Not Smoke but Soot
You see this more often than not: distilleries that start to experiment with peated barley. The Tasmanian Hellyers Road is no exception. They have both a Lightly Peated and this 9 Year Old Peated on the market. I wonder if this young Australian, produced from local barley, is up to the peaty task.
Bham! A weird nose to say the least. Very peaty, but in a very different way than what you get from an Islay whisky. Not smoke but soot! Also diesel and even some white spirit (I mean the stuff you use to clean paint brushes, mind you!). The grass quickly evolves towards camphor and ferns, while there is not a trace of fruit, bar a light hint of nuts. And yet I like this. A lot.
While the body is not creamy, it is mouth coating. Oily, let us say. But immediately very nice on smoked fish with lime juice, coriander and pepper. But also a hint of licquorice and a big oakiness, making it a tad bitter. Fruity? Not really. Some white fruit in the background, but it is the peat that makes this whisky. I am reminded of Caol Ila, which is always a good thing in my book.
The finish is fairly long with quite a bit of woodspice and a mild deverlopment of smoke.
This is my favorite Hellyers Road expression so far. That has everything to do with the peat, not so much the spirit, which is a bit sad. But that is just the way it is.