No discussion of the best Tasmanian whisky is complete until you land on Sullivans Cove. From its original operation in Hobart to its recent relocation to Cambridge, this epoch-making distillery helped put Australian whisky on the world map and keep it there.
1. Sullivans Cove
More than a frequent award-winner, this Tasmanian whisky distillery basically launched the entire scene. That’s because founder Bill Lark (aka the godfather of Tasmanian whisky) was amongst the first to challenge a local ban on hard liquor, which dated all the way back to 1839. Upon borrowing some barley from Cascade brewery, Lark and his family produced their first batch of Tasmanian whisky in 1992, and history was born.
2. Lark Distillery
Based in Hobart, this esteemed Tasmanian whisky distillery takes its name from founder Casey Overeem, who distilled his first batch at a relative’s house back in 1980. Over the years that followed, Overeem fine-tuned his craft to spectacular effect. Produced in small batches using the finest ingredients, every single malt is matured in 100-litre French or American Oak casks for a minimum of five years.
3. Overeem Distillery
What do you get when you combine superior Tasmanian barley, expert distillation methods, careful cask selection, and some of the purest water in the world? Spring Bay Distillery whisky, that’s what. Located in lovely Spring Beach, this small-batch operation uses Tasmanian East Coast rainwater when producing its single malts, which deliver robust colour and impeccable flavour. This is Tasmanian Scotch done right.
4. Spring Bay Distillery
Thanks to a healthy investment of $10 million, a long-running dairy co-operative turned its attention toward Tasmanian Scotch whisky in 1999. Jump ahead to the present day and Hellyers Road continues to craft a small, but delicious range of premium single malts. While the Original 12-Year Single Malt tends to be the fan favourite, expressions such as the Original 15 Year, Slightly Peated 10 Year, and Pinot Noir Finish are no less rewarding.
5. Hellyers Road
Perched on the Tasmanian Peninsula, Australia’s southernmost distillery doesn’t stop at whisky. Making deft use of the area’s abundant spring water and maritime climate, McHenry Distillery (formerly known as William McHenry & Sons) also churns out tasty bottles of vodka and the nation’s “finest gin,” according to Australian Gourmet Travel.
6. McHenry Distillery
Located on the northern coast of Tasmania, Fannys Bay Distillery has been producing small-batch whisky since 2014. As if putting the local sea breeze in a bottle, each expression imparts a subtle, salty undertone.
7. Fannys Bay Whisky Distillery
Iron House was an established brewery with a problem on its hands: what to do with all that excess wash. Originally intending to sell the wash to Tasmania’s other whisky producers, head brewer Michael “Briggsy” Briggs had a better idea: to launch his own distillery. That brings us to a handful of exceptional brandies and the release of Tasman Single Malt, i.e. the distillery’s first official whisky.
8. Iron House
From the family-owned two-man operation that is Devil’s Distillery comes to the aptly named Hobart Whisky. This celebrated brand flips the bird to convention and believes in releasing products when they’re perfect and not just when they’re ready. This means that each Tasmanian whisky released is unique, craft distilled, and individually cut, with decisions based purely on scent and taste.
9. Hobart Whisky
What was formerly Redlands Estate is now Old Kempton Distillery, located about 50 kilometres north of Hobart. Old Kempton produces some of Tassie’s most delicious distilled spirits and liqueurs (and keep an eye open for their shiny new distillery, to be opened next door to their Dysart House property, which will see a return to “paddock to bottle” distilling for the brand.)
10. Old Kempton Distillery
The first batch of Cradle Mountain Whisky was distilled all the way back in 1989, under the name of Darwin Distillery. Name changes and revamps would follow, but the quality and craftsmanship at this commercial operation persist. Meanwhile, that sizable head-start has allowed the brand to keep its whisky in the barrel for considerable amounts of time.
11. Cradle Mountain Whisky
It takes the best Tasmanian ingredients to make the best Tasmanian whisky, which is why Corra Linn Distillery uses local Westminster and Macquarie barley of the highest quality. Thanks to superior mash and crafty ageing techniques, this nascent brand is churning out some exceptional products.
12. Corra Linn Distillery
Tradition reigns supreme at Launceston Distillery, which uses local barley and pure river water when crafting its output in small batches. The action goes down in Launceston Airport’s Hangar 17, also known as the state’s oldest commercial aviation building. This Tasmanian whisky distillery’s range is quite impressive, running the gamut from affordable single malts to cask strength iterations to limited-edition releases.
13. Launceston Distillery
What began as a surplus of grain became Australia’s first and only bespoke rye distillery, which produces a full spectrum of unique expressions. Overseeing the operation is Peter Bignell, whose transition from Kempton farmer to whisky distiller has been relatively seamless and wildly successful.
14. Belgrove Distillery
One of Tasmania’s newest distilleries is also one of its best. Founded by Tyler Clark, 7K Distillery excels at the innovative approach, leading to a wildly exciting gin program, in particular. Australian whisky is one of Clark’s earliest passions and it’s only a matter of time before his juice leaves the barrel. Speaking of which, you can currently “adopt” a 20L Tasmanian Oak cask (i.e. barrel) in support of Clark’s ongoing efforts.
15. 7K Distillery
Shene Distillery was recently acquired by Lark (ASX: LRK) for a groundbreaking price of AU$40 million.
16. Shene Distillery
Upon scoring some old barrels of surprisingly exceptional Tasmanian whisky, Trapper’s Hut became the island’s first independent bottler. It’s since been nothing but one hit after another for this popular brand, which produces single cask whisky in very limited supply.
17. Trapper’s Hut Whisky
Not limited by tradition, technically, Heartwood Whisky isn’t a Tasmanian whisky distillery because it doesn’t actually distil whisky. Instead, it’s an independent bottler that purchases juice from other distillers and then provides additional maturation in carefully selected barrels. The result is veritable liquid gold, hence the massive following and swath of awards. It’s also some of the oldest whisky in Australia.
18. Heartwood Malt Whisky
True to its name, Deviant Distillery subverts the entire ageing process by way of modern technology. As such, it claims to craft whisky of the 10-year-old calibre in a mere 10 weeks time. One might wonder: are these guys blowing peat smoke or does this single malt Tasmanian Scotch really taste as luscious as its elderly counterparts? Track down a bottle to find out.
19. Deviant Distillery
After visiting Scotland’s Speyside region with his father, Adam Pinkard developed a passion for single malt whisky. With help from Fanny Bays head distiller Mathew Cooper, Adam began learning how to turn that passion into action. The next move was to build a distillery of his own with help from his friend, whose name also happened to be Adam.
20. Adams Distillery
It might be a stretch to call Southern Wild Distillery one of the best whisky-makers in Tasmania, as no one’s had a taste of the actual whisky yet. Being that this is a relatively new company, its whiskey is still sitting in the barrel. Nevertheless, the distillery’s signature gins have become hugely popular in just a few years time, so it’s only natural to expect great things from any upcoming single malts.
21. Southern Wild Distillery
Tastings are currently closed to visitors.
22. Nonesuch Distillery
Nant Distillery is currently closed, you can read about the Whisky Scandal here.
23. Nant Distillery
Join our exclusive community