The 6 Best Tasmanian Whiskies & Distilleries
— Updated on 27 September 2023

The 6 Best Tasmanian Whiskies & Distilleries

— Updated on 27 September 2023
Co-Author: Randy Lai  | 
John McMahon
John McMahon

If there’s one thing that Tasmania and Tasmanians do well, it’s winter. A lush, crisp landscape battered by chilly seas and dotted with English-style estates. Logfires and all.

It’s become clear that such a wild and cold climate fosters the ideal environment for crafting world-class whiskeys.

Below, we’ve picked a handful of our favourites. One thing’s for sure, gone are the days when Tasmanian whisky was an ‘affordable’ or ‘value-driven’ spirit. One thing’s for sure. The best Tassie distilleries deserve to be in the midst of the conversation. Right next to their elite counterparts from Scotland and Japan.

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Overeem Whisky

Inarguably one of our favourite Tasmanian whisky makers here at Boss Hunting HQ, Overeem is a small independently owned operation based just outside of Hobart.

Located in an unassuming industrial park in Huntingfield, it is nonetheless responsible for crafting some of the most highly lauded (and perpetually sold out) single malt whiskies across the Bass Strait.

Along with Messrs Bill Lark and Patrick Maguire, Casey Overeem can be credited as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of Tasmania’s now globally lauded whisky industry. Today, the company is helmed by Casey’s daughter Jane; who remains firm to the Overeem legacy of creating single malt drams which “proudly stand alongside the best whiskies in the world.

For us, the standard bearer of that ongoing quest is Overeem’s Sherry Cask Matured whisky (60% ABV). An extensive, week-long fermentation and use of two-stage distillation processes gives this expression its characteristically viscous and “intricate” palate: stacked with classic Highland-style notes of stewed plum, dark chocolate chunks, maple syrup and baking spice.

Lark Distillery

best Tasmanian whiskies

Bill Lark is commonly regarded as the grandfather of the Tasmanian whisky industry. A challenger of the archaic 1839 legislation that banned hard liquor in the state, Lark originally came from a quantity surveying background.

His namesake distillery began operations in 1992; and kickstarted production with the aid of barley supplied by the Cascade Brewery. The result was a whisky with a smooth, creamy texture and resinous finish on the palate — both characteristics that would later become emblematic of Tasmanian whisky.

Initially, Lark keep things simple: offering both a 43% ABV whisky (‘Single Malt Classic Cask’) and 58% ABV expression (‘Single Malt Cask Strength’). In our book, either reads like a home run.

In recent years, with Head Distiller Chris Thompson leading the charge, Lark has been able to offer some extremely accessible, forward-thinking and unique releases. Among our favourites? The ‘Rebellion’: a bright and bittersweet rendition of the signature Lark style, infused with the flavour of Chinotto-seasoned oak casks.

Sullivans Cove

Australia’s most awarded distillery burst onto the global scene when their American Oak Single Cask (47.5% ABV) became the first homegrown whisky to achieve ‘Liquid Gold’ status in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, before becoming the only Australian whisky to ever be named “World’s Best Single Malt” at the World Whiskies Awards in 2014 for their French Oak Single Cask (47.5% ABV).

Naturally, these award-winning drops can often be difficult to get a hold of in a retail setting; though fortunately, Sullivans Cove also offers the marginally more attainable Double Cask (48.5% ABV) expression — released to the public by ballot.

Hellyers Road Distillery

Originally a dairy farm in days gone by, Hellyers Road is now just as renowned around Australia for its single malt whisky as it is all things udder-based. The distillery branched out into the craft of whisky distillation over 20 years ago (courtesy of a healthy capital injection of some $10 million) and now enjoys a reputation as one of Tasmania’s preeminent distilleries.

Among an array of unique products (including a range of dessert liqueurs that bridges Hellyers’ present with its heritage as a dairy farm) the signature dram here, all these years later, is still most definitely the single malt finished in Pinot Noir casks.

Pitched at 46.2% ABV, this presents an extremely robust value proposition at the ~$130 mark.

McHenry & Sons

Up next we have the country’s southernmost distillery, McHenry & Sons. This distillery’s enviable location allow it to reap the benefits of pristine spring water found on the Tasman peninsular. That natural bounty comes at a premium, though.

The brand’s latest release, ‘Aphrodite’, for instance retails for around $240 per unit (55% ABV). Full of stone fruit flavours and with an intensely spicy finish, the majority of its maturation takes place in French oak barrels previously used to store Port. Delicious stuff.

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Nant Distilling Company

Started by Welsh settlers back in the 1800’s, Nant distinguishes itself with exceptional single malts that are (invariably) distilled in a trifecta of ex-sherry casks, bourbon barrels and wine-seasoned French oak.

The distillery claims to be the home of “Tasmania’s only premium Highland Single Malt Whisky”, primarily due to its stunning location in the heart of Bothwell.

In 2016, beleaguered by high-profile financial difficulties, Nant was sold to a private equity company. Since then, the distillery’s grounds and adjacent estate have been largely closed to the public but you can still find some of its previous bottlings stocked with specialty retailers.

Our picks are the highly approachable and eponymous Nant Single Malt Whisky (43% ABV) along with the cask-strength version of the award-winning Nant Port Wood (63% ABV). Word to the wise: if you see these floating around, buy first and ask questions later.

If you’ve enjoyed this guide to the best Tasmanian whiskies and distilleries, then why not check out some of our other spirited stories? Here are a handful of our favourites to get you started:

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John McMahon
John McMahon is a founding member of the Boss Hunting team who honed his craft by managing content across website and social. Now, he's the publication's General Manager and specialises in bringing brands to life on the platform.