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A wee malt afore ye go

Eat | Drink | Explore

Right at the last minute, Whitey recommends a dainty dram from the South Isle.

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This’ll be quick: more a reminder than a review. It concerns malt whisky, and the fact that some of the very finest, cleanest whisky made on Earth right now comes from Japan and Tasmania.

Of the latter lot, my clear favourite is the Hellyers Road Distillery Original Single Malt Whisky Aged 10 Years ($90; 46.2% alcohol; screw cap).

This lean lovely has spent that decade in fresh Missouri oak charred near as dammit to what the Bourbon makers of the USA call “gatorback”.

All that brilliant Tassie air, grain and rain have married seamlessly over those years, giving a racy malt whose style fits somewhere between Campbeltown (think Springbank on the Mull of Kintyre) and Yamazuki (well, guess where?).

The oak has added just a wee teaspoon of its roasted caramel, along with the sweetish citrus and fresh ginger of its phloem, to that essence of compressed grain. It’s alert enough of spurrut, and slightly prickly to sniff, making the nostrils flare as if there were prey on the zephyr while the little red lane gets all gushy and damp with anticipation.

It’s too late in the year to begin arguments about how much extra rain one should add. Personally, I’m quite content with about 10cc of it in frozen form, just to get the temperature back somewhere near a Campbeltown seaside chais, or the breezes of Burnie for that matter.

That leaves me with one task: drink the tincture before much dilution gets hold.

Oat cakes with butter or Petticoat Tail Shortbread go perfectly.

See you in a couple of weeks. Stay off the road. Otherwise, don’t be too careful. Ka-chink!

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