Heartwood Vat out of Hell

HVooH 1

It’s that time of year. That Bi-polar, odd time of year.

On the positive side, I have my birthday, friend’s birthdays, New Years, Xmas time, and all the food, fun, and drinks that come with it.

On the negative side? Well it’s particularly busy. The amount of downers at my work doubles. Sometimes triples. Studies need to be faster, mistakes are made, and frankly, it’s all enough to really put you into a funk. Not to mention a looming exam in a month that has been particularly difficult to study for.

Thank goodness for /u/UncleTobys. He sent me a dram that, I’ll admit, is on my bucket list.

This isn’t that dram. This is just a bonus.

I never thought I’d ever get to try a Heartwood release, and honestly, I owe everyone’s favourite Uncle for sending me two in a swap. Heartwood is an Australian company with some of the oldest Aussie whisky ever. They use different batches, different finishes, and different amounts of peat. They strive for good malts, from what I’ve heard.

Up first, we have Heartwood Vat out of Hell. It’s a combination of a 10 year old Lark Sherry Barrel & 13 year old Tasmanian Distillery Bourbon Barrel. Also it’s cask strength as hell.

So after a December day when it seems that everything goes wrong, I can sit back with my superhero shows, bacon and raspberries for dinner, and a dram of this afterward to review.

Honestly, all my dreams flit away like snowflakes in the wind.

To Alcohol: The cause of, and solution to, all life’s problems. 

HVooH 2

Editor’s Note: No, I don’t typically drink away from problems. It was just a bad day.

Price: N/A, as they sold out.

Region: Australian

Abv: 67.4%

Colour: Orange-Red

Nose: Creamsicle, cranberry sauce, butterscotch pudding, bourbon peach cobbler, blueberry syrup, baklava, herbal, wheat square, gingerbread house on Xmas morning

What I’m saying is this: It’s sweet, but in a dessert way, not in a cloying way. And there’s some tartness. And it smells like a bakery at Christmas run by all your grandparents that happens to be in a toy store.

Yes, this is pure joy. And strong. Holy damn it’s strong. Not as strong as you’d think for Alcohol, more so “If you can’t smell this, you’re snoze doesn’t work”.

Taste: Strawberry, anise, plum, bark, almond, peach, salt cod, orange chicken, cardamon

Really interesting, powerful flavours. Strong. Did I mention it’s strong? It’s strong.

And there’s a salty note that just pumps it up even more. Damn.

Finish: Cherry, nectarine, currant, oak, smokey pine in a campfire, cracklins/the ocean, blueberry BBQ sauce, good ribs on a nice night

Cracklins are pieces of salted pig fat/meat the you fry up. The Ocean is a big thing of salt water, see the connection? That’s right, pigs are aquatic, got it in one.

This is complex. I had to stop writing down notes after awhile because they overlapped and I didn’t want another discussion thread written about myself.

Conclusion: This is a tasty, tasty beast of a dram. Tons of sweet/acidic mixes, good amount of sherry forward notes with ex-bourbon notes to back them up… just amazing. Exactly what I needed after a negative filled day.

Try this, buy this, etc, etc. It’s complex. The only ones I’ve had better are Ardbeg’s from the 1970s that have been in a cask for 25+ years. This is half the age, and blended, and almost (1 point off) as good. Buy it. Raid Australia yourself, and drink it all in a mad frenzy.

Or just hunt for it, either way.


World Whisky review #63, Australian review #5, Whisky Network review #323

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