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Heartwood - Shade of Night


 Wizards Gold Medal HoD 2018

Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year Heartwood






Gold Medal Award



Winner of the inaugural Peter Duly ‘Dram Of The Year’ Award from the Macquarie Branch of The Gillies Club - Australia.




Drink good whisky slowly and responsibly...

Wow!  An extremely pleasant whisky and one that is very more-ish.  Despite the high alcohol, it’s wonderfully approachable and not at all aggressive.  (A gentle giant?) 

Sorry, but if this was served to me blind, there’s no way I’d pick it as an Australian whisky.  If you’d told me this came from the heart of Scotland, I wouldn’t doubt it for a second – it’s very Scotch-like.  (I often wonder how Australian whisky producers feel about such comparisons.  Is this a compliment or an insult?)  In either case, this is great whisky:  Well made, well matured, and well delivered.

Nose:  Immediately fragrant.  Sweet barley malt sits on top.  Then a hint of sherbert, and loads of freshly cut wood (pine?).  There’s also some underlying vanilla, bordering on soft caramel.  Also, with time, a very faint waft of smokiness flitters by.  There’s some complexity in here, and your nose is rewarded if you take the time to explore all on offer.  A splash of water brings out some Huon pine and a stoney, mineral-like scent.

Palate:  Loads of sweetness up front, but it’s natural sweet malt and wood sugars, rather than a saccharine sweetness, or the lacquered sweetness you get from a wine cask or a bad wood-finish.   More vanillins come through (no doubt the bourbon cask wielding its influence), and there’s more chewy malt.  It’s delightfully and deliciously clean.  The mouthfeel is quite grippy, and it’s a great tactile texture.  With water, the palate turns in a more savoury direction, offering Danish pastries and a pleasant butteriness.

Finish:  The finish is long and powerful, and it becomes quite nutty – there’s a distinctive note of hazelnuts, and possibly also some stewed fruits, or perhaps stewed rhubarb? 

The finish – which goes on and on - eventually trails to a dry nuttiness (plain, unsalted cashews?).   It leaves quite a drying and grippy footprint, as though you’d been sucking on a boiled lolly for a long time.

Andrew Derbidge

Director and Cellar Master
Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Australian Gourmet Pages

“There is something unique about Tasmanian whisky, said Linz, though I couldn't tell you what it is, but that's it and its brilliant.


And I could only agree and hope the sensation—taste seems too small a word— would still be there when I awoke the next morning.


It wasn't, of course, but the memory remains.


Congratulations. I thought it wonderful.”


Richard Flanagan

Tim mate, that whisky's growing on me - and you can quote me - but take the best of salty Pulteney, feisty and  rustic Mortlach and a bit of Clynelish - and we're getting there. A bit like mixing sardines, mustard and fruit compote, Shouldn't work but does. Some won't like it.

But hey, who wants to be conventional? A  very interesting addition to the world of whisky.


Dominic Roskrow

True Spirit


Hi Tim,

First an apology for being so elusive.

I’m always flat out in Feb with my teaching and then trying to organise wine stuff as vintage happens.

Anyway I finally broached the Heartwood on Wednesday night and it’s very impressive!

My notes;

Neat. Good fresh spirit on the first nose with sweet lifted orange peel aromas and a little burnt sugar. 

The palate is more coffee sugar and a warm very long finish.

With water it opens up and the “Terry’s chocolate orange” flavour is more intense. 

There is a great length to it and a slight toffee like finish. Beautiful balance for such a young whisky, a real “hearts” sweetness and freshness to it..

Well done! What’s the sell price do you think?



Christopher Barnes
SMWS Marketing Director
PO Box, 2416 Richmond Vic 3121.
Ph 0411 264 114
Fax 03 9428 2043

Hi Tim,

I don’t know if you saw or heard about the activity, but I served the Heartwood as a blind at the recent Gillies tasting last Tuesday night.  No one remotely picked that it was Australian, and it got incredibly favourable reviews and a very high score!  When I revealed where it came from, there was much admiration and an impressed crowd!

Anyway, Franz gave it a good “write up” on Twitter, which Graham Wright joined in with! 

So, a few more fans of Heartwood for you! ;-)

Heartwood Malt Whisky - Mt Wellington Release

By Andrew Derbidge
Australian Gourmet Pages

Just had my second mouthful, superb!

Truly the greatest Aust single malt I've ever had!

Dan Woolley
Whisky Ambassador - World of Whisky

Hi Tim

Thought you may be interested in hearing of the Macquarie Gillies tasting results from our meeting last weekend where the Heartwood ‘Mt Wellington’ was examined.

In short, the result was absolutely fantastic, with 4 of the 11 panellists awarding it 8.0 or over, and only one giving it less than a 7 (6.8 to be exact). Average score came in a 7.56  and was second only on the day. Comments included ‘the best Aussie whisky I’ve tasted’, ‘great Aussie whisky’, etc.

Nose was crème brulee, caramel & sweet orange; palate of toasted pink marshmallow, marmalade, lemon meringue pie, and an ‘exploding eucalypt bushfire’; the finish had bushfire smoke, lingering heat, menthol & iodine, whilst being ‘smooth & pleasant’.

As a general rule, we only ever cautiously add water in Macquarie Gillies (although this is entirely optional, but it usually is seen to maybe release the nose, but at the premium of a weakened palate), whereas the overall feeling was that water did indeed improve the Heartwood Mt Wellington right across the board, highlighting the vanilla & mintiness, making it smoother, and adding to its overall balance.

This is the second outing of Mt Wellington at a Macquarie Gillies – last time (June 2012) it scored a 7.82 with similar comments as above, and was most certainly acclaimed as the best we’ve tasted out of Australia.

In short, what a stunner: well done! Macquarie Gillies applauds you!

Can you supply me some info & feedback on your latest Convict Unchained and Convict Release please.


Bruce Ferrier
Laird, Macquarie Gillies