On tasting: Hellyers Road Original, Hellyers Road 15 Year Old, Hellyers Road Pinot Noir, Hellyers Road 16 Year Old Pinot Noir Finish by The Whisky Club, Hellyers Road Peated, Hellyers Road Slightly Peated 15 Year Old, Hellyers Road Masters Series 14 Year Old Peated
My first experience with Hellyers Road whisky was back in 2012. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too fond of it back then.
I’ve still got my notes from that first encounter, and next to ‘light and lemony, roasted hazelnuts’ (that nuttiness has remained a persistent trait), I also reported ‘metallic edge taints the finish, and not enough weight to the spirit – revisit in a few years’.
Fast forward to the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2017, and when I saw the scores our whisky panel gave Hellyers Road malts (all judged blind), I had to pick my jaw off the floor. It was time to revisit Hellyers Road.
But between having kids, exploring new career paths, and, more recently, slogging through 2020 and all the associated budgetary constraints, I hadn’t got the chance to properly explore the range. Until now.
Clearly, we’ve both changed.
These days, where many Australian whiskies are bold, brash and a bit palate damaging at times, you breathe a sigh of relief when encountering some of the top Hellyers malts, with their fruity, floral maltiness, approachable ABV’s and affordable price points.
I applaud team Hellyers Road for championing a lighter, fruitier style of whisky (the ‘Original’ is delicious!). The peated malts, provenance issues aside (see below), should also be on your radar – huge, complex whiskies. But we need to talk about the choice of wine casks moving forward.