Independent Tasmanian distiller Heartwood has never been scared of making a statement or putting out big, loud and aggressive whiskies.
Truth be told, they can be a bit hit and miss, some misfiring with choking sulphur notes or sappy immaturity. But the latest offering is a veritable monster, a perfect example of everything different and good about Tasmanian whisky, and Lark whisky particularly.
And you don’t have to take my word for it. This is an internet blog from a whisky fan who did a whisky swop with an Aussie mate. Says it all really.
Heartwood Convict Redemption
Distilled at Tasmania Distillery
Aged 12 years in Port wood.
Cask HH0611, Batch 1, Bottle 64/115
ABV: 72.5% whaaaaaa?
Nose: Blast of ethanol initially. After a 20 minute rest I'm getting tons of vanilla, figs, nutty chocolate, peppermint, black licorice, fresh oak, and baking spices. Sweet and dry wine. Solvent notes as expected at such high ABV, but they don't detract.
Palate: Ridiculously rich and creamy. Tiny sips get past the heat and peppery spice and bring about beautiful notes of extra dark chocolate, cane sugar sweetness, more baking spices (cinnamon, cardamom), dehydrated cherries and strawberries. Strong fresh coffee grounds and oak. Holy shit.
Finish: Ridiculously long and hot. Ashy smoke. More fragrant baking spices. Fades slowly with faint vegetal notes and vanilla.
Fuck me. This is absolutely incredible. Uncle warned me ahead of time that it's a "big" whisky and he couldn't be more right. I don't believe I've had a more flavorful whisky, clearly due to the extremely high alcohol content.
Despite that, the mouthfeel is gorgeous, the finish delightful. I don't usually smoke cigars but this dram was beggingfor one. Definitely looking forward to enjoying one of the smokes he sent me along with a dram of this over the weekend.
It's expensive and hard to come by, but by golly, Mr. Duckett is doing some absolutely amazing things and if you have the chance to sample this you'd be a fool to pass it up. Absolutely worth the international shipping costs.
And if you’re impressed with that, well there’s more to come. This is what Tim Duckett of Heartwood had to say:
“We are still learning about Australian conditions and how that will effect maturation. We have had a 38c day followed by a 15c day in the past.
“The whisky is pumped in and out of the wood rapidly and the barrels are exhausted after 1 fill. Hence the concentration of flavours over a short period and our high alcohol levels. We have much more to
learn and as we do, better whiskies are yet to come. Lark is producing some absolute crackers at the moment.