Hobart Whisky Distilleries Guide

 

The whisky scene in Hobart has seen an abundance of distilleries open their doors. From humble beginnings there is now the emergence of distillers really honing their craft - goodbye raw, sticky whisky that was all cask and no spirit, and hello to carefully fine tuned creamy single malts that will leave you wanting more.

Tasmanian Whiskey

Hobart Whisky Distilleries Guide - Where to find the best whisky in Hobart

Hobart has been the hub of Tasmania’s craft whisky explosion over the past few decades. Some of the state’s best-known distilleries and cellar doors are located here, as well as a burgeoning number of new kids on the block. If you’re wondering where to find the best whisky in Hobart, then follow your nose to (and between) any of those listed below. These should provide more than enough to whet your whistle, no matter how long you plan on being in town.

 

Lark Distillery

There’s a world in which Tasmania’s craft whisky boom would not have happened without Bill Lark, the “Godfather of Tasmanian Whisky”, who arguably re-booted the industry in the 1990s by starting the first registered whisky distillery since colonial times. Therefore, Lark Distillery is worth a visit for the historical intrigue alone. However, it’s also consistently won acclaim and awards for quality over the years, and their fabulous cellar door – right on the waterfront by Constitution Dock in central Hobart, with a cosy, historic bar and sunny outdoor terrace – is a great place to get a taste for how it all started.

Lark Distillery

Overeem Whisky Huntingfield 

A true boutique distillery, dealing exclusively in single-run, one-of-a-kind releases, Overeem is one Tasmanian whisky experience difficult to replicate elsewhere. In fact, there are no formal tours or tastings at the distillery, but you can contact them in advance to arrange a private distillery visit. However you get your hands (or lips) on it, Overeem’s extensive ‘Core Range’ and more exclusive ‘Rare & Limited’ releases are imbued with the expertise and dedication (to quality ingredients and tested methods) that Overeem have accumulated over more than two decades creating this distinctive Tasmanian whisky. 

Heartwood Malt Whisky North Hobart

Heartwood is not strictly a “distillery” – they get barrels of whisky from 15 different distilleries around Australia and New Zealand, then mature them using their own casks and ageing techniques. However, Heartwood have control and input over how the barley is malted, peated, distilled, barrelled and aged (the last of which they do themselves in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak), enabling them endless possibilities and extensive experience in crafting supreme single malts. The awards speak for themselves. But for a true taste of it, and to learn more about what goes into the process, a visit to their North Hobart premises is a must.

Shene (Estate) Distillery Pontville

Just a short hop north of the city (by bike, car, bus or van), Shene Distillery provides a picturesque setting and down-to-earth operation where you can enjoy a tipple from their quirky wooden roadside tasting shed. In recent years, Shene have expanded their single-malt selection from the popular Mackey range to include, among others, a unique Solera release (which employs a particular maturation system and recently won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition) and a hearty, velvety “Elixir of Life”, aged in Pedro Ximenez casks from Andalusia for an extra chocolatey, slightly toffee finish.

Shene Estate Whisky

Sullivans Cove Distillery Cambridge

In terms of Tasmanian whisky distilleries, Sullivans Cove is essentially unrivalled when it comes to recent international acclaim and awards – including ‘Best Single Malt Whisky’ (at the World Whiskies Awards in 2014) and owning the first Australian whisky to be deemed ‘Liquid Gold’ in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Tasmania’s second-oldest distillery set up in 1994 at the historic old brickworks in Sullivans Cove. It has since expanded and upgraded to its new location in Cambridge, where you can enjoy a taste of the renowned range (and get a headstart on the rest of the world with any new or signature releases!) in a beautiful setting, just a stone’s throw from Hobart International Airport.

Hobart Whisky Moonah

Initiated by Devil’s Distillery, this whisky managed to fly under the radar for quite a while. This allowed Hobart Whisky – the label under which the Devil’s Distillery whisky is released – to perfect barreling and ageing techniques, without falling into any ‘rush to the 10-year market’ trap that many start-up distilleries do. They landed on a commitment to predominantly American, former-bourbon oak barrels, plus an ethos to ‘release vintages when perfect, not ready’. This has resulted in a range of unique, distinct, but consistently quality small-batch releases, all of which are inscribed with an individual bottle number.

Whisky Tasting

Hunnington Distillery Kettering

This boutique distillery, overlooking Trial Bay and Deadman’s Point about half an hour south of central Hobart, is worth a visit for the gorgeous setting alone. However, hang around for a taste and you’ll see why Hunnington Distillery is quickly becoming a sought-after favourite of Hobart restaurants, bars and farmers markets. Gin is a big thing here, with many botanicals organically grown on site. However, the whisky is certainly something special, too: small-batch (fewer than a hundred bottles of the latest, Spanish-oak release), triple-distilled, single malt whisky that blends a warm, rich toffee nose with gentle spice and earthy notes on the finish. It’s a well-rounded gem in every sense of the word.

7K Distillery Derwent Park

A relatively new kid on the block, 7K has already built a reputation not only for crafting quality single malts, but also for doing things their own way. Essentially a passion project of practically-minded local boy Tyler Clark, 7K integrates high-end technology and a sustainable mindset into an operation that any tinkerer would take pride in. Re-used shipping containers, local Tasmanian ingredients, and an impressive copper still hand-built by Clark are all part of the story you can hear about on their daily distillery tours (Monday-Friday), where you might also be lucky enough to taste one of 7K’s bespoke whisky releases alongside their renowned gin range.

7K Derwent Distillery

Old Kempton Distillery Kempton

A short drive north of the city, Old Kempton is a worthy target for any established or aspiring whisky connoisseurs visiting Hobart. Housed in a lovely 19th-century inn, Old Kempton (formerly known as Redlands) has an on-site Distillery School with intensive 3-day courses for those seriously wanting to know all there is to know about the craft and the industry. If it’s just a dram and a look around you’re after, their picturesque Cellar Door and two beautifully restored dining rooms offer the perfect setting for sampling some artisan single malts, made on site.

So, where to from here?

Hobart is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visiting Tasmania’s many wonderful whisky distilleries. With the international airport and major ferry terminal, Hobart is also a handy first or final stop on any Tasmania self drive itinerary, which allow you to explore the rest of the island state – including many of its other fabulous whisky destinations – at your own pace. See some of the self-drive itinerary options offered by First Light Travel, or contact FLT’s helpful staff to create your own!

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David Mckenzie
By
David Mckenzie
: 12 Aug 2021 (Last updated: 3 Sep 2021)

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