Thanks to UncleTobys for these samples.
I have a whisky bucket list. Or rather, as I’ve started calling them, my white whales. These are odd or interesting or quite tasty drams I want to try.
For instance, Hibiki 30 is on that list. And the whisky made of bagels. And Bruichladdich Fishky. Not to mention trying Heartwood.
Which if you’re following along, is something I’ve reviewed before, thanks to some very nice Aussies.
However let’s be honest, just because you have a pod of white whales doesn’t mean you spear one, wham bam thank you mam and walk away.
Wait, that makes it sound like I’m fucking whales. Didn’t want to imply that. They prefer to be called “full figured women”. And they usually go for guys who don’t have small dicks and a weight problem themselves, so I’m not really fucking anyone.
None the less, I was sent additional samples of recent Heartwood offerings. But what is Heartwood?
Heartwood, or rather, the Tasmanian Heartwood Malt Whisky-Pty Ltd is an independent bottler who is pretty hardcore. Rather than purchasing the whisky at the last stage, they pride themselves on showing up to the distillery and dictating various aspects as it’s made, barreled, and as it matures.
They use a variety of different barrels, and have some whisky that is hitting close to 17 years of age as of this writing.
And I’m lucky enough to try three of them for you (ha, for you) today. Let’s see how they taste, shall we?
Up first we have Heartwood Epiphany at the Lakes. Going in I had no idea what this was. From what I’ve read now, I’m still somewhat confused.
From what I can tell, this is from an undisclosed distillery. It is a peated malt, with 50% peat influence. Which I don’t know what that means, as I’m used to PPM. But 50% is a pass, so I’m cool with it.
The other odd thing is they started aging this with Port, and then “finished” it with ex-bourbon casks. Which I’ve never had.
So… let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: Out of stock
Casks: LD448 (LD195 & LD196) (Lark)
Cask Type: Port 1st (4 years) then Bourbon 2nd (6 years)
Distilled: Aug 2005
Bottled: Nov 2015
Sphagnum Peat Influence: 50%
Colour: 10YR 7/8
Nose: Cashew, orange, buttered bread, rye bread, pad thai, alcohol, apple pie
Nutty. I honestly didn’t know this was peated when I smelled it. There’s more of a bread-y, nutty thing going on.
And pad thai. Which I usually can’t eat, so I only know the smell. And then apple pie. Really strange.
Taste: Canned pear, melon, cinnamon, cashew, allspice, peanut brittle
More nuts. Nuts in my mouth. Easy joke. Penis.
Spice, good amount of fruit, and more nuts. Not super complex, but odd. Tastes more like the port influence on it than anything else.
Finish: Pear, oak, dry, cucumber yogurt, red licorice, lemon curd, mint, plum, cocoa
Finishes like a Persian meal. No, that’s not a racist joke, I mean it has flavours I associate with Persian food. God people, stop being dicks to one another.
Quite odd. And dry. Actually I appreciate a dry finish. The ladies I sleep with don’t, but they usually get me back.
Conclusion: This takes the idea of a unique dram, goes a little nuts with it (pun intended there), and then leaves you confused. It doesn’t taste it’s strength, it has odd nutty flavours throughout, the flavour pairings can be downright odd, and the finish is nice, but again, odd for a whisky.
Overall this is an oddball. It’s one you try to have an odd whisky, no other reason.
Heartwood Any Port in a Storm (Winter Edition) is the next one, and it will take even more digging. Which I’m good at. As long as there isn’t any follow up questions.
So the first thing… what does “Winter” mean for an edition. Or batch no.
Well turns out there’s been two different versions of Any Port in a Storm. One is summer (the 2nd release) and one is Winter (1st release).
Granted I feel like I should point out that Winter in Australia must be a cake walk compared to what I’m used to in Canada. Both use the same casks, same amount, but were bottled at different times of the year.
Price: Out of stock
Casks: HH593 (95%) & LD 644 (5%) (Sullivan’s Cove / Tasmania Distillery 15 year 95% & Lark 7 year 5%)
Cask Type: Port
Bottled: Sept 2015
Batch No: Winter
Colour: 5YR 3/8
Nose: Plum, pastry, cherry strudel, papaya, raisin butter tarts, lemon
Initial flavour shows the port influence. Not surprised at all, given this is 100% port matured and includes 15 year old malt from a place that hyper ages their malt.
Eventually there’s a heavy butter flavoured pastry flavour that goes throughout. I’m talking a good chunk of the bakery here.
Taste: Papaya, Apple Jacks cereal, brown sugar, oak, banoffee cake
Initially quite simple. I originally noted separate apple and cinnamon notes. Given time, those meld together to make something that is almost an apple pie, but more like chemicals that my brain thinks is an Apple pie, so I’m going with fake apple pie flavour.
Also some toffee and banana notes that do a similar jig. All quite tasty.
Finish: Pepper, banana custard, oatmeal, mint, ginger, strawberry, cinnamon buns with extra icing, beer nuts
Long finish. Very long finish. Complex, sugary, syrupy. It’s like having mouth sex with a maple tree.
Good cereal notes, good amount of spice, all balanced, different flavours, and even some different levels of sugar (white sugar vs. brown sugar vs. honey vs. caramel sorta notes).
Conclusion: The nose is interesting and full of pastry. Am I fat? Yes. Check. All good. The taste evolves to eventually meld the flavours together to be complex. Do I enjoy that? Yes, check. The finish is an insane long flavour explosion full of sweets.
Yeah, all in all, a great dram. Nothing that becomes memory inducing, but well worth the hunt for it.
Heartwood Convict Resurrection is the final Heartwood for today. And probably for awhile for me, as this shit is hard to come by, yo.
Heartwood has a few Convict releases, and from the look of it, the poor bastard has been chained, unchained, killed, resurrected, redeemed, and then redeemed twice.
This version is a pure Port cask that was aged 14 years in… port. Wait, did I go on a whole port thing for this triple review? Damn, oops.
Let’s see how it tastes and get it done with.
Price: Out of stock
Cask No: HH0239 (Sullivan’s Cove)
Cask: American Oak Port
Distilled: March 2000
Decanted: December 2014
Sphagnum Peat Influence: None
Age: 14 years
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Butterscotch, golden raisins, strawberry mead, peanut brittle, gingersnaps, sitting by a fire in winter, mulled cider
Big, huge flavours. Lots of caramel notes, rich flavours, and even this smokey undertone. Really nice nose. Nothing missing, no odd notes. Lots of spice.
I had mulled cider the day before I had this one (I since clear my palate, don’t worry) and it’s exactly that amazing smell you get off of it.
Taste: Caramelized apple, caramel, rice pudding, peach cobbler, honey, cinnamon bread
More huge caramel notes. Lots of spice, really nice creamy flavour, good god I miss eating sweets, and really big dessert flavours.
It’s hard to explain this one. Really complex. Lots of yeast, spice, creamy, fruity, caramels, and more. Loved picking it apart.
Finish: Cinnamon, moss, oak, raisin, Demerara sugar, currant, mint, hot sauce
Odd finish. Doesn’t live up to the rest of the dram, which is sad, but not really a horrible mess. It’s just not as complex. Granted it lasts a long time, so there’s that.
Instead this is more of a broken down, pieced out end. With moss. Which is odd. I only recently found out that moss is edible. For humans.
It’s odd, is what I’m saying.
Conclusion: The best of the bunch, for me, personally. This had a lot on the nose, great complex taste, and a long but more simple finish.
Overall has the caramel flavours you want from a whisky, lots of fruit, tons of spice, and overall rich flavours. This is a must buy. Hard to say anything else, really.
Here’s hoping that convict gets to rest soon.
World whisky reviews #199-201, Australia reviews #9-11, Whisky Network review #939-941