Monday, February 2, 2015

A truly is an excellent dram - Hellyers Road Pinot Noir Finish

Hellyers Road Pinot Noir Finish
As we get started let us be frank about habits we develop in our whisky adventures. I can assume you, I, and anyone to come is or will be guilty of writing off distilleries based on previous negative experiences. I know I have done it before in the past, though these days I make a point to return to those whiskies come distilleries to give them another go. Things change, distilleries develop new techniques, Head Distillers change guard, and so on. Hellyers Road is one of those distilleries I have returned to time and time again with a continued level of distraction at best. That is until late last year when I dug in and purchased  a bottle of the Hellyers Road Pinot Noir Finish. Give it another go I told myself. Give it a go did I what!

I have heard many things in the past about this expression, especially with the swag of awards it has slowly accumulated, notably the title of 'Best New World Whisky' in blind tastings held at Whisky Live Paris. It had been a few years since seeing Hellyers Road represented at any of the large whisky events in Sydney, so slowly it had pushed it to the back of my mind. The fool I am I for letting it happen.

A subsidiary of Betta Milk Co-operative Ltd., Hellyers Road is located in Burnie at the northern end of Tasmania. I am yet to visit Hellyers Road Distillery but I am looking forward to getting there this year with a return to Tassie. Too far north to be included in the Tasmania Whisky Tours at this time visitors can either walk in or book a tour directly through the distilleries website.

Unlike many of the other Australian Distilleries you can in fact buy Hellyers Road Pinot Noir Finish though the retail chains like Dan Murphy’s for a genuine bargain price of $74 AU a bottle. One of the few Aussie whiskies hitting the mark for general consumer pricing. Sporting the easily recognisable illustrated label, this whisky is packaged in a tall bottle with screw cap seal typical of Hellyers Road expressions. The tall bottle style is often seen used for Australian dessert wines so don’t be fooled into thinking it is simply misplaced on store shelves.

As the name suggests this is a is NAS (No Age Statement) Single Malt whisky built from the stocks of the Hellyers Road Original, then finished (officially for an undisclosed time) in Pinot Noir Wine Casks  sourced from a Tasmania winery (also officially undisclosed).

Hellyers Road Single Malt Pinot Noir Finish
Distiller: Hellyers Road
Location/Region: Tasmania
Alchohol / ABV: 46.2%
Finish: Tasmanian Pinot Noir Wine Casks

Colour: Sunrise flare.

Nose: A tantalising mix of creamy honey cereals, malt biscuits, rich oaks, and orange tea cake. I love nosing this whisky and will sit on a glass for a good 10min before tasting. After a dram I do find the nose takes on a green tomato vine prickle in the background.

Taste: Malt biscuits again a prevalent, caramelised edges of the orange tea cake, citrus zest, and rich spice. Very light in the mouth yet builds a kaleidoscope of delicious flavours.

Finish: Long and zesty with a invigorating spice flare.

Overall I found this whisky exceptionally enjoyable. Each night I looked forward to another night cap from the bottle knowing full well I have another put away for a raining day. Excellent value for money you cannot go wrong for an introduction into Australian whiskies at an affordable price. All these awards it has been winning are completely founded in my opinion. If I was to give a dram then a clear 6 out of 7 on our technical scale.

Not forgetting the reasoning discussed earlier of my initial ignorance of this dram, I did taste the Hellyers Road Original against the Pinot Noir Finish. I still don’t give The Original much chop in comparison and it is very much as I remember it. Clearly this whisky really responds to a finish influence and I hope we see more experiments like this in the future.

It truly is an excellent dram.

The Baron