Review: Lamplighter Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky

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The new Lamplighter Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky was recently sent my way, and it’s a noteworthy bottling for what it foreshadows for Tassie whisky moving forward.

Lamplighter is the work of Superdrop, a drinks brand creation business founded by Brisbane-based Ewen Pettit and Lachie Goldsworthy. The company is also behind Delgados Tequila Soda, Idle Hour Vodka and Tequila Soldada, and the team consists of drinks industry veterans who’ve worked with a number of major brands (White Claw, Jack Daniels, Jameson, Balter, Pirate Life) and drinks multinationals (Asahi-CUB, Coca-Cola Amatil).

In creating Lamplighter, Superdrop identified what many have long realised: that Tassie whisky is a bit pricey for the average punter and can be tricky to get your hands on.

Lamplighter is their answer to the problem. Retailing at $120 for a 700ml bottle, it’s basically the cheapest Tassie whisky currently on the market alongside Remnant’s The Golden Fleece ($99 at 500ml). Lamplighter has already secured national distribution through Vintage Cellars and will soon be rolling out across Coles Liquor’s various retailers across the country, so expect to see it in a store near you.

But exactly which Tasmanian distillery, or distilleries, this single malt hails from is a bit of a guessing game. The marketing copy says the team works with Tasmanian ‘farmers, distillers and winemakers’ to make the whisky. In interviews with Drinks Trade, Ewen Pettit says ‘a number of different distilleries in Tasmania’ assist in the creation of Lamplighter.

Considering the profile, I’d guess that some (most?) of the whisky hails from White Label Distillery (there’s a lot of similarities to Spirit Thief’s wine cask malts here), although I’m purely speculating.

This does, however, speak to the growing confusion around what Tasmanian single malt actually stands for. Australia has no formal definition for what constitutes a single malt whisky (as the Lark saga made clear). As a result, our single malts don’t need to originate from a single source, which is, essentially, one of the core tenants of the Scottish definition.

As more White Label whisky comes to maturity and the impressive Greenbanks Distilling Co. whiskies come online, it will be interesting to see how these terms are used and applied in future. (The Australian Distillers Association have tasked a Technical Standards Project Group to develop clearer standards and definitions for aged spirits made here, so stay tuned if this tedious technical stuff is of interest).

However it shakes out, it’s good to see more Tassie whisky making it’s way out into the world, and you can see my thoughts on the liquid below.

  • Lamplighter Tasmanian Single Malt Whisky (First Batch)
    The Stats
    • ABV: 40%
    • Price Band: $ $ $ $ $
    • Style: Single malt whisky
    • Production Story: Distilled, not quite sure where, and matured in ex-red wine casks. Released June 2024.
    • Location: Tasmania
    • Score: 83
    I rarely focus on the appearance of a whisky, but this first batch of Lamplighter has palpable flocculent floating around in it and is quite cloudy. Not sure if this was intentional (no reference is made to the whisky being non chill-filtered). To be clear, this is natural and has no adverse effect on flavour, but I'm not sure how the average punter will see it. Otherwise, classic wine cask malt notes to start. It's fruity, winey and slightly musty. Iced Vovos as the American oak and wine announce themselves. Plenty of red fruits and berries.
    Grippy upfront, the wine casks come at you. Caramel, figs, a hint of butterscotch, and although it's very cask forward, it's not lacking in balance. Solid malt profile underneath.
    Good length for the ABV. Hint of some fun, estery spirit. Oak and wine tussling through the finish.
    Pretty well integrated overall. The benchmark malt in this space is obviously Starward Nova (and this is clearly a Tasmanian homage to that bottling), with Corowa Characters and Iniquity Talamara in the same bracket. This isn’t quite at their level yet, but it’s not far off. Very interested to see how the Tassie industry take to Lamplighter and if it can find an audience.
Luke McCarthy
Luke McCarthy is the editor and publisher of Oz Whisky Review. An independent writer, author and drinks columnist, Luke's written about whisky and spirits for numerous Australian and international publications and is a judge at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards. His book, The Australian Spirits Guide, the first to tackle the history and resurgence of the Australian spirits industry, was published in 2016 by Hardie Grant Books.