By Emma Briones
Australian whisky is blooming from its start in the 1990s. Nowadays there are many distilleries, most having adapted the Scottish way of whisky-making, and these are the ones to watch in the future.
Hellyers Road, located in the north-west of Tasmania, is one of these distilleries. Founded in 1999, it has become the best-selling locally crafted Australian whisky, and exports over 20 countries. Among its regular single malts, you can find Hellyers Road Pinot Noir, a Hellyers Road Original whisky with a wine twist.
Hellyers Road Pinot Noir is a NAS Single Malt made by using local malted barley. Like other expressions from the Tasmanian distillery, it has been aged in ex-bourbon barrels, but in this case, finished for six months in Pinot Noir French Oak casks from the Tamar Ridge winery (also in Tasmania). It is non-chill-filtered and it has been bottled at 46.2% ABV (92.4 proof).
Hellyers Road Pinot Noir is reddish copper in the glass, with long tears. On the nose, it is sweet and fruity, with some vanilla notes. The are strong hints of black grapes and must with an airy herbaceous touch. There are also caramel notes blended with an intense peppery touch.
On the palate, it starts as a classic Hellyers: fresh, with a light body. Then, surprisingly, there is a burst of pepper followed by grassy notes. There are also little hints of caramel and vanilla, hidden by a sweet touch of grape and a little trace of citrus zest.
Towards the end of the dram, it becomes warm and dry, lingering on the pepper notes. The finish is lengthy, powered by the dry touch of pepper.
Hellyers Road Pinot Noir is a whisky that stands out among others, even among other Hellyers Road expressions. It has a profile highly influenced by the Pinot Noir casks, placing it firmly with the winey-styled whiskies. It is bold and surprising, a dram most will not be accustomed to. It becomes more tasty and complex with every sip, hooking you on its unique flavor profile and asking for more of that dry and peppery dram. An unexpected whisky that you surely must try once in a lifetime.
In the UK it’s retailed around £70, with prices in the rest of Europe going from €70 to €90 depending on the country. You may find it in the US for $89, in Australia, it is priced around A$80.