This review was completed with a sample provided by The Devils Distillery, this has in no way altered the opinion of the whisky.
Recently, a small producer got in contact with me and sent some samples through. I’m always excited to try something from the little guys and, given this was not only an Aussie, but a Tassie whisky at that, it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the pack and discovered not one, not two, but five different samples of whisky. To better give an idea behind each whisky, I’ll be a bit cheeky and stretch this week’s World Whisky Wednesday over the next five days all the way to Sunday.
This week’s World Whisky Wednesday is the Devil’s Distillery Hobart Whisky.
So, who are Devils Distillery?
If you were to head to Hobart, you’ll likely hear the names of a few distilleries thrown about. Heading a bit further north, away from the coast into Moonah, you could be forgiven for thinking there’re nothing but chickens about with the sign showcasing Tasmanian Egg Farms hiding a little secret. A little, tasty secret.
Rocky Caccavo came into the distilling game in 2015, founding the distillery alongside distiller Brian Hinson. Joining them as well is Cooper Adam Bone, selecting the wide variety of casks for future use.
Devils Distillery have been turning some heads with their set up. Using Westminster Barley malted at Cargills in Devonport (northern Tasmania) milled and mashed at Devils Distillery. Distillation runs through a Peter Bailley designed 1,800L copper pot still.
If that name is scratching something, you may recall Peter Bailley being Australia’s sole still producer, his company Knapp Lewer supplying the vast majority of Australian stills. A certain Yorkshire-based distillery fell in love with the Australian stills and have the only Knapp Lewer still in the UK.
But it’s in the casks and barrels that Devils Distillery really sets themselves apart. Using all different manner of casks, styles and sizes, each release is stunning with Devils Distillery and Brian Hinson seeking to showcase everything and anything.
Their first release was in 2018, a blending of casks two years and seven months. That might not be old enough to be whisky over here but it is old enough to be Australian whisky. I was fortunate enough to have a try of that a few years ago, it was a great reminder of home you can read all about that here.
Let’s get this started and dive in with the first release of their new Signature Series, the Hobart Signature Batch 1.
Hobart Whisky Signature – Batch 1
The ‘Signature Series’ from Devils Distillery is made to showcase various different taste profiles from the distillery. Using a marriage of various different casks, these limited-run releases each come with a batch numbering system and barcode. Due to this varied nature, the whisky will likely sit between the 46-50% alcohol.
The first release of the series, S-001 was a combination of various small American Oak ex-bourbon barrels, with a total of 229 500ml bottles produced sitting at 48.5%. Bottled on the 18th of June 2020, the first release was barely in the bottle before it sold out.
Pretty much brand new and sold out, something tells me that the small bottle I have here might be some of the only stuff in the UK. Not to be put off, I poured with a nervous hand and dug right in.
Marzipan with lemon curd and honey rise out of the glass, sugary redcurrant juice and some strawberries dipped in chocolate. After that, it moves in Violet Crunch bars with some floral scent moving across the nose, pollen of roses, violets and dandelions complete with the redolence of fresh mown summer grass. A few hints of ginger come through, with tiny hints of blackberry before a lasting rosewater meringue.
The palate is somewhat peppery with a lemon and orange rind backing, then raspberry jam and frozen store bought lemon meringue pie. Marshmallows make a drop in the mouth as blackcurrant, lime and vanilla start to peek in. Suddenly a backing of grapefruit comes along, showing itself in a first sweet then tarting manner, with a nice cup of lemon grass tea. The finish is short and key, a key lime pie chocolate and then we’re licking chocolate orange mousse off the back of a wooden spoon.
At first, I wanted to draw similarities to the first release, but finally settled in to what the whisky had to offer. Tasty, well balanced, a great complexity in the flavours – it was undoubtedly a young whisky but it was a different whisky, well made and with plenty of character, really hitting the spot.
It was like having a chat with an old friend after years have passed, just like the old days but for a few more grey hairs and some different stories. It’s just a shame that this whisky seems to have run out.
It took a lot to resist the temptation to pair this with Men At Work. Don’t get me wrong, I love the song, but pairing it with something like that is just too easy and a bit on the nose. Given it’s youth, vitality and the enjoyment the whisky gave me it seemed better to pair it with something similar.
Yeah, that fits quite nicely.
This review is not sponsored or endorsed by any whisky or distillery, Devils Distillery or otherwise, and is entirely the thoughts and opinions of the authors Somewhiskybloke.