The Tasmanian Whiskey Trail
James Joyce mused, “The light music of whiskey falling into a glass—an agreeable interlude.”
Indeed, the virtues of whiskey continue to be extolled worldwide. Take a holiday in northern Tasmania, where food, nature and whiskey thrive in a vibrant celebration of life. Tasmanian whiskey, in particular, has seen a surge in popularity over recent years, and with good reason. The number of distilleries in the country has multiplied— even a decade ago there were only three. Today, there are no less than 22 distilleries, a reflection of the burgeoning industry’s attempts to match production volume with careening demand.
Launceston, one the largest cities in the region, is an epicenter of culture, history, nature, and of course, whiskey. Located on the banks of the Tamar River, it is a gateway to the spectacular Tamar Valley.
Ensconced among verdant fields and quaint country lanes lined with hawthorn, elm and poplar trees that are hundreds of years old, Launceston offers an abundance of sights, activities and art which are reminiscent of a colonial age. The English have left an indelible mark, which still lends the city its own definitive character.
Home to some of the world’s purest air and waterways, it is no surprise that Tasmania brews some of the cleanest, smoothest whiskies one can find anywhere.
Explore a range of Tasmanian whiskey distilleries, among them Sullivan’s Cove, Trapper’s Hut, Overeem, Heartwood, Nant and Belgrove. These are only a handful that have made a pronounced impression on whiskey aficionados across the world. In fact, whiskey connoisseur and critic Jim Murray called Sullivan’s Cove “Unquestionably one of the world whiskies of the year” in 2015.
Redlands produces all its ingredient— from barley to water— on site. This makes it one of the only two paddock-to-glass single malt distilleries in the world.
Lark sources its peat from Broad Marsh Bog, which contains enough peat supplies to make whiskey for at least another 500 years! Sample whiskies aged in barrels of ex-pinot, sherry and bourbon casks— popular choices among local breweries.
The whiskey trail is vast, varied and undulating, so make sure you plan ahead of time to be able to do it justice.
Beer breweries too, have produced a line of reputed brands. The Boags brewery in Launceston, and the Cascade in Hobart are sources of spirits that are a hallmark of local pride.
The old world charm that prevails in the region is indeed a unique experience. Launceston’s distinctive cityscape can be explored along leisurely strolls around the City Park. There are a number of heritage walk trails. Choose to see the remnants of a bygone era, when the city was a thriving port and the industrial heart of Tasmania. The rewards from mining and agricultural activities were processed here. Milling, mining and brewing industries all led Launceston to prosperity, so take a peek into the past when the region was a struggling one.
Visit the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery for insight into Tasmania’s natural history.
For sports enthusiasts and the adventurous, there are a multitude of mountain biking trains to take advantage of. Work off the previous night’s bacchanalian and gustatory escapades with a heart-pumping biking session in the lush wilderness.
With Launceston’s farmlands yielding some of the freshest produce, vineyards and orchards bearing fruit that make superior-quality wine, you can partake of gourmet-quality food and liquor that are divine. Visit the strawberry farms and lavender plantations in Tamar Valley to complete the experience.
Iceland’s Finest Eimverk Distillery
With its chilly and dark winter months, Iceland has the perfect reason to pour yourself a dram of whisky. And it’s not just whisky (the locally distilled spirit), you wouldn’t want to miss exploring the stunning beauty of the place. Located in the outskirts of Reykjavik, the distillery was initiated by three brothers who started operating out of a garage. The first few years were spent solely on experimenting with 165 odd recipes, before the very first Floki was left in casks, to mature. Today, the distillery’s undisputed fame owes primarily to its Flóki whisky range apart from the local alcohol, Brennivín.Read More
Talisker Distillery: A Scottish Stalwart
Set on the shores of Loch Harport in the village of Carbost, Talisker distillery is the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. It was founded in 1830 and built a year later, after Kenneth and Hugh MacAskill acquired the lease of Talisker House. The distillery produced the finest of single malt scotch whisky and was extended in 1900. But on 22nd November, 1960, a fire completely destroyed their still-house. It took another two years to rebuild the distillery with exact replicas of the previous five copper pot stills to preserve the essence of the original Talisker.Read More
King's County Distillery: New York’s Oldest
They say old is gold. Old distilleries hold an irresistible charm for any whisky lover. And, a search for the oldest operating whisky distillery in New York will lead you to the King’s County Distillery. Standing in a corner on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this 117-year old distillery was America’s first to open after the Prohibition Era. Beginning the journey in a tiny room in East Williamsburg, the distillery shifted to the waterfront Paymaster Building, a stone’s throw away from the landmark where the Brooklyn Whisky War of 1860s was fabled to have taken place. The King’s County Distillery strikes a note of symphony between the traditional, and the modern. The distillery uses copper stills imported from Scotland with hand-built wooden fermenters sourced locally in their distillation process. It remains one of the oldest, and the most prominent craft distilleries of New York, well known for producing corn whiskey, and bourbon.Read More