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Heartwood Mt. Wellington Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (500ml)
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- ABV 62.4%
The "Heartwood" venture commenced in 1999 and represents a selection of casks, several containing some of Australia's oldest Tasmanian Whisky stocks, owned by Tim Duckett, and reportedly set for retail release soon. The variety of barrel types include Bourbon and Australian Port and Sherry. We've met Tim on several occasions, the last time being at the Tasmanian Whisky Appreciation Society event in 2009. Our report at the time of the tasting went as follows:
"If there's a better personification of the term "Whisky Enthusiast" than Tim Duckett in Australia we'd be keen to meet them. Duckett has hosted tonight's proceedings in a most entertaining fashion. He is a very relaxed character yet can turn up the intensity at the drop of a hat, particularly if the topic of conversation is one close to his heart. Tim delivers his words with an admirable conviction, engaging his audience very well. He is a member of several whisky clubs, has invested in several distilleries, and owns a number of casks of Australian whisky, some of which are the oldest Australian whiskies still in oak. He, like just about everyone else in Tasmania is a good friend of Bill Lark's. The plan at this stage is to release his whisky as Australia's first 15 Year old, though Tim's wife cheekily points out 'if it is too good it won't be released.'
Cursory tasting notes on the evening for this whisky...(N.B. - many whiskies were sampled on the night!) Dull gold colour with straw hue. Lark's distinctive spices on the nose, unique dried florals, fresh mint, almond, prune and marzipan. Manuka honey and liquorice end notes. The palate delivers an explosion of fresh citrus and dried fruits, oily & sweet malt, spices and treacle, a few moments of bliss before the whisky fades into relative insignificance through the finish. A touch of mint emerges in the aftertaste, the balance very good. The back palate, however, just doesn't do this whisky justice. Perhaps it's soaked up the wood, and is settling into maturity, whilst the front palate is still flexing its muscle; or vice-versa, the front palate has grown into its frame, whilst waiting for the back to catch up; regardless - time should remedy this. Whether we end up with a well behaved and distinguished whisky, or an adolescent prodigy remains to be seen.
Tasting note: Straw gold appearance. The nose is moderate yet unusual, and not in any particularly pleasant dimension of the term: Struck match, pine sap and gumboots combine with traces of nut (almond?). Twenty minutes in the glass does nothing to change initial impressions. Entry is soft and sweet; quickly develops into a hot and spicy burst of bitter sweet flavours - unripe stone fruits and wet wood are followed by a slightly sulphury note. Lacks balance. Ends dry and gently bitter with the spirit heat persisting followed by a faint rubbery fade. Quirky - even intriguing at times - but overall a whisky that fails to captivate. 62.4% Alc./Vol.