Hellyers Road distillery
There are simpler tasks in the life of a Conderen, more difficult ones. A noticeably easier one is to make a single malt from a traditional Scottish distillery palatable to the profound connoisseur and connoisseur. A much more difficult, but therefore also more exciting, task is to convey to the whiskey lover a pleasure factor that at first glance seems rather strange. Around 17 years ago, 70 proud dairy farmers got together for this and decided: “We are now making a single malt”. This is what happened in 1999 in Australia. More precisely, on the island of Tasmania off the continent, on the company premises of the largest local milk producer, the Betta Milk Co-Operative. The distillery and the road from which it earned its name was derived from one of the first European settlers to settle in Tasmania. Tasmania is considered the cradle of Australian whisky.
Hellyers Road Distillery
In 1825, Henry Hellyer was the first European explorer to travel in the interior of northwest Tasmania. He was chief surveyor of the Van Dieman Land company and had no more than a bull and basic tools to build a dirt road in the wild.
In the northwest of the island Hellyers Road is currently the distillery with the largest production volume in the country and has a still with a capacity of 30,000 liters. More precisely on the edge of Burnie, a small town with around 20,000 inhabitants. It owes its nam to Hellyers Road, on the side of which it was built, and which is named after the first geographer and cartographer Hellyers.
As a rule, the freshly distilled new make is bottled in barrels with a maximum capacity of 100 liters for maturation though there are frequently only quarter casks that are filled.
Whiskey production at Hellyers Road
The principle of whiskey making at Hellyers Road by and large corresponds to that of others whiskey distilleries. However getting the details right at the beginning of the process are decisive after years of maturation and this foresight is clear from the get go. In whiskey production in the Hellyers halls rely upon completely modern hardware and software, the computer-controlled processes can if necessary be operated via remote control.
The malted barley is made at the Cascade Brewery in Hobartmade, by the way, the oldest brewery in Australia from 1832. In the distillery, the malt is first turned into grist, which is then emptied into a 30,000 liter, closed mash tin and rinsed with hot water. This converts the starch from the malt into sugar enabling alcohol production to begin.
Fermentation begins after the wort, the sugary water water, and yeast are blend. Fermentation at Hellyers Road takes around 65 hours. The produced wash is relatively clear and sweet tasting. The entire distillery smells reminiscently like an orchard as consequence of the production phase and as a forerunner of taste. The delicious apple notes come from the suitably long fermentation process. At the end of fermentation, additional notes of caramel and chocolate are also found within the wash.
In the first distillation step 40,000 liters of wash are added to the 60,000 liter wash still and are distilled for 72 hours. After this very slow distillation around 12,500 liters of low wines with around 25% ABV are prodiced. The low wines are then redistilled in the smaller 20,000 liter spirit still and again run for 72 hours. This distillation process may not be the ultimate slowest one of the slowest in the entire whiskey business. For comparison: the average distillation time in Scottish whiskey distilleries is around eight hours per run. Especially the proverbial cautiousness when distillation process is critical to outstanding quality of this whiskey and makes one of the distinctive differences compared to most other whiskey distilleries. The slow distillation also clearly has the spirit more contact with the copper in the “lyne arms”, and experiences greater reflux which make it lighter and finer
The 10-year-old single malt from Hellyers Road is the best-selling domestic single malt in Australia. Notes of soft caramel candies, sweet pears, orange blossom honey and the freshly grated zest of a lemon frolic in the nosing glass. The palate delivers butter cookies, sweet vanilla cream and juicy orange notes with a little cinnamon and clove spice that give way to gentle herbal notes and spicy maple syrup.
The distillery also offers peated bottlings and a Pinot Noir Finish all worth trying.
The prehistory is the establishment of a dairy. For this purpose, around 50 years ago, 50 proud dairy farmers came together and founded the Betta Milk Co-Operative. At the beginning of the 1990s, the then Chairman of Betta Milk had the idea of a whisky production and was able to inspire his comrades for this idea. So they decided to create single malt. The distillery was built on the dairy company’s premises, and in 1999 the first new make was distilled
Hellyers Road factsheet
|Country of Origin
|1999 - Present
Hellyers Road Timeline:
1999: The first new make came out of the still
2010: Hellyers Road Peated is voted the best Australian whisky by the Malt Whisky Society of Australia.
2013: Hellyers Road Pinot noir finish is named Best New World Whisky at Whisky Live in Paris
Can I tour Hellyers Road?
Yes Hellyers Road distillery is tourable. On Trip Advisor the distillery has been rated as excellent by 67 of 114 tours to date. This gives Hellyers Road an overall rating of 4.5
Outstanding by Vivtheresebarlow
Food, service and location was absolutely fabulous, could not have picked a better spot to celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary. Will be back
Great by Ny Trees
Very informative. Learn about the process of distilling whiskey. Sam was very helpful. Sample whiskey during the tour.
Part of Shore Excursion by TravelGrandma10
We visited the distillery as part of a shore excursion. We didn't tour the distillery, but tasted the product. The Whisky Cream was really good. It’s ironic that they use oak barrels from Jack Daniels as we live close to that distillery.