A noble marriage of pure water, local barley and a can-do Tassie spirit has delivered some of the world’s finest single-malt whiskies.
Meet the makers and discover the stories behind Tasmania’s “liquid sunshine” on a drive around the island. There are more than 30 distilleries to visit, from international stars such as Hellyers Road in Burnie, Lark Distillery and Sullivans Cove, to small-batch distillers playing with new renditions of a traditional spirit.
Hobart is encircled by a ring of distillers, including Lawrenny Estate and 7K, with special mention to Australia’s oldest whisky distiller, Lark, which kicked off Tasmania’s whisky obsession with its first barrel distilled in 1992.
Proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks, Lark is also Australia’s first carbon-neutral distillery, and is found down by the waterfront in Hobart and at its new cellar door inside a grand 1819 estate in Pontville.
Heading east from Hobart, the whisky hunter is rewarded in Cambridge, where Sullivans Cove Distillery runs tours and tastings, before decisions must be made: head north-east to Spring Bay Distillery at Spring Beach, or south to Port Arthur, where McHenry Distillery sits on slopes high above the old convict settlement.
Launceston and surrounds provide fertile hunting ground for whisky fans, with distilleries in the city and at nearby Lulworth, Hillwood and Perth. Follow the coastline west to taste some of the island greats in Devonport and Burnie, where the island’s largest distiller, Hellyers Road, is located.
Connoisseurs and the curious should continue to Kempton in the Midlands, where Old Kempton Distillery occupies Dysart House, a noble sandstone homestead built in the 1840s. Whisky wanderers can look forward to tours, tasting flights and local produce in the all-day cafe.
Living on an island off an island hasn’t stopped Tasmania’s distillers. The King Island Distillery handcrafts single-malt whisky using the island’s natural peat and locally grown barley. At the other end of Bass Strait, Furneaux Distillery uses Flinders Island peat for its whisky. Among the many whiskies on offer at the Bruny Island House of Whisky is its own Trapper’s Hut Single Malt.